Books on China & Other Tidbits

If you want to experience and try to begin to understand China, you need to know the history.

Whether you fancy the era of antiquity or modern day culture, no knowledge is ever wasted. The more you understand the past, the more you can live in the present and attempt to predict future cyclical events.

Here is a recommended compilation of resources. I invite you to post more that I have missed so we can learn from one another.

Chinese History and Present Day Influences:

  • The Man Who Loved China, by Simon Winchester ; “The fantastic story of Joseph Needham, the eccentric scientist who unlocked the mysteries of the middle kingdom.” The story of Needham’s journey in discovering China in the middle of World War II and how he went on to create the voluminous genius work that is today Science and Civilization in China.  A good overview of some of the discoveries he made is documented on Wikipedia:
  • 1421: The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies
  • The Elephant and The Dragon, by Robyn Meredith ; “The Rise of India and China, and What It Means for All of Us.”
  • China Road, A Journey Into the Future of a Rising Power, by Bob Gifford (NPR correspondent)
  • The Monkey King “Journey to the West”
  • The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
  • Life and Death in Shanghai, by Nian Ching
  • Dream of the Red Chamber
  • China: The Pessimist Nation, by William Callahan
  • Wild Swans, Autobiography by Jun Chang
  • Red Scarf Girl, A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution, by Ji-Li Jiang

Chinese Travel and Stories:

  • Lost on Planet China, by J. Maarten Troost ; A hilarious story! “Or how he became comfortable eating live squid.”
  • Traveler’s Tales, CHINA, A compilation of true stories, ISBN 1-932361-07-3
  • Peter Hessler, Author and Journalist of China, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (2001), Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present (2006), and Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory (2010).

Chinese Language Study:

  • Chinese 24/7, by Albert Worlfe, ” Everyday Strategies for Speaking and Understanding Mandarin with Free Audio Downloads ; author of the popular Language Blog”
  • Ultimate Mandarin Chinese, by Living Language, ISBN -1-4000-2102-2
  • Dirty Chinese, by Matt Coleman and Edmund Backhouse
  • Niubi, by Eveline Chao, “The Real Chinese Crude Language”
  • Reading and Writing Chinese, by McNaughton, 2005, ISBN – 13: 978-0-8048
  • The Chinese Have a Word for It, by Boye Lafayette De Mente, “The Complete Guide to Chinese Thought and Culture.”

Chinese Business and Professional Resources:

  • Doing Business In China, by Ted Plafker, “How To Profit In The World’s Fastest Growing Market”
  • China Power: A Marketplace Special Report, by Kai Ryssdal via American Public Media
  • The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

General world history to shape your overall perspective:

  • A Splendid Exchange, How Trade Shaped the World, by William J. Bernstein

Other inspiration and self discovery on life and travel:

  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra
  • Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
  • Paul Theroux (any novels!)

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