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The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World's Largest Middle Class and What It Means to You Paperback – November 10, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The Chinese Dream offers a fascinating look at one of the most dynamic forces shaping our world...." -- The Economist

"In a mere two decades China has developed the world's largest middle class. Helen Wang tells that story - and her own - in this wonderfully informative and readable book." --Joseph Nye, Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, the author of The Future of Power.

"Helen Wang's book represents a powerful contribution to a timely debate about China's role in the world and how changes wrought by her rising middle class will affect us all."
- Lord Wei of Shoreditch, member of House of Lords, United Kingdom


“The growth of China’s middle class rivals the growth of China’s overall economy as a phenomenon with huge implications for the entire world. Whether China will become a more liberal and democratic society, … whether it will develop a spiritual power to match its material influence — these and other questions are Helen Wang’s topic in this fascinating book. It rings true to what I have seen in China and suggests new possibilities.”
--James Fallows, National Correspondent of The Atlantic, the author of Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China.

“… the most insightful voice that accurately captures the China of today – its promise and peril – … have a sense of the country’s past, but an equally vibrant vision for its future.“ -- Asia Times Online

“Helen Wang’s conversations, her reflections and stories, bring to life the hopes and concerns of China’s emerging middle class. An unusual book, very readable and full of insight.” --John Quelch, Professor at Harvard Business School and former Dean of London Business School

“Helen Wang takes us through the world of China’s middle class with riveting personal stories, and shows us how this important demographic will alter the global economy in the years ahead. A must-read for businesses that want to tap into this enormous market.” --Shaun Rein, Founder and Managing Director of China Market Research Group (CMR)

“The Chinese Dream tells one of the most important stories of our time – the rise of the world’s largest middle class. Helen Wang enlightens us with the possibility of ‘unity in diversity’. A comprehensive, and yet easy to read book about modern China.” --Ken Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Bank

“With a fresh look at the development of the new China, Helen Wang offers an engaging, respectfully researched perspective on the world as one entity as she uncovers the importance of communication, cooperation, and collaboration in her eloquent book, The Chinese Dream. A captivating read!” -- Cynthia Brian, New York Times bestselling author, TV/Radio personality/ Founder, Be the Star You Are!®

“The Chinese Dream describes countless possibilities for shared growth, on both national and international levels. For those looking to gain a deeper understanding of modern Chinese society, and those looking to prepare for a new age of globalized collaboration, Helen Wang’s The Chinese Dream is an exciting and timely resource.” -- China Law Blog

“The Chinese Dream… is the best description in layman's terms of the wildly divergent cultures that must set aside mistrust and misunderstanding in the new one-world global economy.” -- The Internet Review of Books

“The Chinese Dream is enlightening for anyone interested not only in the economic importance of the Chinese middle class today, but also of this group’s cultural and political implications for the China of tomorrow.” -- Jing Daily

"Helen Wang's book shows that prosperity and sustainability can go hand in hand. But only if we redefine prosperity for the enormous emerging middle class. Catalyzing this type of sustainable consumerism is what JUCCCE does every day."
- Peggy Liu, Chairperson of JUCCCE, Time Magazine Hero of the Environment


From the Author

I believe that the world's stability and prosperity will depend on how well China and the West understand each other, trust each other, and learn from each other.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2nd edition (November 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452898049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452898049
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Shobert on December 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book manages to blend several themes, most obviously the rise of China's middle class and how this creates economic opportunities for business, and may also present further ways of stabilizing world politics. Wang does a very good job illustrating how important China's middle class will be for China's own internal politics, and its pursuit of increasingly open forms of governance. But beyond these themes, you also finish the book with an appreciation of the author's journey, and what her own story has to say about the aspirations of China's middle class, coupled to what her story and experience in America should remind us about our own culture. It is impossible to finish this book and not be reminded of what America needs to get back, namely a vision and passion for our future, versus a fear of having to protect what we already have.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karen DeMello on March 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is much more than the business-focus that I expected. The variety of topics, the facts and figures, the bits of history, the interviews and the autobiographical stories worked so well together and made for a very comprehensive and well-rounded book. It brought back many memories of my travels to China a few years ago, and will be of interest to anyone interested in China as well as business people. Very thought provoking and insightful. Two thumbs up!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BAnderson on December 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Chinese Dream combines careful analysis of sociopolitical forces with fascinating stories of individuals who embody a middle class that is already 300 million strong and will reach 800 million by 2025. Wang, who spent early adulthood in China, spoke to over a hundred people: home-grown entrepreneurs and executives for foreign-owned firms; connected Communist party members and peasants who lifted themselves up from rural poverty; an Internet mogul who beat eBay and Yahoo, a gay footwear company manager, a former Tienanmen Square demonstrator, and many more. They share their struggles, hopes and dreams set against a background of ancient traditions and modern ambitions.

Wang also explores the impact of the middle class on Chinese society. Mostly university educated and increasingly aware of the outside world, they're spurring a nascent green business movement and a growing interest of religions of all kinds. Whether or not the expansion of the middle class will lead to greater democracy is a question Wang explores with great sensitivity and nuance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Siva Ho on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having been in the States for over 4 years, I know how hard it is to try to explain China-related issues to the American audience as they've already held some deeply rooted misunderstandings. Besides, cultural values don't communicate easily, especially for two cultures as contrasting as China and the United States. And that's why I was so impressed when reading The Chinese Dream which sets an excellent example. It tells the stories of contemporary China and its people in a way that anyone even without the knowledge of one single Chinese character can easily relate to. I truly recommend this book, for the many possibilities it opens to each one of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jana McBurney-Lin on April 15, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a member of the US-China People’s Friendship Association for eight years, I’ve often heard--and told--the story of how charter members urged President Nixon to visit “Red China” and befriend the nation. Since that time, our countries’ people have traded together and traveled to each other, and life has been good. Well, until recently. We seem to have come full circle. The most common theme today among speakers, China-focused blogspots, and literature is our old refrain with a dose of urgency: It’s vital we be friends.
The Chinese Dream by Helen Wang (c 2010, Bestseller Press) is another addition to this necessary and burgeoning genre. Originally from Hangzhou, China, Helen Wang went to graduate school at Stanford, and has lived in the US for over twenty years. She is currently a consultant for companies doing business in China. Writes she, “A recent survey by Pew Research Center indicates that majorities in the United States and Europe consider China’s growing economy a bad thing for their countries. Apprehensions about China’s growing power abound in the West, and they are growing every day.”
Part memoir, part interviews with the rich and famous, and part research, Wang’s 205-page book races us through the past and the present, the rich and the poor, the corrupt and those seeking a better world—in both countries. She reminds us that the United States is an ongoing experiment that until recently enslaved blacks and women. But her main focus is China. Sections include China’s history (chaotic), urban migration (doubled in past 20 years), health care (unstable), materialism (on the rise), the pursuit of religion, and environmental challenges. Interspersed among these alarmingly heavy topics are personal vignettes about the realization of her impossible dream to study in the U.S.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George Koo on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
Many mainstream economists now share the widespread belief that not enough of China's economy is coming from consumption, that China needs to rebalance economic priorities away from too much dependence on fixed assets investments such as infrastructure building and to spend more and save less. On the other hand, retail sales in China's cities have been increasing at a rate nearly double that of GDP. We see young urban professionals living the life of conspicuous consumption; travelling overseas and sweeping the luxury goods clean off the shelves of high-end, name brand shops.

How can we reconcile the seeming contradiction of China's need to have more of its GDP coming from consumption and the obvious over the top consumption behavior of certain socio-economic groups? One explanation comes from "The Chinese Dream" written by Helen Wang.

This book is an intensive study of China burgeoning middle class and how it came to be. The bulk of the book is devoted to personal interviews in China, from migrant workers to entrepreneurs, from laid off workers to those that got the jump start by taking over parts of state owned companies in the process of being privatized. By way of examples, the author illustrated that China's private sector "is really neither private nor public" but a peculiar blend of capitalism with Chinese characteristics.

It's not possible to explain the complexity of today's China in any single book, but by her wide-ranging interviews and personal stories along with careful research and extensive footnotes, Ms. Wang has made an important contribution to understanding the attitudes and mindsets of upward and mobile young Chinese.
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