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Ted really knows China
on December 1, 2007
This is a must-read for any Western business people venturing into China.
As a Chinese living in US for 10 years, I am amazed by Ted's understanding and appreciation of some of the subtleties of the Chinese culture, e.g. reluctance to say no, huge concern for one's face or mianzi. His treatment of the expat life in China is objective and comprehensive. He also paints an excellent picture of what aspects of China are morphing to be more western-like. His opinions and advices are specific, and backed by facts and his 18-year first-hand experience on the ground. For the thorniest issue, corruption, Ted gave a sound advice of never getting your foot wet in it.
Ted's writing is easy to read. The summaries at the end of each chapter are very useful references.
One thing Ted did not give enough coverage, in my opinion, is the implication of the strong nationalism sentiment reinforced by the Chinese Community Party through the schooling system as well as the media. A lot of Chinese people view the Western powers as greedy and unfriendly because of the humiliation and exploitation suffered by the Chinese in late 1800's and early 1900's. That sentiment is at the root of a lot of the sensitivities.
Another thing I did not quite like is that the catchy subtitle is somewhat misleading. A more accurate subtitle would be "What you have to know before and during doing business in China". But that is a petty flaw in a no-nonsense book.