Book Review roundup

Book Review roundup


The following titles are available from MrB's Emporium. Chopsticks Club members benefit from a special discount.


That’s China! – Mark Kitto

A fast-pace business thriller you would not believe doesn’t belong on the fiction shelves. Giving the personal account of the author’s attempt to break into the closed world of China’s state-run media sector, this dramatic story of the founding of Mark’s stable of “That’s!” magazines in China is an excellent portrayal of the complexities of working in China, the importance and vulnerability of trusted networks and the ultimate control of the state. An excellent read, even for ‘old China hands.’


China Goes West – Joel Backaler

It’s now China’s turn to go global. This book, peppered with case studies, looks at the approach Chinese companies often take when setting up operations overseas and the pitfalls they have encountered, the sometimes incredible reasons for going international and the success stories. An interesting perspective that differs from the other books talking about business going in the other direction.


China Cuckoo – Mark Kitto

Maverick entrepreneur, Mark Kitto, lost his media empire to the Chinese authorities – a story he tells in ‘That’s China!’ This personal story tells of how Mark re-builds his life with his Chinese wife and family on the secluded mountain-top of Moganshan running a café in a former brothel.  The book explains how complex life in China as a foreigner can be – but also how fun. Told in a truly engaging style, this is a great read!


“Socialism is Great! A worker’s memoir of the New China - Zhang Lijia

This is a deeply personal story of a young Chinese girl growing up in the Cultural Revolution with seemingly no space to dream outside of the missile factory where she worked. Filial, subservient but destined for more, Zhang Lijia teaches herself English and her life is transformed as she becomes both a radical protestor and a budding writer. Told against a back-drop of huge changes in the political and economic landscape, this book is a window on a China that is now hard to find.


Winner Take All – Dambisa Moyo

This excellent book, written by a leading economist, is a wake-up call to the future needs of humanity vis-à-vis the planet’s finite resources and, in particular, China’s strategic push to ensure access to commodities to satisfy a growing middle class society and their associated growing consumer demands into the future. Both compelling and eye-opening, this book provides an insight into the Chinese government psyche and its tradition of planning for the long-term.

Many past wars have been fought over land and religion. Future wars will be about humanity’s hunt for global resources to feed nations. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in international politics and how China’s rise will impact on the world’s status quo.


China Calling – Barnaby Powell & Alex Mackinnon

China’s role in the global hierarchy is established yet pivotal. This book looks at how China aims for effective engagement coupled with competitive advantage globally. Importantly, it looks at how future confrontation is to be averted.


China Counting: How the West was Lost  – Barnaby Powell & Alex Mackinnon

China has become the global counting house, with the West looking for China bail-out, greater market access and cheap consumer goods. This book looks at how China can balance its economic rise with maintaining internal and external political and social stability at all costs.


China Road, a Journey into the Future of a Rising Power, Rob Gifford

Based on a 3-month road trip journey along Route 312 from Shanghai to Kazakhstan, this book, written by former NPR* Beijing Correspondent, gives a vivid insight into the daily lives of millions of people looking for a better life in China.

*The American equivalent to Radio 4


China Uncovered: What you need to know to do Business in China - Johnathon Story

This is a helpful book outlining the big picture, due diligence, setting up, importance of government relations, how to manage your operations locally with input and support from overseas HQ and how to maximise your chances of success when China develops so fast.


What does China Think? Mark Leonard

Written by the Executive Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, this book looks at the impact of China’s rise on the global economy, political power and status quo. Interestingly, it is written with the perspective of the Chinese thinkers themselves about these issues.


The Search for Modern China, 2nd Edition, Jonathan D Spence

Written by leading scholar and academic on China, this book gives a comprehensive overview of the country’s history from the fall of the Ming dynasty to the end of the 20th century. Includes tables, maps and photographs.


The Good Women of China - Xinran

Based on real human stories from a live phone-in radio programme in Beijing, ‘Words on the Night Breeze’ presented by the author, this book reveals a compelling and emotional insight into what it means to be female in modern China.


Wild Swans, Jung Chang

A heart-rending story of 3 generations of women from one family giving a personal account of living through a century of revolution and turmoil. A powerful and gripping historical novel.


Selected Stories of Lu Shun, Lu Shun

These are stories about Chinese lives through the eyes of a Chinese intellectual (who spent some of his youth in Japan). A good insight into the changes and traditions and power struggles in China. “The Story of Ah Q” is the most famous of the stories.


Lonely Planet Guide – CHINA

A useful guide with plenty of facts on climate, population, business, culture plus information on some of the sights, sounds and smells of the places you are going to visit. Beijing and Shanghai city guides also available.


Confidence Chinese – Getting Started, Vol. 1 – Dr Tong Yan

Designed for adult beginners who need to use the mandarin language for practical purposes such as work, travel and holiday. Confidence Chinese is a communication-oriented and task-based textbook. The text book includes real-life communication scenarios making it a very practical book.