Think Like Chinese…(a book review)

Think Like ChineseI have always read a lot of books… and living in China hasn’t changed that … the only problem is the lack of available books in English.   I always have an eye open for a book that I can actually read and then quickly snatch it up before someone else figures out it is there. In China, most of the books focus on learning Chinese, traveling in China or the classics, Shakespeare or Hemingway…. boring… every now and then I will see a book about a movie sneak in like Twilight or Harry Potter. But never anything that really peak’s my interest.  So I get very excited when someone suggests a book to me that I can actually get in China.

One book I was referred to by one of my friends is called Think Like Chinese by Zhang Haihua and Geoff Baker. This is a husband wife team that is made up of a Chinese woman and a Western man.  The most accepted multicultural relationship in China.  They have written a book that helps the Western person coming to China to think like Chinese people… or just get the main ideals of where their crazy thinking comes from.

I have to say ..I wish I would have had this book before I came to China.  It is great… it explains so many things that I have been dealing with but didn’t understand why the hell they did things this way.

The book is filled with Chinese quotes and traditional habits that Chinese people have.  One interesting thing I read was:

One of the most important things for the Chinese is food.  While grabbing a quick bite to eat may not be important to the busy Western Business executive, eating in China has significant cultural and business importance.  The Chinese saying “food is the sky” min yi shi wei tian, indicates that food -and eating- is the most important issue in sustaining life.  One should always beware of the Chinese  eating phenomenon.

This is one thing that is sooo true in China… everything is focused around food.  They even greet you with the words…”Have you eaten?” .. every time they see you .  It is crazy that a country full of skinny people… are always talking about and eating food.

The book has won many positive reviews and has inspired me to try to understand more about the country I have adopted as my own.  I think all of you should pick up a copy and explore what they have to say.

This book is filled with interesting topics and facts.  I think any of you that want to visit China, live in China,or  are interested in China… should pick up this book.  I don’t know the authors personally but if I were to meet them somewhere over here in China. I would tell them thank you so much for writing a book that has cleared up a lot of things for me.  It has helped me to deal with my boss, co workers and even understand my husband’s thought process.   I would also tell them… to lower the damn price because this book is too expensive.  Check it out.. you won’t be sorry.. I promise.

Some of the Chapters listed in the book are below…

Chinese Thinking: the Five Core Elements

Study the past if you want to define the future”Origin: Confucius (551 – 479 BC): Analects

Contemporary China

“Crossing the river by feeling for the stones”Quote: DENG Xiaoping

On Chinese Leadership

“The beam that sticks out is the one that was rotten first”Origin: anonymous

Work Ethics

“The more you do, the more likely you will make mistakes”Origin: LIU An, Han Dynasty

Communication the Chinese way

“(The Chinese) only tell people one third of what is on their mind”Origin: ZHOU Xitao, Qing Dynasty

Relationships, Contacts and Finding the Right Partner

“Sharing the same bed but having different dreams”Origin: CHEN Liang, Song Dynasty

Dealing with Conflicts

“Make the big things small and small things go away”Origin: anonymous

How Small Things are Big and Big Things Small

“One leaf can block your view of the Tai Mountain”Origin: Heguanzi – Tianze, by HE Guanzi, Warring States

Localization and Intellectual Property

“Let the past serve the present and foreign things serve China”Origin: MAO Zedong


Finding “harmony of time, place and people”Origin: Art of War, by SUN Bin, Warring States

10 thoughts on “Think Like Chinese…(a book review)

  1. Thanks so much Jo…I find your life inspiring! I looking forward to getting to know you in person soon!
    The first edition was published in Australia and the updated version is going to be released later in the year by a US/international publisher. I do hope the price will be more accessible.
    By the way the link of Haihua Zhang on wiki is not me:)

    1. OMG… I am not worthy… oh.. wait… I am worthy…hehehe.. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog… I am sure everyone will want to read a copy… and I really look forward to meeting you …. and let us know when the US addition is available … Im sure many of my readers.. cant wait to get a copy.

  2. Cool! Thanks for the book recommendation! I definitely love reading books about other cultures, so this sounds like a great read! But I’ll wait ’til the price goes down a bit lol

    1. thank you and .. you can get the book on and if your in China..… FYI.. the author read my blog.. and invited me to meet her for dinner in Bejing when she returns in August… wow.. i am so flattered.

  3. John

    You know that you could get book online and tranfer the book from Chinese to english, ITune have that or any online book stores

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