Over the years we’ve often been asked by both our readers and our clients what books they should read “to better understand China.” And over the years we’ve read and written about a ton of books on China. Yet I am never quite sure how to answer the question so I do the lawyer thing and flip the question on the questioner by asking them what they want to get out of the book. Their answers tend to vary. Greatly.
Some want a “how to” on doing business on China. Some want a book that will help them avoid legal pitfalls. Some want a book that will give them a better feel for China as a whole. So clearly there is no one right answer.
Well maybe there is. We looked at all the China books bought by readers of this blog through Amazon and eight of them seemed to dominate sales as compared to the rest. These eight books tend to share two things in common: they are all short and they all lean towards the practical/relevant. They tend towards crisply written briefs with a specific purpose or goal. Most importantly, they are the books our own readers are choosing to read.
So without further ado, our readers’ eight most popular books, chosen strictly on the numbers and in no particular order, along with my one sentence review of each.
- The One Hour China Book: Two Peking University Professors Explain All of China Business in Six Short Stories — Short and basic and good.
- Modern China: A Very Short Introduction. An excellent fast-read intro to China.
- China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. An excellent fast-read intro to China.
- 10 Common China Negotiating Mistakes: A Survival Guide for Front Line Negotiators and Team Leaders. I’m a big fan.
- The China Employment Law Guide. A very helpful and practical book, written by Grace Yang, our law firm’s lead China employment lawyer.
- The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction. Sounds interesting but I haven’t read it.
- Risky Business in China: A Guide to Due Diligence. A really good book.
- Blaming China: It Might Feel Good but It Won’t Fix America’s Economy. Very thoughtful and topical.
What do you recommend?