A long strange trip

What began initially as leftover tidbits of research written-up for another persons book about China, momentarily morphed into a newsletter for some potential overseas investors and ultimately culminated into a six month long, part-time endeavor that resulted in my first book.

Since “project-it-is-almost-really-finished” began in mid-October I moved apartments twice in Shanghai, broke a computer, flew across the country, took trains across the country, flew back and forth across the Pacific, nearly cracked my chest and came down with about a half dozen ailments.

There were also other personal trials and tribulations but thanks to the encouragement of my friends, family, coworkers and most importantly naysayers (no better motivation than people telling you, “you cannot do it”), I can finally look my old homeroom teacher in the eye (just the one) with confidence.

Where credit is due

While I mention them in my acknowledgements, I would like to thank the following people in further detail:

Mark Deweaver — it was fact-checking I did for his own groundbreaking book that initially spurred my interest in writing a potential manuscript.  His several hundred (who’s counting) email exchanges provided the basis and direction for the project.  He was also kind enough to write the foreword to the book.

Matt Garner — one of the smartest and well-read persons I have ever met (if you think I cite a lot of references in my book, wait until you meet this walking encyclopedia).  I met him this past summer while working at the American Chamber of Commerce and after reading an early draft of his upcoming book about marketing in China, that little light bulb dinged and the rest is history.  He also has a cooking show coming out, more on that at a later date.

Yanli Xiao — she acted as my personal editor, smoothing out grammatical and syntactical issues as well as providing much-needed Chinese perspective and go-to devil’s advocatery (sic).  Most people do not like being spammed draft-after-draft with revisions, she is the outlier (as is Raffael Danielli).

KY Leong — he provided several additional Chinese anecdotes and backstories that should enable Western readers to better grasp the nuances of Chinese culture (especially regarding guanxi).  Coupled with his economic training and diligent proof-reading, this book is much better off because of this.

Bill Bishop — does the man exist or is he simply a transcended bot powered by IBM Watson?  A few weeks ago when I interviewed Shaun Rein, he asked me “you mentioned Bishop in your acknowledgements, how do you know him?”  I chuckled because like most expats that spend any amount of time in China, you will probably come across Bishop’s fantastic Sinocism newsletter.  He even provided me with a thoughtful quote (in Chapter 12).  I am not sure how he does it, but Bishop manages to read and comb more China-related news that probably anyone on the planet.  Each day he publishes a curated list of 25-some-odd stories, many of which come from undervalued niches (like China Accounting Blog and Li-Ning Tower) that are now must-reads.  I probably would not have been able to complete this project solo if it had not been for this resource (be sure to donate to keep his free newsletter going).

My mom and sister for coming to Shanghai 18 months ago to help an ill son and brother.  And the rest of my nuclear family for fattening their kin up afterwards and teaching him the finer points of being Texan once again.

The Veksler’s, all three of them now (congrats!), for putting up with you-know-who.

Geoffrey Plauché, for giving me back my geek license and answering all of my tech support and Amazon-related questions.

And of course, for all the lunches, dinners, water-cooler-discussions, coffee breaks, phone calls, emails, text messages, Skyping, QQing, random run-ins; many more thanks to all the important people I mention in the acknowledgements who made this book possible.

Notes in the margin

The web-based version of the book is up top in a permanent static page (or you can grab a digital copy off Amazon).  The versions are nearly identical and up-to-date as of 12 hours ago (in addition to clearing out all my China-related RSS feeds, I intentionally waited for the Sinocism newsletter today before submitting the final draft).  One small formatting error is visible in the Kindle version.  There are a couple sentences in a few chapters that should have dashes or list bubbles but unfortunately they came out as ] brackets instead.  If there is a second edition in the future, this will be fixed.  The web version shows them correctly.

Speaking of Kindle, there is a new plug-in that Amazon just released for WordPress users.  I have tested it and it works but I may not use it for a couple of months due to  exclusivity issues with the KDP program.

Also, yesterday friend asked me how many Chinese names were changed to protect their identities.  At least 7, all of the doctors I spoke with in Chapter 19 as well as the Nanjing distributor.  Elsewhere, the TravelSky engineer and travel agent.  Family names are (mostly) correct.

Please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions or feedback regarding the book.  And be sure to bookmark the site, grab the RSS feed or add me on social media.  I plan to continue using this site as a venue for interviews, news and views related to East Asia and perhaps beyond.  Be sure to check back on a regular basis.

One thought on “A long strange trip

  1. I have been checking out some of your stories and it’s pretty good stuff… I will surely bookmark your blog.

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