Reedsy Reviews THE CHINESE HONEYMOON PERIODMar 23, 2022
Reedsy Review -- I have a Master's in International Management, I've taken "Doing Business in [fill in the country]" classes through work, and I learned more in Gene Hsu's The Chinese Honeymoon Period than in all those classes combined.
I'm humbled to learn how very little I understood about Chinese culture.
Judging other people occurs in the absence of imagination and obscures our awareness of things we don't know we don't know (unknown unknowns).
Reflecting back on my past interactions and our current posturing on the world stage, it's obvious why we've had miscommunications and fails. And obvious that we could have done better, that we can do better, if we're willing to listen and learn and adapt our communication style.
At first, I had the thought, "Why do we have to be the ones to change? If they want to do business..." Etc. I'm sure many of us have had that thought. Hsu helped me reframe it. We are seeking to do business in and with China. It would be like me inviting myself into a friend's house and then insisting she cook my favorite foods.
Hsu is an American Born Chinese, or ABC, or Banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside), who has lived and worked in China for decades. He understands what is most misunderstood by Westerners.
Through anecdotes, Hsu shares ten sociocultural forces that shape relationships in China. He began with a term familiar to many Westerners: Face, or Guanxi. His definition helped me glimpse how little I understood.
...the relationship between two people that reflects their expectations from each other in terms of favoritism, referrals for connections, and the sharing of inside information.
In The Chinese Honeymoon Period, Hsu explains how ten key concepts interrelate.
Xinren (truth-default) led to one of my biggest ah ha moments: there is no Chinese term for "hard facts". Xinren is interconnected with Guanxi.
Westerners tend to trust those perceived as honest, whereas Chinese only trust those whom they believe will share connections, reciprocate favors, and provide inside information.
Importantly, Hsu tells stories of successes and failures. He shares how he has gotten it wrong, why it went wrong, and how he could have avoided or mitigated the mistake.
I'd love to see a pronunciation guide added, to help us Westerners willing to change our mindset and exercise our imagination.
Gene Hsu's The Chinese Honeymoon Period is a great investment for those wanting to do business in China.
First, my sincere gratitude for reading my emails, listening to my podcasts, watching my videos, joining my Meetups, and reading my book. You are aware that my message is one of empathy, imagination, and cooperation.
Most leaders enter China unprepared to adapt to things they don't know they don't know, but you can change that with a free EXACTLY WHAT TO SAY IN CHINA Discovery Coaching Session.