The Best Book For Understanding China And Chinese Culture

The Books I Picked & Why

On China

By Henry Kissinger

On China

Why this book?

Written by America’s former Secretary of State, this book is the one to read for Westerners to understand today’s China and some of its history. Mr. Kissinger successfully used some well-known Chinese stories, historical events, and Chinese games to communicate his message. The effects of the Opium War in 1840, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and the board game weiqi (Go) were all accurately and thoroughly examined as instruments to understand today’s China. Mr. Kissinger and his collaborators performed a fantastic job translating Chinese classic works into English.


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Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

By Ezra F. Vogel

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

Why this book?

Ezra Vogel, my mentor and one of the most renowned scholars on the field of East Asia, has written extensively on China and Chinese politics. To study modern China, we must first understand Deng Xiaoping, the architect of modern China, and China’s economic reform. Dr. Vogel wrote Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. Dr. Vogel Vogel's book presents a detailed history of Deng Xiaoping's life. He begins with his childhood, how he became a communist, his rise and fall under Mao Zedong, and finally his career after Mao's death and the transition of Mao's China into the China we know today. To understand today’s China is to understand Deng Xiaoping. To understand Deng Xiaoping is to read Vogel’s book.


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The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why

By Richard E. Nisbett

The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why

Why this book?

To understand China we must understand how its people think, and how the Chinese people think differently from Westerners. In this book, Nisbett not only presents the elements Westerners often overlook when studying East Asian culture but also details the psychological difference between Chinese and Americans. This is book is recommended to anyone who wishes to thoroughly comprehend Chinese and Chinese culture.


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Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

By Graham Allison

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

Why this book?

This book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the rivalry and the ‘inevitable’ conflict between the United States and China. Allison makes some compelling comments on the contrasts between Chinese and American worldviews. The author talks about how both countries approach foreign policy, more importantly, what the West needs to know and needs to do in order to come up with a comprehensive plan to cope with China and other international concerns.


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The Story of China: The Epic History of a World Power from the Middle Kingdom to Mao and the China Dream

By Michael Wood

The Story of China: The Epic History of a World Power from the Middle Kingdom to Mao and the China Dream

Why this book?

This fascinating book explains China from a historical perspective. It presents a detailed look at how China has transformed from its past to today, from the Middle Kingdom to Red Communist. 4,000 years of history is almost impossible to fit in a single-volume book, yet this book did its best and successfully summarized the most fundamental parts of the country’s history, introducing one of the oldest civilizations alive on earth to those who wish to learn more about China.


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