《十亿消费者》读后感

很久没有这么快地读完一本书了,这本 352 页的书,我只用了五天就看完。这至少可以说明两个问题:作者使用的语言非常简单;这本书真是引人入胜啊。

书的名字《十亿消费者》已经说明了很多问题,我觉得能有这个数量级的市场也就只有伟大、光荣、正确的中国了。印度也有,但还需要多一点时间才可以。记得当初是在 Twitter 看到有人推荐来着,看完介绍不到五分钟就下单买了。但,买这本书可是一年前的事情,花了这么长时间才看完,这实在是有些羞愧。如果我早知道这么有趣,真应该先读完它才是。

One Billion Customers by James McGregor.
James McGregor 作品《十亿消费者》

这本书由八个彼此独立的故事组成,互相不干扰。作者在每一个故事的最后都附上了“生意红宝书”(Little Red Book of Business),这都是提炼过的观念,特别适合各位喜爱 Highlight 和 Share Note 的 Kindle 用户……

这些故事如同缩减版的商业历史,读起来十分有趣,也难怪我会读得那么快。当然,这些行业都是我感兴趣的。如果你也是这样,那应该也会有同样的感受吧。这八个故事分别是:一,关于世界贸易组织的谈判;二,关于中国国际金融有限公司的成立和管理;三,关于赖昌星和厦门远华;四,关于新华社与海外新闻机构的斗法;五,关于波音与麦道公司的起起落落;六,关于默多克和胡舒立及中国的新闻产业;七,关于中国的电信市场;八,关于林毅夫和中国经济研究中心。

我个人比较喜欢的故事有三个,分别是:故事三、四和七。我喜欢是有原因的,但我不太想用中文说明原因,所以我就跳过这接下来的三段话好了。如果你感兴趣,可以看看我发表在亚马逊网站上的评论,那里有详细的原因。

此处省略若干字……

本书的作者 James Mc Gregor 在中国居住过 20 年(现在还在北京居住),上世纪 90 年代,他带着老婆以及两个行李箱来到台湾。他先后在华尔街时报台湾办公室和北京办公室工作过,后来担任过道琼斯公司中国区的负责人。再后来的事情就不清楚了,据 Wikipedia 的资料,他做过投资,也在公关公司做顾问。

这本书我给了五星评价,如果你也想找来一读,在这里可以买到

—— 以下是我发布在亚马逊上的书评 ——

This is the best book on China I’ve ever read on Kindle.

I purchased this book over a year ago. The title, One Billion Customers, is interesting. No other market has such a capacity. This must be a book on China. Five minutes (or less) later, I placed the order. After one year, the book finally gets a reading treatment.

This is by far the quickest book I’ve ever finished. A 352 page book read in five days. It’s a new record for me. If I need any proof to show you how interesting the book is, here is the perfect one.

James McGregor, the author, was head of Wall Street Journal office in Beijing. As a foreign news reporter, he had some insight on everyday business. You know the news industry in China is fully controlled by the propaganda department, aka Ministry of Truth. No free publication allowed. His story should be more authentic.

In the book, you will find eight standalone stories. But the stories are more than stories. They are like biographies of doing business in China. Each one has a Little Red Book of Business to provide perfect quotes and conclusions for highlighting and note taking. I must say I really enjoy them all, especially story three, four and seven.

Story three is about Lai Changxing, the peasant tycoon. He was recently extradited to China. According to Chinese propaganda network, Lai is a criminal of smuggling. I don’t know how people around me think about him. The one side story never made any sense to me. I think there must be a untold story behind. Ironically, the mistrust idea is a by-product of propaganda. In this book, James told me his version, a more detailed and darker one.

Story four described a battle between Xinhua news agency and foreign newswire services. The story itself is not new. Some Chinese authorities make easy money by banning their competitors, most the foreign ones. The Xinhua news agency teamed with you know who to do this. But the most shocking news is their attempt to control internet. As you might have read the clip I shared before. These people fabricated a plan to create the China Wide Web to separate China from Internet. They even founded a subsidiary in Hong Kong named China Internet Corporation(CIC) to filter and translate information. Yet another dark history of early modern Chinese history.

Story seven showed how China’s well protected telephone business was opened. It was more than a company history book of UTStarcom, a cell phone maker. The story revealed why it was so hard to get a land line telephone installed in 1996; and why the telephone bills were so high in 1999 when I bought my first cell phone. I used to put blame on monopoly players of China Telecom. Now I’ve got a better target.

I will stop my review here not to harm the reading experience. The book is definitely the best one on China business. For Chinese, this is a good chance to find out the long ignored cultural differences. For foreigners, this book could be a survival guide to your China operation.

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