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National Geographic’s Inside China

China Stuff

Not From the Book

China is one of, if not the, business travel destinations of the decade. Westerners visiting the country should do their homework to understand the people and culture of the nation before attempting to do business with the Chinese people. I recently made my first trip to the country, and the cultural differences are as vast as the land itself. National Geographic has a new book, Inside China, showcasing some of the most amazing photographs to come out of the kingdom. What a great thing to get before you visit the country yourself!

In INSIDE CHINA, intimate family images of births, dance lessons, weddings, funerals and life around the supper table are juxtaposed with electric scenes of modernization — fashion shows, an “X games” demonstration in a Shanghai park, one of the country’s best-known contemporary artists at work in his loft studio in Beijing, and a Chinese Michael Jackson look-alike performing in Tiananmen Square.

The introduction is written by Jonathan Spence, Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. Each story is narrated by China experts, including Joseph Fewsmith, James C.Y. Watt, James McGregor, Elizabeth Economy and Minxin Pei. These experts tell the stories behind the photos with essays on history, tradition, modernization and the Chinese workforce. In his introduction, Spence writes that the book “jolts us out of our complacency, reveals the gaps in our understanding, challenges clichés, pushes us to disentangle the truly elegant from the crass, the surface texture from the deeper message.” Very important if you intend to do business with the Chinese people.

Inside China is available from National Geographic Books for $50. It is a lengthy 271 pages and features photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Li Zhensheng, Mark Leong, Sebastião Salgado, Edward Burtynsky, Paolo Pellegrin, Samuel Bollendorff and Olivier Pin Fat.