China

By Sean Creehan

Top ten works of nonfiction, as of January 2005, based on sales data compiled by the Beijing Open Book Market Consulting Center

1. No Excuse, by Ferrar Cape. Written in Chinese, purportedly by an American, this self-help guide urges adherence to what it calls West Point's most important motto: "Failure is not an option."

2. Detail Is Key to Success, by Wang Zhongqiu. This book's message is simple: those Chinese with lofty dreams should focus on the nitty-gritty first.

3. Distilling the Three Kingdoms, by Cheng Junyi. Business lessons drawn from battles fought in third-century China. If only corporate mergers had the dramatic appeal of civil war.

4. Tell Your Child: You're Great! by Lu Qin. Parenting advice for a nation struggling to raise legions of only children, often known as "little emperors."

5. Examining 12 Qing Emperors, by Yan Chongnian. A history of China's last imperial dynasty—the companion volume to a program on China Central Television.

6. Duty: A Complete Textbook of Professionalism and Integrity, by Elbert Hubbard. A collection of essays about virtue as a path to success, by a nineteenth-century American.

7. Sun Wukong Is a Good Employee, by Cheng Junyi. A new take on a classic Chinese fable, in which the free-spirited monk who brought Buddhism to China is cast in the role of a selfless team player.

8. No Excuse II, by Ferrar Cape. In the sequel to No Excuse (see above), failure is still not an option.

9. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven Covey. A translation of the 1990 American classic. In a Chinese rush hour, developing Covey's second habit ("Begin with the end in mind") might prove difficult.

10. A Message to Garcia, by Elbert Hubbard. This account of a message delivered by President William McKinley to a Cuban dissident on the eve of war emphasized dedication and service in the face of insurmountable odds and extreme anguish. Soothing words for Chinese migrant laborers?

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http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/05/china/303919/