It’s always nice to gain insight on people you already know from a book that they write and publish. Chris and Jen Fenton live right here in Manhattan Beach, and it was great to read Chris’s description of American businesses trying to work in and with China over the past decade. Filled with personal anecdotes, this book describes how each of us find our way in the world through our successes and our failures. That alone is a great lesson for anyone starting their career, or at a point where they need to change their career. But it’s also fantastic insight into how China is dealing with capitalism, particularly when it comes to entertainment. Chris Fenton does an outstanding job of sharing his story, of showing the challenges he has faced throughout his life, and him talking about he believes we can make a difference in China and in any kind of global cooperation.
Some of the insights that I particularly appreciated: “There isn’t a Chinese citizen who has lived their whole life in China, born around or after June 4, 1989, who has seen the famous photo of the Chinese man staring down a PLA tank in the heart of Beijing.” If that is true, their form of censorship is completely working. That’s depressing. And on the power of commerce and commercial diplomacy could change the world, “One could argue that Big Macs and David Hasselhof have more to do with the end of the Cold War than an arsenal of nuclear weapons.” Chris Fenton has an easy-going writing style, a wealth of personal experience, and a lot of insightful, soul-bearing, and even fun stories along the way.