Wednesday, February 22, 2012

14 Tips Before You Go (to China) - A Book Review, and More

Last week I received Mike Meier's book "A Focused Pursuit in China: 14 Business Tips to Know Before You Go", (non-affiliate link) which my fellow Toastmaster, Speaker & Author sent specifically for me to review. Frankly, I wasn't sure at the time, or even after reading it, that it was appropriate to do so - this is, after all, a speaking blog, not a travel guide.

At the same time, two thoughts popped into my head. First, speakers travel all the time, and China is a ginormous emerging market. Second, here's a speaker who's written a short, niched book that can provide a great example of how to add a product to their business. So here we go...

I've never been to China - though if anyone out there would like to bring me out to speak, I would love to spend time there! After reading Mike's book, I certainly feel more prepared than I did a month ago.

He offers up advice from his own experiences, sharing his victories and challenges in a conversational, sometimes humorous tone. At only 51 pages (plus the index), this Tips Guide doesn't pretend to give you all the answers, and even offers ideas for other resources to investigate. It does give ground rules however, designed to keep the common business person from embarrassing themselves, and driving their professional interests into the ground.

The 14 Tips include the concepts of 'Guangxi', an attitude of connection and personal relationships that govern professional dealings, 'Baijiu', which factors in the drinking habits of the land, and even offers sage advice about what not to say unless you want to end up being summarily jailed and (hopefully) returned home ahead of schedule. Those three tips alone are worth the price of admission.

Even if you're not going to China, it opens your mind to the fact that other places, whether they are across international or state borders, have their differences and idiosyncracies that we need to prepare for. At only $9.99 U.S., it's definitely worth a looksee.

On the product side:

Mike self-published his book, but went to experts to help him with everything from edits to layouts to printing. He's gotten it available on the major websites, and makes it directly available through him, as well. The finished product doesn't look self-published at all - in fact, the over-sized cover flaps on heavy stock give the book bulk despite its size. His creation of Maximizer World Publishing gives that extra touch to 'hide' the self-published factor.

While it would be great if we could all bet published by a New York publishing house, self-publishing is where most of us will start. It won't make us rich, but it will still add to our credibility, and our back-of-the-room bottom line. For all practical purposes, Mike is a publisher. He may not have the money behind him that a 'legitimate' publisher has, but does that really matter if he provides a valuable resource to his audience?

Mike's book is a great example of strong content in a beautiful package. Buy it for both reasons - and you may find yourself heading to China just by opening your mind to the possibility!


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