The Chinese Mind: Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and their Influence on Contemporary Culture

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The Chinese: understanding a people and their culture through key words and language.

The Chinese Mind pinpoints areas of China's traditional values and behaviors that play a significant role in the business and social relationships of the Chinese. It also identifies key areas of Chinese culture that have changed as a result of the adoption of a market-based economy and other elements of Western culture. It includes discussion topics and questions, along with an extensive ...

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The Chinese Mind: Understanding Traditional Chinese Beliefs and Their Influence on Contemporary Culture

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The Chinese: understanding a people and their culture through key words and language.

The Chinese Mind pinpoints areas of China's traditional values and behaviors that play a significant role in the business and social relationships of the Chinese. It also identifies key areas of Chinese culture that have changed as a result of the adoption of a market-based economy and other elements of Western culture. It includes discussion topics and questions, along with an extensive selection of Chinese "code words" that explain the essence and role of key elements of the traditional culture that have survived into modern times. Covering everything from the importance of Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, to the influence of foreign fast food and video games, this book provides a wide-ranging glimpse into the seemingly opaque Chinese mind.

The Chinese Mind is an excellent overview of Chinese tradition, history, and culture that is perfect for the classroom, tourists or outsiders living or doing business in China. Some of the vital concepts explored here include:

  • Yin and Yang, the search for balance in all things
  • Mianji, the importance of face
  • Hong, looking at things holistically
  • De, the power of virtue
  • Guo cui, the national essence of the Chinese
  • Zhong fu, the pursuit of insight
  • Bi, unity the Chinese way
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804840118
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/10/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 963,664
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Boye Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Japan, China, and Korea since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, student, trade journalist, editor, and author working out of Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He is a graduate of Jochi University in Tokyo and The American Institute for Foreign Trade (now Thunderbird: The School of Global Management). His 70-plus books include Etiquette Guide to China, Instant Chinese and Survival Chinese.

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Table of Contents

Notes on China

The Name of China in Chinese 11

Origin of the Name China 11

The Ethnic Makeup of China 12

The Administrative Makeup of China 12

The Chinese Language 13

Writing Chinese in Roman Letters 14

Pronunciation Guide 15


The Origin of Cultures 17


The Foundation of Chinese Culture 19

The Yin-Yang Principle in Chinese Culture 19

Part I The Role of Language in Preserving & Transmitting Chinese Culture 23

The Role of Hanzi (Hahn-jee) in Chinese Culture 25

The Chinese Language under Assault 28

Part II The Essence of China's Traditional Culture 33

China's Vertical Society 35

The Role of Situational Ethics 38

The Preference for "Soft No's" 40

The Chinese Way of Viewing & Using Laws 42

The Chinese Concept of Time 44

Emotional Intelligence vs. Rational Intelligence 45

The Chinese "What" vs. the Western "Why/Because" 48

The Imperative of Self-Sufficiency 49

The Role of Formality 51

The Food Mystique 52

The Chinese Banquet Tradition 54

The Ongoing Role of Festivals in China 56

China's Three Most Important Festivals 57

The Dragon Boat Race 58

The Mid-Autumn Festival 59

Double Ninth Day 59

The Lantern Festival 59

The Chinese Lunar Calendar 60

Birthdays & Weddings 62

Weddings 63

Myths & Superstitions in China 63

The Feng-Shui Factor 65

China's Martial Arts Legacy 67

China's Theatrical Traditions 69

The Art of Puppetry 71

The Cultural Role of Calligraphy In Chinese Culture 71

Literature in Chinese Culture 73

Contemporary Literature 74

Religion in Today's China 76

Part III Chinese Culture Today 79

Fulfilling 5,000 Years of Suppressed Needs, Wants & Ambitions 81

The "Get Rich isGlorious" Tipping Point 82

"Big Brother" is Alive and Thriving 84

The American Influence on Chinese Culture 85

The Influence of Computers and the Internet on Chinese Culture 86

The Second Cultural Revolution 88

Looking Out for Number One 89

The New-Age Entrepreneurs 90

The New Romans 91

The New-Age Aristocrats 93

The New Women of China 93

The Influence of American Movies & Television on Chinese Culture 95

China's Sexual Revolution 97

The Influence of the English Language on Chinese Culture 98

The Games Kids Play 100

The Influence of Foreign Music 101

The Inroads of Western Entertainment in China 102

The Foreign Fast-Food Culture Invades China 103

The Shopping Scene in Today's China 105

Fashion Boutiques 106

Foreign Supermarkets 106

The Impact of Foreign Sports on Chinese Culture 107

The Olympic Impact 108

The Influence of Foreign Celebrities on Chinese Culture 109

The Automobile Culture In China 110

Weddings & Marriage in China 112

Traditional Medicine in China Today 114

The Marvel of Acupuncture 115

The Ongoing Importance of Traditional Music 117

The Cultural Role of China's Traditional Games 118

The Ubiquitous Mahjong 119

Rehabilitation of China's Ancient Philosophers 121

Education in China 123

The Tourism Welcome Mat Helping to Save China's Traditional Culture 125

The Weather in China 127

Smoking in China 127

China's Gambling Culture 127

The New Look of China's Military Forces 129

Part IV Key Words that Reveal the Chinese Way of Thinking & Behaving 131

Bao (Bah-oh) Trading Social Credits 131

Bi (Bee) Unity the Chinese Way 132

Budan Xin (Buu-dahn Sheen) Chinese Style Sincerity 133

Buhe Luoji De (Buu-hay Loo-oh-jee Duh) Look Out for Fuzzy Logic! 133

Buzhidao (Boo-jee-dah-oh) Avoiding Responsibility! 134

Cheng (Chuung) The Importance of Personal Loyalty 136

Chou (Choh-ou) Criticism is Not Taken Lightly! 136

Daoqian (Dow-chee-inn) The Importance of the Apology 138

De (Duh) The Saving Grace of Humanity 138

Di Sam Zhe (Dee Sahn Jay) The Importance of Third Parties 139

Falu (Fah-luu) Laws in their Chinese Context 141

Fuze Ren Yuan (Foo-tsuh Wren Yuu-enn) Finding the Responsible Person 141

Ganjin (Gahn-jeen) The New "Can Do" Chinese 142

Ge (Guh) Keeping Your Balance During Interesting Times 143

Gongwei (Goong-way-ee) Beware the Flattery Ploy 144

Guan (Goo-een)/Contemplating Things Deeply 145

Guanxi (Gwahn-she) The Role of Personal Connections 146

Guei Mei (Gway-ee May) Staying Out of Trouble 147

Guo Cui (Gwah T'sue-ee) The National Essence of the Chinese 148

Hanyu (Hahn-yuu) China's Secret Code Has Been Cracked 149

Hong (Hung) Looking at Things Holistically 151

Hou Men (Hoe-uu Mane) The Famous Back Door 152

Jiaoliu (Jee-ah-oh-lew) The Role of Mystery in Communicating 152

Jiaoshu Yuren (Jeeow-shuu Yuu-wren) The Chinese Approach to Learning 154

Kaolu Kaolu (Kow-luu Kow-luu) A Discreet Way of Saying No 155

Liangshou Zhunbei (Lee-ing-show Juhn-bay) Two-Handed Preparation 156

Lunlixue (Loon-lee-shway) Policies Instead of Ethics 156

Luoji (Luu-oh-jee) How the Chinese View the World 157

Mei You Ban Fa (May-ee Yoh-ou Bahn Fah) It's Not Going to Happen! 158

Mianzi (Me-inn-jee) Face Comes First 159

Mei You (May-ee Yoe-uu) There isn't Any of That! 160

Qing (Cheeng) Being Clear About Things 160

Qingke - Yanjiu Yanjiu (Cheen-kuh - Yahn-jew Yahn-jew) Wining and Dining Your Way to Success 161

Shangding (shahng-deeng) Keep on Negotiating 162

Shehui Dengji (Shuu-whay Dung-jee) Social Status Still Counts 163

Sheng (Shung) Impressing Your Chinese Contacts 164

Shi (She) The Power of Knowledge 165

Shun (Shune) The "Soft Way" of the Chinese 166

Si; Ji (Suh; Jee) Principles of Success 167

Song (Sung) Knowing How to Avoid Conflict 168

Tai (Tie) When Harmony and Prosperity Prevail 169

Tai Ji Quan (Tie Jee Chuu-inn) The Great Fist of Health 170

Wang Ming (Wahn Meeng) The Chinese Obsession to Achieve 171

Wenhua (Win-whah) The Power of Chinese Culture 172

Wuwang (Wuu-wahng) The Importance of Innocence 173

Xiaoguo (She-ow-gwoh) Paying Attention to Details 173

Xin (Sheen) What You See May Not be What You Get 174

Xu (Shuu) The Art of Calculated Waiting 175

Yi (Eee)/Righteousness the Chinese Way 176

Youyi (Yohh-ee) The Friendship Factor in China 177

Zhenchengde (Jun-chuung-duh) The Measure of Your Sincerity 178

Zhengti Guannian (Junng-tee Gwahn-nee-inn) More About the Chinese Way of Thinking Holistically 179

Zhenshi (June-she) Dealing with Circumstantial Truth 180

Zhongcheng (Johng-chung) Loyalty in Today's China 181

Zhong Fu (Chong Foo) The Pursuit of Insight 182

Zhongguo Tong (Johng-gwoh Tung) The Dangers of Being an Expert 183

Zhongjian-Ren (johng-jee-inn-Wren) The Very Helpful Go-Betweens 184

Zou Pengyou (T'su-oh Pung-yoh-ou) You Must Make Friends in China 185

Selected Bibliography 187

Index 189

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Tough topic

    The book is a grab bag introduction to the complex subject of China and the Chinese people and mostly does a good job. However its tone of disparagement towards alll aspects of modern Western culture provides an unwonted subtext. The book should really spend less time asking questions and more time providing answers. "What is yin and yang"? Well i could answer better if you'd give me some examples or a longer explanation. Also if you are attempting to explain phonetics, the tacit assumption is that every reader has exactly the same accent as the author. Manifestly a poor assumption.

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