"In this astonishing, soulful, moving, and often funny memoir-cum-business-primer, Xavier Naville tells the story of how he traded the boardrooms of Paris for the agricultural fields of China, along the way building the country's largest fresh-food company. Word by word and acre by acre, Naville learned how to speak, and to operate, in Chinese. The Lettuce Diaries traces Naville's journey from the industrial kitchens of Shanghai to the red-baked earth of the Inner Mongolian plateau as he encounters hostage-takings and an attempted coup, food-safety scandals, fraudulent suppliers, cutthroat rivals, loyal colleagues, and spends many hours in the vegetable fields of China with the farmers whose traditions and practices shape the food we eat every day. The Lettuce Diaries is a story of where China has been, where it's going, and why it matters to all of us."
-Leslie T. Chang, author of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
"Xavier Naville's account of how he built a successful company buying vegetables from Chinese farmers and selling them to a huge new market of fast food outlets and supermarkets is sure to become a classic. This is a fast-paced story of diving into China business and almost drowning multiple times, but not quite."
-Yun Rou, author of Turtle Planet
"The Lettuce Diaries is an informative and well-written story of entrepreneurship in China. Few international business leaders have more insight about the skills and strategies required to grow a business in China than Xavier. This fascinating book successfully convey the complexities and nuances of founding, scaling and operating a company in the country that is soon to become the world's biggest economy. His style is straightforward and fun to read and his message is clear. It's not easy to run a company in China, but if you do it properly the rewards are significant."
-Agust Gudmundsson, CEO, Bakkavor Group plc
"Many foreigners have set out to do business in China, but few have come away with the unique insights of Naville. This is a rollicking and entertaining tale, told with compassion and humility. You may even learn a thing or two about vegetables.
-Mara Hvistendahl, author of The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage
"The Lettuce Diaries takes the reader on a rare journey behind the big headlines, and even bigger numbers, of China's ascent, into the gritty trenches of the world's second-largest economy. Naville's lively and easy-to-read tale of his travels, travails and triumphs explains in rich detail what doing business in China is really like."
-Michael Schuman, author of Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World
"Bite into a chicken sandwich at a KFC in Shanghai today, or buy a bagged salad in a supermarket in Beijing, and there's a good chance the operation Mr. Naville launched supplied the lettuce inside ... Mr. Naville offers sound advice about doing business in China: Westerners must "listen, listen, listen" and be willing to fine-tune their business models, not just to local needs and tastes but to rapidly changing political realities and supply lines." - James Areddy, Wall Street Journal
"This book is excellent. It puts together lots of pieces of the China puzzle that provide a lot of insight, especially a deep understanding of the business culture." - Fred Gale, USDA Senior Economist