There was a big controversy when Amy Chua wrote about Tiger Mothers and how tough Chinese Moms can be in raising children to be at the top of their game. There are many strategies that the Chinese have used for centuries to succeed . I’m happy that today I have an interview with Michael Justin Lee, author of The Chinese Way to Wealth and Prosperity: 8 Timeless Strategies for Achieving Financial Success. Raised in the Chinese culture, his book shares what you can learn in order to increase your prosperity. Here’s what he has to say.

Why did you write this book? I wrote this book because I want this country to return to the path of prosperity. Americans seem fearful of China’s growing economic power. I propose that instead of fear, we substitute emulation of what is working for China. My book presents 8 specific strategies from the Chinese experience which will help Americans achieve financial success.

What’s your personal background? I was born quite poor in Hong Kong, my parents having become refugees there to escape Mao’s China. We would emigrate to the United States when I was two and I grew up in New York City’s Chinatown. After business school, I embarked upon a career in international finance which would take me back to Hong Kong frequently as well as to many other of the world’s financial capitals.

What’s your professional background? I am a veteran Chartered Financial Analyst and former examination grader of the CFA exam. I hold an MBA in finance from New York University with Beta Gamma Sigma honors and had nearly twenty years of professional experience as an investor. I held the position of Financial Markets Expert-in-Residence in the administration of former Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao.

How did Confucius influence the Chinese way?? The greatest sage in Chinese history bequeathed us a treasury trove of wisdom. Much of what constitutes Chinese culture comes directly from his teaching and much more comes from his disciples. But whether we know the original source or not, those who appreciate Chinese culture, whether or not they are themselves Chinese, have the Great Teacher to thank. I like to think that all 8 of my principles trace back to him directly or indirectly.

How did many Chinese immigrants use the strategies in your book to build lives in foreign countries?? Because the Chinese mentality is the one thing that the Chinese brought with them from one country to another, I am convinced that the success of the Chinese people in foreign countries is directly related to their use of strategies such as the ones I detail in my book.

How does the Chinese culture view education differently than Americans? ?In a nutshell, to the Chinese, education is much, much more than a means to a vocational end. It happens to be that too which accounts for the success of the Chinese in many professions. But even more than that, the Chinese view education as the means by which a human being becomes fully human. It is by elevating oneself to one’s maximum potential that a person achieves complete personhood. It is quite similar to Maslow’s concept of “self-actualization.”

Would you share one of your principles? By far the one that might be hardest for Americans to accept is the injunction to defer more gratification. The Chinese are quite good at this but the American consumer-oriented culture is the exact opposite of this. Let’s face it, one who cannot defer at least a few gratifications has fewer and fewer “seeds” to plant for the future. This goes for saving money as well as for planning for education, both of which are separately discussed. As a result, we find ourselves in our present predicament wherein not having planted much, we haven’t much to harvest.

Do you suggest that Chinese culture is “superior”? Emphatically not! I write of what I know and what I know best is the Chinese culture. I could just as easily suggest positive American traits which could benefit Chinese people, which may indeed be my sequel. For that matter, I assume that just about any other culture has something valuable to share with others. But again, I write only of what I know best.

What’s your best advice for someone who really wants to succeed? There’s no escaping it. Educate, apply, save. Repeat for the rest of your life.

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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