Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World

The parents of Chinese millennials (all 400 million of them) have created one of the best educated, most aspirational generations in China's history. A millennial himself, Zak Dychtwald bummed all over the country to become fluent in Mandarin and make friends with his Chinese peers. Young China is his account of his language-impaired efforts to meld into the youth culture of a growing world power. Easily integrating statistics, interviews and the nuances of tonal Mandarin, he paints a picture of a country that "now graduates the most college students of any country in the world." The stats on China are staggering: for example, it has "the largest online matchmaking business in the world" and Alibaba's 2016 "online sales on Singles Day were more than Brazil's total projected e-commerce sales for the year." Take that, Tinder and Amazon!

Dychtwald is an entertaining guide through Chinese dorms, cafes and karaoke bars, touching on young people's almost universal quest for financial success, marriage and children. Along the way, Dychtwald observes students' 90-hour weeks cramming for college entrance exams and the LBGT underground with its "shape marriages" of lesbians and gay men for appearances. All told, Young China is the story of a generation not much different from its counterpart in the West--except the "China dream" of its youth is not to build their homeland's future but to revive its past glory. As one of Dychtwald's roommates puts it: "We remember rags. Now, as a country, it feels we are returning to riches." --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

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