Thick Face Black Heart – Chin-Ning Chu

I have always wondered about the disproportionate amount of publications from the West given the rich Asian cultures. So, I do make it a point to read at least some of the Asian authors and one author that I have found to be incredibly insightful and relevant is Chin – Ning Chu. Thick Face Black Heart – The Asian path to thriving, winning and succeeding is based on a philosophical treatise called ‘Thick Black Theory’ written by Li Zong Wu.

While she was born in Tianjin, China and grew up in Taiwan, she lived in the US since 1969 until her passing away in 2009. The book with a subtitled The Warrior Philosophy for conquering the challenges of Business and Life is a fascinating read as it dwells on Eastern philosophy from ancient China. The Thick Black Theory describes the concepts of shamelessness and ruthlessness in holding on to political power by sharing six ways to obtain an official position:

1. Staying focused by emptying one’s mind of anything that does not relate to one’s official position,

2. Taking every opportunity to advance oneself,

3. Seeking self-praise by highlighting one’s qualifications to the attention of those who can help,

4. Flatter those who can help,

5. Making threats to those who do not support one’s progression, and

6. Using bribes to create a sense of obligation to secure what one wants.

Chin- Ning Chu uses the concept of thick face as a shield and black heart as a spear as the core for personal and business success. This is woven through stories from history. The need to achieve a warrior spirit and demonstrating the in-built killer instinct in each one of us are essential for success. While some of us may consider some of the ideas in the book to be unacceptable totally, Chin-Ning Chu also includes the element of Dharma – the word means duty and the correct thing to do.

It is an interesting read as it gives insight into the Asian culture, particularly the Chinese culture while emphasising on values and peace of mind. China has demonstrated how it can lift millions of people out of poverty in a short time and grow into the world’s second largest economy in rapid time. More importantly, it gives a perspective from a non-western mind.