The Chinese should, but apparently don’t, recall the Talmudic business wisdom of the pious, Sephardic Orthodox Judaic opium dealer, David Sassoon, who brought their nation to ruin while profiting handsomely from it not too long ago.
“Han Bing, the (pseudonymous) author of Crack the Talmud, says a series on the ‘Jewish Bible’ by a prominent publisher made him realize that ‘ancient Jews and today’s Chinese face a lot of the same problems”
This message sounds familiar. Could it mean that our “special relationship” with “The Jews” isn’t as special as we’ve been led to believe? Keep an eye on the East and you’ll find out.
Selling the Talmud as a Business Guide
P Deliss / Godong-Corbis – Newsweek
December 29, 2010
A page from the Talmud, the book consisting of early rabbinical writings that inform the Judaic tradition.
Jewish visitors to China often receive a snap greeting when they reveal their religion: “Very smart, very clever, and very good at business,” the Chinese person says. Last year’s Google Zeitgeist China rankings listed “why are Jews excellent?” in fourth place in the “why” questions category, just behind “why should I enter the party” and above “why should I get married?” (Google didn’t publish a “why” category in Mandarin this year.) And the apparent affection for Jewishness has led to a surprising trend in publishing over the last few years: books purporting to reveal the business secrets of the Talmud that capitalize on the widespread impression among Chinese that attributes of Judaism lead to success in the financial arts.
Titles such as Crack the Talmud: 101 Jewish Business Rules, The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book, and Know All of the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud share the shelves with stories of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. There’s even a Talmud hotel in Taiwan inspired by “the Talmud’s concept of success” that features a copy of the book Talmud Business Success Bible in every room. With the increasing interest in business education in China, and a rise in sales of self-help literature, the production of business guides to the Talmud has exploded. The guides are like the Chinese equivalents of books such as Sun Tzu and the Art of Business.
Han Bing, the (pseudonymous) author of Crack the Talmud, says a series on the “Jewish Bible” by a prominent publisher made him realize that “ancient Jews and today’s Chinese face a lot of the same problems,” … No statistics are available on the sales of this sliver of the book market. But while the guides haven’t reached the heights of books such as Jewish Family Education, which claims to have sold more than 1 million copies, they currently are “very popular” and a “hot topic,” says Wang Jian, associate dean of the Center of Jewish Studies in Shanghai, a research institution that focuses on Jewish culture and history, and Israel. The Talmud “has become a handbook for doing business and seeking fortunes,” Wang says.