Finding yourself / How to become a leader

The best-ever 43rd birthday present is YOU!

To hear Joy read this post in English, click here.

Joy with readers

Hi everyone!  Apologies for being away from this blog in recent weeks.  You all have been much in my heart.   My family and I spent an amazing two months in China meeting many of you.  Then we returned to L.A. where we had some rest and family fun before the girls started school.

During this time, Dave and I also celebrated our birthdays – Dave turned 46 and I turned 43.

The best birthday present that I could have hoped for is YOU.

Indeed, prior to this birthday, I’d spent over a year in seclusion, working on Do Not Marry Before Age 30, my book about finding success, happiness, and love.  Writing this book was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  In my research, I pored through books from all walks of life.  The sciences  – neurology, psychology, sociology – and philosophy from all ages and cultures – and literature as well. So, intellectually and spiritually, it was a thrilling year.

But the year also was one of worry.  I’d put my HR business on hold to write the book so Dave had to support the family by himself. We frequently worried and wondered whether any other person would be interested in the book.  Here I was, a Chinese-American living in Los Angeles, working away at a crazy dream to make a difference in the lives of women an ocean away in China.

Would anyone there care what I had to say about the big questions of our lives?

Writing the book also forced me to confront other sorts of risks. In the book, I laid bare the things I know now that I wish I’d known when I was starting out.  My triumphs, my regrets.  The things I would do over again if only I could.  Recollections that make me laugh, memories that make me cry.

Writing this book in such a naked  and personal way felt like a very risky thing to do. After all, for years as a politician, I’d grown accustomed to cloaking my vulnerabilities.

Would readers in China cry with me, or just laugh?  Would they laugh at me or with me?  Did I have any intellectual, emotional, spiritual fellow-travelers among the women of China?

And so, it was with such relief and joy that I came to China to launch the book, and found you.  So many new sisters to welcome into my life.

In the words of the late great American writer Gore Vidal, “A book exists on many different levels. Half the work of a book is done by the reader—the more he can bring to it the better the book will be for him, the better it will be in its own terms.”  Never has this been more true than with my book.  That the book already has become a best-seller is testament to the amazing spirit and vitality of Chinese women today.

I’m pleased that the book has sold so well, but I am even more moved by the book reviews and Weibo posts I’ve seen about how the book has changed your lives.  Each one of these posts makes my heart sing.  You say my book gives you power, but it’s you who to me is “gelievable!”

For those of you outside of China who have been patiently awaiting the book, I have good news.  The Chinese version should be available worldwide by the end of September.  I’ll keep blog subscribers posted, so if you want to stay in the know, subscribe your email to my blog.

I’m currently exploring how to publish the book in English, traditional Chinese and other languages, so stay tuned for news on those editions as well.

I’m energized by the time I took off, and now I’m excited to getting back to writing.  So you can look forward to more from me on this blog and also to seeing more of me across various of China’s fashion, lifestyle and business media.

To all of you, my old and new friends, as I embark on a new year, thank you for your presence in my life.  The best gift I could have hoped for is you.  I look forward to much more fun and fascinating dialogue in the year ahead.

Meanwhile, I’ve put together a book website featuring some of the magazine and newspaper clips about the book, plus some fun photos and videos.  If you came to one of my speeches, you may even find your photo there!  Check it out at


Comments on this blog post are welcome, in Chinese, on the Chinese version of this blog post, here.