The Book – Managing the Dragon by Jack Perkowski

The book

Publisher: Crown Business Release Date: March 18, 2008 Buy the Book

When I speak about China, the questions always fall into three categories.

First, everyone is curious how to draw the line from my Pittsburgh upbringing, through my education at Yale and Harvard and my experience on Wall Street, to Asia and China. The line follows a fairly logical pattern until I moved to Hong Kong in December 1991.

Secondly, audiences want me to distill twenty plus years of experience into a few sentences of wisdom. They want me to tell them the single most important thing that I have learned.

And finally, once the basics are covered, there is a veritable litany of questions which deal with how China works on a daily basis and where China is going.

Every company, every individual needs to develop their own strategy for China. Other books on China have been written, but this is the first that attempts to put in one place all of the lessons learned by someone who has experienced it first hand. If it helps the reader in some small way to develop his or her strategy, then I will consider the book to have been a great success.


Jack Perkowski

Book Review

  • Tom Brokaw
  • Michael Eisner
  • Ted C. Fishman, author of China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower
  • Challenges America and the World
  • Timothy Manganello, CEO, BorgWarner, Inc.
  • The Economist
  • The American Library Association’s Booklist

“If you want to do business in China, Jack Perkowski is your man. In Managing the Dragon he takes you into the heart of the Middle Kingdom and shows you the way with insight, humor and the kind of practical advice an entrepreneur or a down home tourist needs to navigate this fascinating and often bewildering colossus of a country.”

– Tom Brokaw


“I’ve just finished Managing the Dragon, which I thought was fantastic. I was riveted by it. I cannot believe what Jack Perkowski has accomplished and what an adventure he’s had, how he lived through it, how he has succeeded and how well written his book is. It reads somewhere between a novel, a how-to book, and primer on a second business life in a developing country.”

– Michael Eisner


“I love Jack Perkowski’s book. It tells, with some bravado and lots of humility, the firsthand story of a man who dared himself to move to China to seize upon the greatest economic boom of our age. Perkowski invites us into his world, into the blur of business meetings and friendships, hirings, firings, and onto China’s shop floors. He reveals what it took to build a world-class manufacturing company in a country that, like Perkowski himself, needed to set firm goals but reach them in an environment where the rules and circles of influence shift daily. Managing the Dragon is more than a manual, more than a memoir; it is a gift from a seasoned friend offering the keys to his wisdom and experience.”

– Ted C. Fishman, author of China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World


“Managing the Dragon is more than a great story about Jack Perkowski and his courage to move to the New Frontier; it is a graduate degree in the trials, tribulations and successes of starting from scratch in China. Jack captures the essence of doing business in China and turns it into a very compelling how-to guide. My experiences in China over the last 14 years validate the accuracy of Jackճ perceptions. Managing the Dragon is superb, and will be a must-read for any BorgWarner executive involved with China.”

– Timothy Manganello, CEO, BorgWarner, Inc.


“Business books on China are published so frequently these days, it seems there is a secret factory churning them out. Too many read like the mass produced goods for which the country is famous, and too few are written from real experience of living in China. Managing the Dragon, Jack Perkowski’s story of his almost 13 years running Asimco, an automotive components maker, in China is therefore a rare treat, a first-hand account of the struggle to build a business there. Tim Clissold, Mr Perkowski’s former colleague, has already described how Asimco’s Chinese partners cheated it out of millions, in his riveting 2004 book, “Mr China”. But Mr Perkowski hung on, and his wise and ultimately optimistic account should be required reading for anyone starting a business in China. Mr Perkowski is sensible on every issue, from the need to nurture (and listen to) local managers to the relative importance of local over central government relations. Most of all, foreigners must not shun the impossibly cut-throat local market because the price paid for a product in China today will be its price globally tomorrow.”

– The Economist


“China has become the hot topic among investors as “the place to be” for the twenty-first century, yet few understand how to crack this market, where the cultural barriers to entry are high. While others have been touting China as the future, during the past 15 years Perkowski has actually built a solid business there, ASIMCO Technologies, a leading player in the burgeoning Chinese automotive industry. Perkowski describes the enormous challenges he has faced, including dealing with peculiar government oversight, ruthless competition, and cost perceptions that are very different from our own. Although China is the largest country on earth population-wise, Communist rule kept it in the dark for many years, so it is still an emerging economy with many decentralized local markets. Perkowski is among the first to convey what it’s like on the ground in China, and although it’s not always pretty, this serves as an excellent guide to others intending to tap into the potential of this waking giant.”

– The American Library Association’s Booklist