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I am grateful to Roger Janecke, publisher of Visible Ink Press, for first approaching me and then inspiring me to write the second edition of this book. I would also like to thank our managing editor, Kevin Hile, for his expertise and attention to detail that made the finished book possible; Mathew Rosenberg, the author of the original first edition, for the enormous amount of work and research that went into it; Mary Claire Krzewinski, our designer, for capturing the spirit of the book in her designs; Marco Di Vita for typesetting; and Amy Marcaccio Keyzer, who did the final proofreading.

My interest in international affairs could not have happened without the inspiration of a few of professors at the University of Michigan: Dr. A.F.K. Organski (political science), Dr. Ernest Young (history/Asian studies), and Dr. George Kish (geography). I owe a great debt to the man who hired me for my first position in international business and took a chance on a young kid who wanted to work with the people of the world: Larry Block. Hundreds of people helped introduce and educate me on the front lines of the international publishing world, including Edgar Castillo, Felix Chu, Janet D'Cotta, Jani Dipokusumo, Yoichiro Fudeyasu, Kazuo Hagita, Mark Holland, Dr. Yung Shi Lin, Mani, Mitsuo Nitta, Sue Orchard, Ravichandran, Sunil Sachdev, Tim Smartt, Jae One Son, Simon Tay, Lee Pit Teong, Kelvin Theseira, Sung Tinnie, Takashi Yamakawa, Shinobu Yamashita, Cai Yuniang, and Eve Zhang. Thank you and your organizations for giving me a chance, and for your kindness and patience while I learned.

I would like to thank the staffs of various international organizations, who helped me to learn about the developing world and provided necessary research information to libraries throughout the developing world, including the U.S. Information Agency, U.S Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Soros Foundation.

I wish to also thank two notable graduate business school professors who gave me the opportunity to learn from them and to lecture in their classes on international marketing and management for so many years. They are both my sounding board and sanity check on theories and ideas in international management: Dr. Ann Coughlan (Northwestern University) and Dr. Linda Lim (University of Michigan). I also would like to thank Dr. Evelyn Katz, a great coach and friend who teaches me and inspires me to transform and break through to the next level. Special thanks to Dr. Yung Shi Lin, and all of the people at Jetwin, for the publishing of my first book.

Thanks also to the thousands of people who work at the websites cited in this book, and who give a large part of their lives and passion in getting this information out to the world. Thanks to my friends and colleagues who read my writings over the years and encouraged me to continue. And, of course, I wish to thank my parents, siblings, wife, and daughter for their love and encouragement in writing this book.


My interest in geography began when I was a little boy, reading whatever I could of my family's collection of National Geographic magazines. I still remember actual pictures and stories of far-away places, of distant lands and settlements and modern civilization, of colorful foods that had unimaginable flavors, of people wearing robes and silks, and so many eyes and smiles. I knew at this age that I would want to be a part of the world, and know the whole world.

My geography professor emeritus at the University of Michigan, Dr. George Kish, a noted geographer and cartographer, inspired us with his stories in lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays. I remember he told us what it was like to stand somewhere in Siberia and feel the temperature changes from the thermals on the ground rising up to his waist, creating a gradient of perhaps 30 degrees. I learned that geography was much more than just looking at a globe and naming names on a map. It is about the land, the people on that land, the delicate balance of nature, and our very interdependence upon it, despite the miracles of technology and grocery stores. It's about the effects of nature on places that we may never visit, the stories of human survival and rebuilding, and of renewal.

From the earliest times, mankind has been fascinated with understanding the questions of geography. The Caves of Lascaux, in France, demonstrate the fascination with which our early ancestors—16,000 years ago—had for their surroundings. Their interaction with nature and reverence for where they were, and how they fit into this world we now inherit, is clearly drawn on stone walls.

It is our nature to wonder about places, to try to understand how do we fit in to this great puzzle that we call Earth. When we begin with asking a question about the planet that we live on, we open up a little part of ourselves to that place. Somehow, it becomes less foreign to us. In my travels around the world, I am always amazed at the number of people who know so much about our country. They speak of New Orleans as if they have walked down Bourbon Street. According to a Roper Poll on Geographic Understanding, American kids ranked dead last in their knowledge of the rest of the world. If you know the people, places, and history of the world, you are more likely to promote peace with other lands. You see the differences as well as the plethora of similarities. Quite possibly, you find things about each place that are admirable. Or you see how your country or region compares to some other place and begin to work to solve common problems and inequities.

World change begins with our geographic interest. I hope that this book stimulates your interest and knowledge, perhaps even makes you delve deeper into a particular place, or set foot upon another land and grasp the hands of its people.

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