Bend, Not Break by Ping Fu & MeiMei Fo

Book Review : Bend, Not Break

By Ping Fu & MeiMei Fo

  • Publication Date: 2012-12-31
  • Genre: Asia
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 149 Ratings)

Book Review

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”
—Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa”

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new home­land. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repair­ing NASA spaceships.

Bend, Not Break depicts a journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.

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User Reviews

  • Something I can relate to

    By Ellenski
    This is a great read. I can't relate to the treatment in 202, but the strength of living through such adversity and pushing on is something that is incredibly inspirational. The ups and downs of her life and career were told so well and I never thought of this as an autobiography, just a great book. Thanks for being pushed to write it!!
  • Full of fabrication

    By Mollykoala
    This bamboo lady is In credible. Fabricate like everyone is a fool.
  • Full of lies

    By Fu fools
    Ping Fu is a shameless liar who fabricated stories of suffering during the cultural revolution to fool Americans who do not know China or Chinese history. Ping Fu wrote another book in Chinese for a different audience. In her Chinese book, she trashed Americans, calling her Jewish American employer fat and cruel, saying she learned that in the US one needs to dishonest to succeed.
  • Bend, Not Break

    By Katiemcgi
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the historical perspective of two distinct cultures. Ping is an inspiration to us all of how we should all continue to persevere through both adversity and challenges to reach our goals.
  • Ping Ping

    By Alice Broughton
    What a good book! So glad I read its review in the Christian Science Monitor. I have learned so much about the Cultural Revolution in China, China itself and Chinese people and have gained better hope for the world's future! It has helped me understand my Chinese American friends who lived through this revolution much better. In it, I could read the answers to many questions I could not ask for fear of offending. I think we are lucky in America to have Ping Fu as a citizen; she has helped the United States!
  • Excellent and very touching story

    By SandyBeach61
    This book brought tears to my eyes, I love the title and I am in awe of Ping's accomplishments. Her life is the epitome of "in the midst of adversity there's opportunity". I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to read her story.
  • Bend Not Break

    By Cali-Meow
    Incredible life's journey of one amazingly resilience woman! Bravo Ping:)
  • Amazing Story, Amazing Woman

    By Coltm4a2
    A must-read, highly recommended. There is not a dull moment in this book, could not put it down.