新书促销行 / China Business Book Promotion Tour



这位电视脱口秀节目主持人在荷马·辛普森式的脑袋上顶着个玛吉·辛普森式的发型 /
The TV talk show host wore a Marge Simpson hairdo atop a Homer Simpson brain

新书促销行

1979年,我在美国九座城市巡回推广一本我写的关于在中国做生意的书。

巡回推广新书是一种让人筋疲力尽、备受折磨的商务旅行。

新书促销行通常要在很短的时间内走访多个城市,每天多次接受不同类型媒体的采访。

由于每天多次就同一个问题接受采访,几天下来,你就会对一遍遍重复同样的话感到厌倦。

然而,在1979年的新书推广旅行中,有一个采访问题与众不同。它是唯一让我一时语塞、找不到合适答案的问题。

那是匹兹堡的一档晨间电视脱口秀节目,我是当天的特邀嘉宾,节目是现场直播的。

我自认为准备充分,所以当节目主持人——一位把头发染成金黄色、留着蜂巢发型的美国女人——在节目开始之前走过来跟我打招呼和进行简短交谈的时候,我非常放松。

随后,节目开始。她先介绍我,再简单谈了一下我的新书,然后对观众说,她和我会稍后再讨论这本书。接着,她略带激情地说起她对中国的兴趣和与中国有关的经历,提到她曾与一个中国男人交往过一段时间,并通过他学会了欣赏中国的文化和美食,等等。

接着,她转向我说:“那么,您大老远从中国来,今天到我们这里。”紧接着,她提了第一个问题:

“中国人究竟住在哪里呢?”

这个极度愚蠢的问题,立刻让我语塞。

各种可能的讽刺性回答涌进了我的脑海:

1、 中国人住在月亮上

2、 中国人住在树顶上

3、 中国人住在中国

4、 以上都不是

5、 如果我告诉你,我就不得不杀了你

可我在做电视直播,我要回答这样一个问题,同时不能让提问者看上去像是个十足的傻瓜。

于是我转了一下脑筋,猜测她可能只是想问一下中国大陆的房子一般是什么样子。

如今,我已经不记得那天她还问过我什么别的问题了。

China Business Book Promotion Tour

In 1979 I did a 9-city promotion tour in the U.S. for a book I had written on doing business in China.

Book promotion tours are a grueling and exhausting form. of business travel.

Book tours typically include many cities within a very short time frame, and many interviews each day with a variety of different types of media.

Because you are being interviewed on the same topic many times each day, day after day, you tire of repeating the same message over and over.

However, one interview question really stood apart from all the others during that 1979 trip. It was the only one that momentarily stumped me for an appropriate answer.

It was a morning TV talk show in Pittsburgh, and I was a featured guest that day. The show was broadcast live.

I felt well prepared and was thus relaxed when the TV talk show host, an American woman with dyed blond hair in the style. and shape of a large beehive, came over to say hello and talk briefly before the show began.

Then the program began. I was introduced, and she talked a bit about my new book, saying we’d get back to that in a minute. She then talked with some enthusiasm about her interest in and experience with things Chinese, mentioning that she had dated a Chinese guy for quite some time, learned to appreciate the culture and food through him, etc.

She then turned to me, said, “So you’re with us today all the way from China, ” and then asked her first question :

“Where do Chinese people live, anyway?”

I was momentarily dumbstruck by the profound dumbness of this question.

Potential sarcastic answers raced through my mind :

1. Chinese people live on the moon

2. Chinese people live in the treetops

3. Chinese people live in China

4. None of the above

5. If I told you that, I’d have to kill you

There I was, on live TV, facing one of those questions which challenge you to answer without making the questioner look like a complete idiot.

So I rose to the occasion and guessed that what she might be wondering about was what types of housing are common on the Chinese mainland.

I don’t remember any of the other questions she asked that day.


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