CHAPTER SIXDEFER GRATIFICATION

Everyone has surely heard the saying commonly attributed to philosopher Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” People usually use this expression as encouragement for starting any demanding task. However, there’s another context used less often which places the emphasis on the thousand miles rather than on the single step. In so doing, it articulates the Chinese focus on the long term. This has many financial manifestations, from earning to saving to investing and even to career management. Such a focus on the very long term, sometimes beyond one’s own lifetime, and ignoring the lure of immediate or intermediate gratification, is a form of human capital that the Chinese have in great ...

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