Red-Hot Resources

"Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

China's "Crisis = danger + opportunity" is a lie

Now this is fascinating. How many talking heads and business babblers have told us that the Chinese word for "crisis" is composed of elements that signify "danger" and "opportunity"?

Turns out that's a lie. Listen to someone who actually speaks Chinese ...

From ...

A whole industry of pundits and therapists has grown up around this one grossly inaccurate formulation. A casual search of the Web turns up more than a million references to this spurious proverb. It appears, often complete with Chinese characters, on the covers of books, on advertisements for seminars, on expensive courses for "thinking outside of the box," and practically everywhere one turns in the world of quick-buck business, pop psychology, and orientalist hocus-pocus.

The explication of the Chinese word for crisis as made up of two components signifying danger and opportunity is due partly to wishful thinking, but mainly to a fundamental misunderstanding about how terms are formed in Mandarin and other Sinitic languages.

Read the rest of this fascinating piece at


Check out my new gold and energy blog at