Martin Jacques is the author of the best-selling When China Rules the World, which was first published in 2009. It has since sold over a quarter of a million copies and been translated into 11 languages.
Why I write
It is the best way of expressing and developing one’s ideas. Talking, in contrast, is superficial. And television is not an ideas-friendly medium.
Do you write every day? If so, how many hours?
No, but I wish I did. When I was in writing mode on my book I used to do around eight solid hours a day.
Worst source of distraction?
Checking my email.
Best source of inspiration?
My son Ravi, now 11.
How often do you get writers’ block / doubt your own ability?
I never get writer’s block and usually I don’t doubt my own ability, at least when I am doing things I am relatively familiar with.
Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
No one. I am afraid my routines are not strict enough to allow me to do that.
Favorite Chinese writer?
I like Sun Shuyun, Shi Yinhong, Wang Gungwu, Yu Yongding and Huang Ping, to name a few.
Best book about China?
That’s a tough one. An interesting book is Contingent States by William Callahan because unlike the vast majority of western writers he acknowledges that China is very different from the West and must be analyzed in its own terms. That kind of analysis is the way of the future. But the competition is fierce for such a coveted award.
Are there going to be any easy questions? In the last few years, I greatly enjoyed Nicholas Ostler’s Empires of the Word which is a history of the world told through the rise and fall of languages. Fascinating.
Antonio Gramsci who taught me how to understand politics, culture and much else.
The book you should have read but haven’t?
Too many great novels. But one day…
You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
It was a start.