In 1946, George Orwell articulated the reasons why he put pen to paper in an essay entitled Why I Write.
In this Web series, authors talk about their literary habits and reading preferences,
and examine Orwell's question that lies at the heart of being an author—why they write.

Peter Navarro

Death by China


Peter Navarro is the director of the Trump Administration’s newly established National Trade Council. He was formerly a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine and holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University.


Peter Navarro’s books include The Coming China Wars: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won (2008) and Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – A Global Call to Action (2011), which he co-authored with Greg Autry. A documentary, narrated by Martin Sheen, based on the book was released in 2014.


Why I write
To make a difference.


Do you write every day? If so, how many hours? Or do you work to a daily word count? What time of day do you write?
Since I was 20 years old, I’ve written for at least two hours a day, always first thing in the morning – freshest part of the day. In the afternoons, I usually spend several hours editing. Everything I write goes through at least 10 edits. I NEVER write in the evenings.


For the last five years, most of my first drafts have been done with dictation software and, as a result, I’ve developed a style which is keyed more for the ear than the eye


Where do you work? Describe the physical domain of your writing space…
I have a home office of about 400 square feet that is quite pleasant. I use a timer and never sit for more than 30 minutes at a time so as to remain fresh both physically and mentally. On my short breaks, I clean up the yard or go have a snack in the main house.


Worst source of distraction?
Noise – pleasant or unpleasant. I never play any kind of background music either.


Best source of inspiration?
A higher purpose for the material I’m working on. I do mostly non-fiction and focus on issues of great importance; for example, the Death By China book and film deals with what I believe is the single most important issue facing this country – the loss of our manufacturing base to a hostile power. It’s easy to get motivated after doing the research and seeing what a wreck our economy has become.


How often do you get writers’ block / doubt your own ability?
I’ve worked through that at this point, with over 10 books to my vita and a solid discipline. The hardest thing is simply getting started on the first draft of whatever – book, oped, film script. Once I get over that hurdle, I’m usually off and running.


Contemporary writer in any medium who you never miss?
I’m still trying to figure out how Michael Lewis does what he does so well. In the novelist dimension, Michael Connelly is my favorite for new titles and pre-order his books.


Favorite book?
Turow’s Presumed Innocent listened to rather than read. Conneally’s The Poet is a close second along with Robert Charles Wilson’s one-hit wonder Spin. (I know, I know, I’m cheating.)


Favorite writer?
I wish I had the lyricism of Peggy Noonan in the non-fiction sphere.


The book you should have read but haven’t?
Nothing here, but if I had to do it over again, I would have had the discipline to carefully outline every novel I ever read and note various plot devices. That would have made me a better writer.


You look back at the first thing you had published and think…
The Policy Game was my first books and one of the best books I have ever wrote but it didn’t sell very well. I think if it had been, I would have been able to fulfill a dream I long held but have now abandoned in an age of promiscuous blogging – that is to have been a oped regular columnist like George Will or Paul Krugman (both of whom I think are far too doctrinaire). I do love the oped short form however!


How did you get started writing?
In a Volkswagon driving up from Florida to New York with my mom as a young teen. Bored out of my mind, I began doodling on a pad and things took off from there. Plus, I always loved reading books and figured out as a teenager, maybe I can write one of my own.


Does writing change anything?
Yes. Minds.


What are you working on now and when is it out?
A followup to my Death By China book and film that focuses more on national security issues. 2014 is the likely release date as I’m in the early stages.


Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Leave a Reply

Posted on: March 12th, 2013 by JFK Miller No Comments