Chinafornia Newsletter: My book available for pre-order now! Plus pictures, upcoming events and more!





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July 8 · Issue #50 · View online
Matt Sheehan's Newsletter
Dear Chinafornia Newsletter readers,
It’s with a whole lot of excitement (and a major debt of gratitude to all of you) that I can now announce the August 13th publication of my new book!
The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for our Future (Counterpoint Press, 2019)
We’re just over a month out from publication date, and right now the book is available for pre-order at the following links:
Amazon (both hardcover and Kindle edition)
IndieBound (great way to support independent booksellers!)
Any help you could give in posting, tweeting, and of course, purchasing, The Transpacific Experiment would be hugely, hugely appreciated. This entire project has been a mammoth undertaking, one that has genuinely changed my life in countless ways, and I’m so excited to share the finished product with all of you.
I’d also like to invite the readers of this newsletter to the San Francisco launch event for the book, hosted by Asia Society Northern California. It will take place on Tuesday August 13th from 6-8:30pm in downtown San Francisco. Tickets are available at the link above – get them now, as there is limited seating for this event!
If you are a member of the media and would like to receive an advance copy of The Transpacific Experiment or schedule an interview, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my publicist, Lena Moses-Schmitt at Counterpoint Press: And as always, feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions:
Alright, read on below for a sneak peak of the book, an upcoming book tour and more…

Sneak peak of the hardcover edition
Sneak peak of the hardcover edition
And some kind words from Kai-Fu Lee, Te-Ping Chen and Mary Kay Magistad.
And some kind words from Kai-Fu Lee, Te-Ping Chen and Mary Kay Magistad.
Overview and a big thank you
This project had its genesis all the way back in 2013, when a broken ankle and a journalist visa denial turned me into the only China correspondent located in the Bay Area. What began as a labor of love – my scrappy attempt to chronicle the burgeoning ties between China and my home town – ended up following these threads as they wove their way into the center of the most important superpower relationship of this century.
In that process, I’ve logged hundreds of on-the-ground interviews, thousands of miles on trains, planes and automobiles, and a lot of help from friends and colleagues like the readers of this newsletter. For all of that, I can’t you enough. From the acknowledgements:
Right now the US-China relationship is at its most tense and uncertain point in 30 years. My hope is that by digging in at the grassroots level – telling the stories of the real people who are shaping and being shaped by these issues – The Transpacific Experiment can help deepen our understanding and push this relationship in a more productive direction.
What's actually in the book?
In the book, I dissect China-California interactions in chapters covering six different dimensions: higher education, tech, film, green investment, real estate, and politics. Each chapter of The Transpacific Experiment then follows the stories of a real person or real project who has been at the center of these dynamics, using their stories to shed light on the big picture questions both countries are grappling with right now.
In that process we….
  • dive into the lives of Chinese students on California campuses
  • head to a Beijing hackathon led by an ex-Googler who returned to China to found his AI startup
  • explore the cinematic culture smashes at Shanghai Disneyland and its local rivals
  • meet an eccentric California desert mayor who hopes Chinese green investment will save his down-and-out town
  • look at the massive, Chinese-funded redevelopment of a poor San Francisco neighborhood
  • ride along for a Chinese “home buying tour” of my hometown of Palo Alto
  • and finally hear the stories of two generations of immigrant political activists who clash over the future of Chinese-American politics.
It was fascinating and really fun to research and write all this stuff, and I hope it will be just as fun for you to read about.
Book tour dates - come say hi!
I love engaging with readers and people who are interested in these same issues, so over the next couple of months I’ll be traveling for a book tour. Some of dates are already settled, and more are coming soon. As of now, we’re looking at:
Aug. 13th - San Francisco: launch event at the Asia Society, in conversation with the excellent Rui Ma (tickets here)
Sep. 5th - Los Angeles: book talk at the University of Southern California (more details soon)
Sep. 12th - New York (date to be confirmed): event with the National Committee on US-China Relations
Oct. 3rd - San Francisco: event with Young China Watchers at Book Passages in the Ferry Building
Coming soon: events in Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle and more.
And I’d love to work together with readers of this newsletter on any other events. If you or your organization would like to collaborate on an event, please don’t hesitate to reach out to to my events coordinator (Katie Boland, and me (
Thanks for reading, and more soon!
Ok, I’ll leave it there for right now. Again, I can’t thank you enough for reading, and for all of the encouragement, insight, and help the readers of this newsletter have given me over the years. Building up a community of people who live out and care about these issues has been one of my main goals and happiest accomplishments during this whole endeavor. This project – The Transpacific Experiment and so much more that has spun off from it – simply would not have been possible without all of you.
I’ll be writing again soon with more details on upcoming events and opportunities to meet up in person. Stay tuned!
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