Suggestion:   SKIP TO THE HEADING, BELOW.   This prologue is just to put the text and expectations into context. [last edited: 2014.07.13]

Below is a chapter taken out-of-context from a book I'm writing with the working title, The Life Cycle of Revolutions. This chapter is selectively biographical; its goal is to convey just those influences and actions that bear on the course of Mao's struggle. The struggle is always the stage just before the stage where the scaling up occurs. This pre-scaling stage is the time for proving the superiority of what is about to be scaled up and for defeating competing alternatives.

This chapter's organization corresponds to my template of the entrepreneurial stage of progress in order to enable comparisons between political progress and industrial progress. This chapter is but one of a collection of chapters, which will eventually be able to be compared, contrasted, contested, and extended. In all probability, the greatest benefit to those who read these chapters may be those very analyses and any ensuing debates.

This chapter intentionally ignores Mao's culpability in inhumane campaigns, most notably, the Agrarian Reform in which a million land owners were murdered and the Cultural Revolution with its death toll of a million or so. While, arguably not inhumane, the Great Leap Forward cause tens of millions of Chinese to starve due to Mao's insistence on this terribly misguided economic policy. These human catastrophes occured after the revolution and, I contend, were caused by Mao's failure to recognize that China, after the revolution, needed stability and order to which other leaders were much more suited and capable, such as Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi. Mao should have stepped or been forced aside according to the central thesis of my book.

By contrast what Mao did during the the phase of his competency and during the scope of this chapter (1927 - 1947) is, on balance, fortunate for Chinese. Mao did, due to the revolution, bring peasants out of share-cropping enslavement, lifted literacy to a level never before attained, and strongly supported women's equality, while restoring sovereignty and national pride to Chinese.

Mao's struggle is an exemplar of the political Entrepreneur (aka Revolutionary). His compatriots in China's 20th century march of progress are: Sun Yat-sen as the Visionary, Deng Xiaoping as the Instituionalizer, and Jiang Zemin as the Adaptor. Each will be covered in due course.


Excerpt of a chapter from:
     The Life Cycle of Revolutions       By Jim Cook

Mao's Entrepreneuring  (from 1927 to 1947)

"A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another."   Mao ZeDong (1927)

Mao's Passages

Mao's life began on December 26, 1893 in the south of China near Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. A rebel from the start as he tried to live out his evolving core values. He tested authority by not standing when called upon in school and by defying his father in public. At the same time, he didn't stray way beyond the limits, even kowtowing (i.e., kneeling and then bowing with his forehead touching the ground three times) to his father to show respect and remorse after running away from home for three days.

During Mao's twenties, he was exceptional for a fanatical dedication to learning. As a vigorous undergraduate, he chose to do what few others would. He would go to the library at eight in the morning and not leave, not even for lunch, until closing time. He read voraciously and broadly. News, classics, poems, stories, but not, as far as we can tell, mathematics nor the sciences. His education included a summer spent wandering on foot about villages throughout neighboring Hubei province, enduring, first hand, the ravages of poverty, hunger, and the elements. In exchange for meals and lodging, he wrote letters for illiterate peasants. These experiences cultivated in him a deep appreciation for the plight of peasants and their true hopes, desires, and character.

At the teachers college Mao attended, he had disdain for much of his coursework and cared not a whit for neither courses nor grades in subjects he deemed useless. Nonetheless, despite a mixed record, it was Mao and two other classmates who were invited to follow the most respected scholar in Hunan province when he was appointed to Peking University. Later that professor's daughter married Mao. For refusing to divulge Mao's whereabouts, she was executed. Mao instilled that loyalty by the virtue of his causes.

Mao changed with the stages of his life. It was in Mao's diverse, studious, experimental youth where he sorted out effective means and beliefs in support of his emerging values. On his solid foundation of values, beliefs, knowledge, and experimentation, he went on to have an extraordinarily prescient prime followed by a misguided old-age.

Mao's prime was his time of being entrepreneurial, his time of creative destruction, his time for establishing a modern China. The modern China Mao eventually established was, at least in the early 1950s, an egalitarian China with unprecedented opportunity and relief for the masses. Mao's prime period I mark arbitrarily as 1927 (when Mao was 33 and began leading armed engagements against enemies) until the end of 1947 when it became clear that his army was on the verge of dominating its competitor, Chiang Kai-shek's Guomindang.

During most of this 1927 to 1947 period, Mao's army was the underdog challenger. Not until 1947, did his army begin to emerge as the dominant force. This transition in dominance carried with it a concomitant requirement [according to the central thesis of this book] to transition the army's organizational paradigm from the Entrepreneurial-like guerrilla warfare to the Institutional-like regular warfare. Mao encouraged this transition, even declaring it explicitly, but only for the military, not for the nation's governance. Consequently, for the military the transition from loosely coordinated guerrilla units to a regimented hierarchical regular army was successful. Within two years, on October 1, 1949, the army declared military victory and The People's Republic of China was born.

By 1956, the Communist Party was the established political force in China and the time to transition the Party's organizational paradigm, from revolutionary to administrative, had arrived. Perpetuating the Entrepreneuring paradigm beyond its time rather than segueing to the Institutionalizing paradigm, resulted in tragic horror and human devastation, particularly during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Mao's post-prime ineptitude and inhumanity is from a time that is beyond the duration of our scope.

Throughout most of Mao's prime, we will see him embodying the style of the classical entrepreneur by introducing his innovative product (localized Communism) into a wide market (China), promoting it as serving vital consumer needs (opportunity and equality), fighting against the establishment (Chiang Kai-shek and local warlords), and employing a complex of strategies that should boggle the mind for their astuteness and effectiveness.

Innovative product, promotion, competing, and strategy are the core ingredients of any successful (disruptive) entrepreneurial endeavor. Mao, we will see, is brilliant in whipping together these ingredients with all the talent of a master entrepreneur – innovator, authentic, opportunist, inspirational, strategist, designer, showman – and blessed with competent colleagues and minions with extraordinary loyalty and commitment. His establishment competitor, the Nationalists headed by Chiang Kai-shek, in the end, didn't stand a chance even though they had, for the most part, more than ten times the resources and were already entrenched.

Mao's Innovations

As with most entrepreneurs, let's begin with Mao's innovative product. Mao was up against an entrenched establishment product: Standard (European) Communism that was proven in the Soviet Union and was based on Karl Marx's socialist, anti-capitalist, economic and political ideology known as Marxism with the proletariat (i.e., industrial worker) squarely at the center of concern.

Mao's innovation was to put the rural farming peasant, not the urban industrial worker, as the driver of his product, that is, the ideology he was designing was for "sale to" the Chinese people. Rather than getting urban workers to rebel in class warfare, rural peasants' (outnumbering China's urban workers by over thirty to one) need for relief from oppressive rents enabled by a tangle of interlocking alliances of imperialists, warlords, and local landowners.

Mao added woman's and minority's features to his ideological offering which undoubtedly enticed even more followers (read "sales"). He opposed child marriage, foot binding, and forced marriage and wanted women to have full equality before the government. These features constituted Confucian heresy since, for two thousand years, the choice of spouse was considered a family, not a personal, choice. And, for minorities, he also guaranteed equality under the law and promoted their equality of opportunity, as well as setting aside autonomous provincial and local governments wherever the minorities were in the majority.

You might also say, Mao innovated in the methods and structure he used for "distributing" his product, Mao's Chinese Communism ideology. Rather than grandstanding, barnstorming, and/or coercing, Mao used his army, his literal army, as a political force. Every soldier was indoctrinated and expected by his actions and his words to convey the features and benefits of the product, Chinese Communism. Realizing that the army only fought sporadically, he used the troops' "down time" to proselytize. Mao's army had, in every unit, a political officer who trained them. Further, all Mao's troops had orders not to pillage or plunder or worse and to pay for all provisions they consumed or took from peasants.

Mao's Market

In defining his market, Mao was not exclusionary, rather he was as inclusive as possible. He embraced peasants of all stripes: miners and workers, even outlaws (such as the Elder Brothers Society and various minorities that defied governing), as well as landlords, but was adamant in opposition to and exclusion of large landlords, warlords, reactionaries, and imperialists. However, Mao was never a purist, if a warlord could be helpful, he gave, more often exchanged, immunity, until the revolution was over.

Despite hostility from some minorities, Lolo and Fan in Yunan and the Man in Gansu, encountered in the course of The Long March, Mao was aggressive in casting a net that would extend benefits to all minorities. In the spirit of accommodation, Mao proposed and the Communist Party granted minorities regional autonomy at the prefecture and provincial level. Five provinces got such autonomous status: Inner Mongolia for Mongols, Tibet for Tibetans, Xinjiang for Uyghurs, Ningxia for Huis, and Guangxi for Zhuangs.

Mao's Positioning

Mao recognized rent relief, resource and opportunity distribution, and woman's equality as pressing needs among his core constituency, the peasants. However, these proposed changes could be highly charged and divisive. Rent relief would be resisted by landowners small and large alike. Resource and opportunity distribution, was not crucial to peasants trying to fill their stomachs, but was dear to the owners, quite understandably. And, woman's equality didn't appeal to all that many men. On the other hand, China's "face" was being spat upon by imperialists, the most immediate of which were the Japanese. So rather than educating (read, "spending effort on advertising") on these fractious issues of opportunity and equality, Mao's product positioning would be a call for ridding all Chinese people of all imperialistic humiliation. Easy to understand, emotional in appeal, and worth dying for!

In April of 1932, Mao along with his partner, General Zhu De, were the first to declare war on behalf of China against Japan (even though Mao and Zhu represented less than one percent of all Chinese). To form a common bond among all his followers and all Chinese, for that matter, Mao claimed Japan as their common number one enemy. Mao even came forward and declared that until the Japanese were defeated, Mao would let his army fight under the command of Chiang Kai-shek, his bitter enemy and the killer of his beloved wife and younger brother. Mao's maneuvers demonstrated authenticity and the pertinent value of his cause (again, read "product") to virtually all Chinese!

Mao's Competition

While Mao's Communist venture was just forming, Chiang Kai-shek, representing the establishment, undertook six concerted campaigns, called encirclements, to eradicate Mao. At first Chiang employed three times as many troops, all heavily armed including planes, then four times, then six times the number of troops against Mao and Zhu's rag tag bands of guerrilla fighters. All six times Chiang failed, but the cost to Mao-Zhu was so high, that by the last time, Chiang was advertising Mao's extinction and poverty for his followers, just to make their defeat all the more painful. To escape Chiang's troops, after the fifth encirclement, Mao initiated The Long March; for those who marched, the marching was a struggle for life itself!

The Great Struggle (October 10, 1934 - October 19, 1935)

Every disruptive venture endures some struggle. For most, it is long hours, weekends, deprivation from social or family life often with a stint of poverty. But for Mao's troops, The Long March was a struggle as heroic as any in all history and sufficient reason to be in awe of Mao's magnetism and the Chinese peasant's heroism. Of the nearly 80,000 marchers who started the journey only 6,000 (i.e., 7 ½%) made it to the endpoint, Yanan (just north of Shaanxi Province's capital, Xian). The Long March is said to have lasted 368 days and covered 9,650 kilometers (about 6,000 miles). It began in Jiangxi Province (halfway between Shanghai and Hong Kong) on October 16, 1934 and crossed 24 rivers, 18 mountain ranges (five covered with snow) and 11 provinces before it ended at the caves of Yanan on the edge of the Gobi desert in northern China. Statistics alone portray only a faint hint of the suffering of those who endured and died in The Long March. To get a sense of the severity of the struggle, you must empathize with episodic, yet representative, portrayals of the heroism endured by those who sacrificed for China's progress.

While members of a small medical team, unexpectedly hit by a nighttime snowstorm, took shelter beneath the canvas intended for their tents, one of them, insisting on keeping watch, was found frozen to death by morning. In one battle, survivors recalled crossing an ice-cold river while seeing bodies of comrades floating by the result of Chiang's planes dropping bombs on them; many later froze to death in their wet uniforms. On the occasion of crossing a mountain pass, one battalion had more than 300 of its soldiers become snow blind. In the Gansu province's (north central China) grasslands thousands of troops were lost to sinking mud, hunger, and hostile tribesmen; just imagine the horror of soldiers drowning in mud! Zhou Enlai wrote: "For us, the darkest time in history was during The Long March, especially when we crossed the Great Grasslands near Tibet. Our condition was desperate. We not only had nothing to eat, we had nothing to drink." In fact, diaries record that some marchers had to resort to drinking their own urine. This and thousands of like episodes made The Long March an historic struggle of historic proportions for progress of epochal consequence.

Struggle For Disruption

So moved by the scale and suffering of The Long March's struggle, I postulate that the extent of the struggle tends to be proportional to the disruption that the entrepreneur is threatening to bring to the status quo. Ponder the disruption that Mao was threatening: the end of over two millenniums of dynastic rule, the eradication of the tyranny of war lords, the end to enslaving rents to large (and later, small) land owners, the overthrow of the complete subjugation of woman by Confucian practices, and the defeat of the well-heeled, well-connected (with USA, in particular), established heir to Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek.

Machievelli's famous quote, "It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things" is validated by the peril endured by the Red Army (Mao's "developers" of his "product") to introduce a new order of life for the Chinese people.

Mao's Strategies 

Any one strategic axiom taken in isolation may seem trite, but taken as a "complex," it can inspire awe and deliver accordingly. In Mao's case, he committed to over a dozen binary strategic axioms:

  • Make peasants the core constituency (not workers)
  • Adapt Europe's experience to China's unique characteristics
  • Abandon wishful thinking of spontaneous uprising
  • Fight for hearts and minds, not territory or cities
  • Use military as a means of politics, not as an end to rule
  • Run an egalitarian army without plundering or privilege
  • Hit unexpectedly, run if overwhelmed, draw enemy deep
  • Join the Communists, not Nationalists nor be independent
  • Plan for a protracted war of attrition, contrary to Sun Tzu1
  • Opt for all of China, not Hunan and Jiangxi or any region
  • Choose Japan as unifying enemy, not Nationalists et al
  • Include all constituencies: minorities and renegades alike
  • Appeal to women by offering emancipation and equality.

Mao spent a decade (1917-1927) experimenting with variations on this final set of strategies. Even after all were chosen, he was not rigorous about adherence. He wrote about the flaws of idealism, being an empiricist, himself. However, no alternative force offered anything as appealing to so many. For this, Mao got a loyal army; he even got turncoats from the enemy in the midst of battle! Mao also got local support, especially intelligence and short-term participation. Finally, as the reputation of Mao's offerings and his forces' conduct (including administration of conquered areas) spread, it precipitated an implosion of the establishment, the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek, during the last stage of the civil war (1945-49).

  1 Sun Tzu ( 孫子; Sūn13, c. 500 BC) is believed to be the author of The Art of War, 孙子兵法 ( 兵法; Bīng13), one of the Seven Military Classics and revered in China.

The Launching of China
Mao's Organization

Mao really had only one organization, the Chinese Communist Party. The military was but an instrument of the Party as Mao himself stated. During the Entrepreneurial struggle, understandably, it was the military that dominated the action, and, it was indeed a struggle! So, for the moment, we'll focus mainly on the style of Mao's military organization, at first called the Red Army and after 1946, The People's Liberation Army. Mao's military's "struggle" was at its peak during The Long March. The military's "struggle" ended around 1947 with the realization that the Chinese Communist Party was well on its way to dominating China.

The Culture

The culture Mao set up for his guerrilla forces and his Red Army was unlike conventional established military. From the outset in 1928, the ground rules were set, among which "officers do not beat the men; officers and men receive equal treatment; soldiers are free to hold meetings and to speak out; trivial formalities like uniforms, displays of rank, polished shoes, and pomp and ceremony were dispensed with; and the accounts are open for all to inspect." Thus, an egalitarian and open culture became the vehicle of progress. Mao even attributed a main "reason why the Red Army carried on in spite of such poor material conditions and such frequent engagements [against better equipped and better paid troops] is its practice of democracy."

In Mao's military everyone had a voice and access to leaders. Before engaging the enemy, battle plans and objectives were shared with the rank and file, even encouraging and incorporating disagreement. Plundering and raping were not tolerated. His army was enlightened. In practice, the army's conduct was expected to be an exemplar to the people of the model of the Communist order to come. When troops needed food, they worked for farmers or the farmers were paid. And, fighting was only one part of a soldiers' duties, attending political seminars and behaving politically correctly was the other part. This behavior was in sharp contrast to Mao's competition, Chiang Kai-shek's army. Consequently, Mao's army got free intelligence regarding enemy troop movements and an excellent reputation among the people.

Mao's Personality

Rebellious from childhood, Mao was a revolutionary to the core. He hated the Confucian classics, rejecting their moral philosophy of order and propriety. The classics hobbled Chinese people, but not Mao. He disobeyed his father, ran away from home, defied and challenged his teachers, and that was even before he was all of ten. For example, Mao couldn't fathom any reason to stand to answer questions in class, so sat while answering incurring the wrath of his teachers. Young Mao acted on his strong intuition about right and wrong. A delinquent, no; a rebel, yes!

An obsessive learner! Early on, Mao appreciated literature which, in turn, deeply determined his behavior. Outlaws of the Marshes, a sophisticated Robin Hood story, even became a blueprint for his subsequent commando fighting. In his late teens, he immersed himself for six months in the local library from sunup to sundown without a break. There he studied philosophers, among them many Europeans, including, Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Baron de Montesquieu, in Chinese, of course. By his mid-twenties, Mao had acquired the lifetime habit of a voracious reader, but not a passive one! When Mao was done reading, the margins often overflowed with his own commentary and criticism, and it didn't matter who owned the book or document.

And then, a compulsive teacher. At 28 years of age, Mao founded an open school, The Self-Cultivation University. Later, he became the headmaster of a Peasant Training Institute where he lectured on political topics such as "The Peasant Question in China" and "Methods of Teaching in the Countryside." While holed up in the mountains Mao took up schooling for his followers, cadres, soldiers, - even teaching peasants to read and write. Throughout his ascension from local, to military, and finally to Party leader, he always spent time educating his initially illiterate personal attendants. Late in his life, when Edgar Snow asked Mao how he wanted to be remembered, he replied, "only as a teacher."

On this foundation of rebellion, preparing, and educating, Mao fashioned out, through trials that were as much experiments, a creative and robust style by which to lead. That path worked miraculously during the revolutionary phase, 1927-1949.

As a compulsive teacher, Mao's personality was indeed extroverted (E)1. His bias towards action over contemplation is further indication of his "E" personality trait.

Mao's persistent observing to establish trends and relating them to history, ancient and contemporary, is his iNtuative (N) mind at work. His extraordinarily prescient and creative strategies validates this cognitive preference.

Although the consensus is that Mao was more of a Thinker (T) than Feeler (F) in his cognitive decision making, his position must be placed very much near the balance between them. Perhaps his ability to drive his thinking to accommodate his feeling is the key to his greatness.

Finally, we come to his lifestyle. Time and again, Mao anticipated or experienced setbacks. His response was invariably withdrawal; withdrawal marked by severe, sometimes life-threatening, malaria attacks (1929, 1933, 1934, 1935). Just prior to these episodes, Mao "lost face" in the Party (1929), lost military control due to his strategies (1933), attacked militarily by the Nationalists (1934), and anticipated a challenge to his leadership (1935). Each episode concluded successfully, Mao was restored to the Politburo (1930) and elected chairman (1931), sat out the disastrous military campaigns by those that had repudiated his strategies (1933), was given charge of the retreat that became The Long March and later anointed military leader (1934-5), and deftly dealt with a challenge to his military leadership by one of his generals who commanded vastly more and fresher troops (1935). This is Perceiver (P) driven success: action incorporates substantial contemplation of alternatives, not driven by the need for immediate decisions.

We conclude, as do most others, that Mao had the typical entrepreneurial personality type, ENTP: Extroverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving.

The Organizational Structure

Originally troops were not even organized, rather were a bit like rag tag, countryside bandits. They had ad hoc strategies of hit and run. Later these developed into an entire army of commandos. There was a small local hierarchy, but there was not a tightly knit, centrally driven, disciplined, and coordinated army.

When the attacks on the Japanese began and the number of troops grew, Mao's troops were organized into three basic levels: village, district, and central. The village level consisted of local residents organized as self-defense teams which served only during local attacks (sort of a national guard / civil defense). This level consisted mostly of ad hoc units with little training and few weapons. Next, were district Red Army units, full time regulars under a district commander who operated and received their non-military supplies locally. The top level, where most of the troops were, was under the control of the Central Military Commission. Initially, this top level Red Army had three fronts of armies, each consisting of three armies, organized into a hierarchy of divisions, regiments, and so forth down to companies.

At every level down to the company unit, Mao's army had two leaders, one military and one political. The political leader, originally called the political commissar and later the political instructor, had to ensure the political mission of the unit. The political leader was also the party secretary of the unit and had pre-emptive authority to countermand the military leader who initiated any orders that violated the Party's policy or instructions. This dual leadership structure exists today, even in State Owned Enterprises (take note, the Party Secretary has the power to overrule the CEO!).

The paramount authority of the military unit's party secretary was only exercised due to exceptional circumstances; his ongoing responsibility was more the process of indoctrination, proselytizing, and leading the Party's agenda. The Party Central Committee Report (1930) in defining the role of the political instructor says he "has to see that the soldiers' committee carries out political training, to guide the work of the mass movement, and to serve concurrently as the secretary of the Party branch. Facts have shown that the better the company Party representative, the sounder the company, and that the company commander [i.e., military leader] can hardly play this important political role."

Mao's army's structure had two tracks: military and political, with political taking precedence. And, he had a three level army: local part-time, district divided between governing and fighting, and national which conducted military campaigns. Mao's organization and strategy enabled logistical flexibility by eschewing territory, especially cities, and embracing people, their minds and their locally available resources and supplies.

The Success Measure

Mao's product was Communism for China, and those who were "buying it" can be measured by membership in the Communist Party. How well it advanced was measured by the extent of conversion. In the beginning, the numbers looked like the membership in a country club, 420 (1923) and 994 (1925). Thereafter, through the end of World War II, roughly the entrepreneurial period, it grew from 40,000 in 1928 to 1.2 million in 1945 at roughly 22% compounded annually.2

The Initiatives

Initiatives! Mao's whole enterprise is marked not only by initiatives, but often bold and prescient ones at that! The Long March being the boldest and the first to declare war on Japan (April 5, 1932) being positively prescient. The whole of Mao's strategy can be considered a driving force of initiatives: woman's liberation (contrary to Confucius), protracted war (contrary to Sun Zi's The Art of War'), hit-and-run fighting, conserving people not territory, soliciting and educating peasants, banning of looting and raping, and ... Mao's list of initiatives goes on and on. The constant in Mao's initiatives is a pragmatism built on a deep foundation of history, ancient and contemporary, and on his own direct experience. For initiative he greatly exceeded his competition and, as is invariably the case, the establishment.

Dealing with Risks

The risks were substantial. The avowed enemy of the Communists, the Nationalists, had far superior weapons, even planes, and over five times the number of troops. Furthermore, the last ideological movement was within living memory and an unmitigated disaster for those who fought. The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) resulted in the death of 20 million Chinese and no improvement to those who survived. Mao was setting out on a Communist rebellion fought by roughly the same kind of troops, against the same kind of enemy, trained and well-armed. Furthermore, Mao's troops were fighting for a cause that they barely understood. But, in their gut, they sensed good camaraderie and fair treatment, the likes of which existed now in no other Chinese force, not the Nationalists nor the warlords.

Mao and the Red Army escaped no fewer than six overwhelming attempts by the Nationalists to exterminate their cause. Although the toll was horrific, the Red Army's morale was not extinguished. After five attempts, the Nationalist forces did pre-maturely assume the death of the Communist cause. By the end of The Long March, with over 90% of the marchers perishing, those that survived were bound together by the blood of the fallen. This created more than camaraderie; rather it created a deep trust and commitment from which to resist the Nationalists and to fight the Japanese, in the name of the Chinese people.

In the midst of the competition, Mao deftly neutralized his arch enemy, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, by challenging them to engage in a truce in order to jointly fight the Japanese. On the horns of this dilemma (choose to join his avowed enemy and fight the Chinese people's enemy or continue his annihilation of his enemy at the expense of the Chinese people?), Chiang Kai-shek reluctantly agreed (due, in part, to prodding from his American supporters) undoubtedly realizing that this accorded the Communists an opportunity to become stronger in preparation for the inevitable civil war following the defeat of the Japanese. The Communists did get stronger and by the end of the World War II had morale, armaments, and a growing following which led to their victory.

The Consolidation

In mid-1949, months before the founding of modern China, Mao proclaimed, "We shall soon put aside some of the things we know well and be compelled to do things we don't know well." The struggle that he knew and executed so well will be over!

The consolidation definitely entailed tidying up loose ends. Taiwan, Hainan (a tiny island in the south), and Tibet were yet to be under Communist control. The land reforms had yet to be implemented and the next stage, the creation of a workable government built on sturdy institutions was the next stage of progress's work.

Tragically, this next stage was haltingly executed with the wrong paradigm, the entrepreneurial (i.e., revolutionary) paradigm. Not until 1979, after Mao's death and the transition of power to Deng Xiaoping, did the appropriate paradigm, institutional, come to lay in a strong and effective established government.

In Summary

Perhaps the word, "Entrepreneur" or "Entrepreneurial" is wrong as it is seldom associated beyond business, yet the thesis of this book extends beyond business. "Shattering Change" captures both the destructive aspect of creativity with the notion of putting that change to the test of implementation.

An Apology

To do this chapter accurately would require far more research that I have put forth. Each year, new evidence of the revolutionary period comes forth. Some of it was suppressed during Mao's lifetime, some of it was considered secret, and much of it was and is withheld or released in support of some agenda. For example, the heroic tale of the crossing of Dadu River made great theater and bolstered spirits, but sadly, for the romanticists especially, its heroism is greatly overstated. The logical development of Mao's army and its culture were cultivated and exaggerated for Mao's personal aggrandizement. The role of supplementary leaders is only now trickling out, so much of what is attributed to Mao was actually the doing of others.

My purpose is not to accurately portray this man nor history. My purpose was to extract, selectively, attributes that can help readers attach the notions of the thesis of this book to the characteristics of leaders. As Ralph Bunche so powerfully put it, "If you want to get across an idea, wrap it up in a person." And, that's what I am attempting here.

Lastly, I have appended a glossary to facilitate any Chinese who happened to be reading or discussing this chapter since, in China, names like "Music Mountain" (Mao's birthplace) are not recognized as such, rather they are pronounced as Sháo2 Shān1 and written " 韶 山 ".

1"E" refers to the Extraversion/Intraversion code used by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for classifying personalities ( The three other codes are for Sensing/iNtuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.

      Glossary: English, PinYin, Chinese Characters, Comments

English name PinYin name1 Chinese2 Comments
Sun Yat-sen3 Sūn1 Zhōng1Shān1 孫中山 (1866.11.12-1925.03.12) Doctor, revolutionary, & political leader; Frequently referred to as the Founding Father of the Republic of China, also its 1st President.
Chiang Kai-shek3 Jiǎng3 Jiè4Shí2 蒋介石 (1887.10.31-1975.04.05) Leader of the Nationalist Party & KMT or GuoMin Dang ( 国民党; Guó2Mín2 Dǎng3).
Chinese Communist Party Rén2Mín2 Gòng4Chǎn3 Dǎng3 中国共产党 The Chinese (meaning, Chinese People's) Communist Party had its First National Congress on July 23, 1921 in Shanghai at which Mao as one of the 13 original delegates.
Sun Tzu Sūn13 孙子 (~544 BCE - ~496 BCE) Author of The Art of War (兵法; Bīng13) an historically renowned treatise on winning at war. Later expanded upon by an alleged descendant, Sun Bin (孙膑; Sūn1 Bìn4), during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).
Zhu De Zhū12 朱德 (1886.12.01-1976.07.06) Communist leader and founder of the People's Liberation Army, born in SiChuan Province ( 四川省; Sì4Chuān1 Shěng3) and once an Elder Brother Society official.
Yang Changji Yáng2 Chāng14 杨昌济 (-1920.01.17) Mao's 1st wife's father who was a Professor at Peking University.
Mao Zedong Máo22Dōng1 毛澤東 (1893.12.26-1976.09.09) Also transliterated: Mao Tse-tung.
Music Mountain Sháo2 Shān1 韶 山 Birthplace of Mao in Hunan Province ( 湖南省 ; Hú2Nán2 Shěng3).
Outlaws of the Marsh Shuǐ33 Zhuàn4 水浒传 Outlaws of the Marsh aka Water Margin by Shi NaiAn ( 施耐庵 ; Shī1 Nài4Ān1, AD 1276-1370) one of the Four Classic Novels of Chinese literature - comparable to Robin Hood, but deeper.
Well Ridge Mountain Jǐng3Gāng1 Shān1 井冈山 A densely forested area on the border between Jiangxi & Hunan provinces where Mao-Zhu (later joined by Zhao & Peng) called the cradle of the Revolution.
Yangtze River Cháng2 Jiāng1 长江 The longest river in China (and Asia and the third longest in the world) running west to east in China dammed half way at the Three Gorges.
Yanan Yán2Ān1 延安 The CCP HQ from 1936-48 in Shaanxi Province ( 陕西省 ; Shǎn31 Shěng3); capital is Xian (Xī1Ān1; 西安).
Dadu River 442 大渡河 A violent Sichuan tributary of the Min River (岷江; Mín2 Jiāng1) which feeds the Yangtze River.
Luding Bridge 2 Dìng4 Qiáo2 泸定桥 The bridge over the violent Dadu River (大渡河; Dà442) where Mao's Red Army exhibited heroism.
Zunyi Conference Zūn14 Huì44 遵义会议 The Conference where Mao was legitimatized as the CCP military and political leader, named for the small town of Zunyi, just outside of Guiyang City (贵阳市; Guì4Yáng2 Shì4), the capital of Guizhou Province (贵州省; Guì4 Zhōu1 Shěng3).
The Long March of the Red Army Hóng2Jūn1 Cháng2Zhēng1 红军长征 Lasted from 1934.10.16 (80,000 in Jaingxi, Yudu in Ridge Mountain area) to 1935.10.19 (6,000 reached Shaanxi, Yunan) & it covered 9,650 kilometers.
Taiping Kingdom Tài4Píng2 Tiān1Guó2 太平天国 A civil war in southern China from 1850-64, led by Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全; Hóng2 Xiù4Quán2), against the Qing Dynasty in which about 20 million Chinese people died, mostly civilians.
Hundred Days' Reform Bǎi34 Wéi2Xīn1 戊戌变法 A program of reform begun in 1898 in in response to the humiliation of losing to the Japanese, but killed by Empress Cixi (慈禧太后 Cí13 Tài4Hòu4) when their recommendations included limiting the sovereign's power. Subsequently, in 1901, many reforms were forced on her by exploitative Western Powers.
Elder Brother Society 1Lǎo3 Huì4 哥老會 Originally, a loosely organized secret group dedicated to a nationalistic struggle against the Qing (General Zhu De was a highly placed officer here since 1911).
Red Spears Society Hóng2Qiāng1 Huì4 红枪会 (1921-1945) A large secret sectarian militia providing safety in northern China (Shangdong, Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, southern Hebei, northern Anhui, and Jiangsu provinces) due to collapse of the central government.
People's Liberation Army Rén2Mín2 Jiě3Fàng4 Jūn1 人民解放军 Established on 1927.08.01 (08.01 aka PLA Day), the day of the Nanchang ( 南昌市 Nán2Chāng1 Shì4, capital of JiangXi Province, 江西省 Jiāng11 Shěng3) Uprising.
Comprador Mǎi3Bàn4 买办 Native managers of European business houses in East Asia who became vilified due to exploitation of Chinese customers and workers.
Shanghai Shàng4Hǎi3 上海 Most populous city in China; early home of the CCP.
Peking University Běi3Jīng14Xué2 北京大学 China's Harvard (aka Běi34) is China's 1st modern university; founded in 1898 as Imperial Capital University, it replaced the ancient School of the Sons of State.
Everyday language Bái2Huà4 白话 Vernacular language used by ordinary people in an area to express everyday ideas.
Kowtow Kòu4Tóu2 叩头 An act of deep respect by kneeling & bowing & having the head touch the ground.
The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution 2Chǎn3Jiē12 Wén2Huà442Mìng4 无产阶级文化大革命 A massive social upheaval (1966.05-1976.10) the CCP says "is responsible for the most severe setback & heaviest losses suffered by the Party, the State & the People since the founding of the People's Republic."
The Cultural Revolution Wén2Huà442Mìng4 文化大革命 (aka 文革; Wén22) due to a struggle for Communist Party power; its chaos set China back by a couple of decades & a half million people died. The vernacular form of The Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution.

1 Numerics are tones.
2 Simplified version of Chinese as is used today in Mainland China.
3 Phonetic rendering of Cantonese pronunciation.
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