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Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese [Paperback]

4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.95
Price: 9.06 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 Mar 2014
Learning Chinese is notoriously difficult and has long put off the most linguistically savvy Westerners... until now. Breaking down the Great Wall of language, ShaoLan Hsueh has unpicked Chinese characters and created a simple system for quickly understanding the basic building blocks of the written language. Working with renowned illustrator Noma Bar, she has developed a unique set of illustrations that are engaging and delightful, and offer a glimpse into the wonder of the Chinese language and culture. The books main section introduces the radicals the key characters on which the language is built and reveals how they can be combined to form a wealth of more complex words and phrases. In fewer than 200 pages, readers of all ages will have made the first steps towards a genuine appreciation of Chinese, loving every new character they learn.

Frequently Bought Together

Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese + Chineasy 60 Flashcards + Easy Peasy Chinese: Mandarin Chinese for Beginners (Reissues Education 2014)
Price For All Three: 26.21

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd (10 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500650284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500650288
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 18.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Taipei and now living in London, ShaoLan Hsueh is a creator, entrepreneur, geek, writer, traveller and dreamer.

Chineasy is based on a method that ShaoLan designed to help her two British born children learn to read Chinese. She launched Chineasy after a rousingly well-received TED Talk in Long Beach, California in 2013. Her aim with Chineasy is to help anyone in the world to understand China, Chinese culture and its language.

For her this is also an arts project, as she grew up in an artistic family, being the daughter of a ceramic artist and a calligrapher. She is connecting the dots by going back to her artistic upbringing, and connecting her life's journey through the East and West. and
Twitter: @ShaoLan_Hsueh and @Hello_Chineasy

Product Description


Graphically appealing, illustration-led new system for learning Chinese. --The Bookseller

Fear not, Grasshopper, learning Mandarin just got Chineasy ... may revolutionize the teaching of Chinese around the world ... In 25 minutes ShaoLan's method had done more for me than had two weeks of headaches clutching Collins's Easy Learning Chinese Characters. And that result probably speaks for itself. --The Sunday Times

If you've ever felt the urge to read Chinese but found the challenge overwhelming, help may be at hand. --The Wall Street Journal

Ingenious ... making learning Mandarin Chinese simpler ... fun, eye-catching designs. --The Independent on Sunday

Turns a fiendish world into a visual treat ... shines a spotlight of childlike clarity on the seemingly impenetrable world of Chinese ideograms ... beautifully illustrated. --The Guardian

An approachable introduction ... Chineasy succeeds in making familiar ideas memorable. It gives the beginner, confronted by a seemingly random scrawl of ideograms, somewhere to start in deciphering them. --The Economist

Could soon be unlocking secrets for everyone. --Metro

Filled with delightful illustrations. --Baby & Me

You'll love ShaoLan's Clever interpretation of Chinese characters! --Bored Panda

Easy peasy it's Chineasy! ... Not only does it look fantastic, thanks to the illustrations by Noma Bar, but it really works too. --Independent School Parent

Might be exactly what beginners need. --Travel in Taiwan

Brilliantly simple ... It is truly a very accessible system also for kids and I am already getting the hang of it. Don't miss out on this. Get the book, put it on your night stand and read a few pages every evening. It will give you access to a whole new world.

About the Author

Chineasy was created by the entrepreneur, investor, creator and author ShaoLan Hsueh. She launched this project after a rousingly well-received TED Talk in Long Beach, California in 2013. Several months later, she has built Chineasy into one of the most popular methods of learning Chinese across social media with more than 60 thousand+ followers across the Internet.
ShaoLan is an entrepreneur with extensive business experience in both Asia and Europe. At the age of 22 whilst studying for her MBA she wrote four best-selling books on software in Taiwan, which were awarded 'book of the year' after their publication. She co-founded pAsia, one of the major players on Internet in Asia in 1990's, aged 24. After a second masters degree at the University of Cambridge she began Caravel Capital which she founded in 2005 to advise young technology companies.
ShaoLan is active in the arts, education, current affairs and environmental matters.
She is a member of several management and advisory boards of non-profit organisations in the UK, including the Saïd Business School of Oxford University, Asia House, and the New School Network, an organisation backed by the British Government promoting educational reform.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
'Chineasy' is not, by any means, a book for learning Chinese, as most of its critics (judging from the negative reviews here and elsewhere) seem to believe. This fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and function of this book can be blamed squarely on the author and publishers for promoting it as such (in TED talks, etc.), taking a charming little concept and hyping it up well out of proportion.

What this is, first and foremost, is an art book, something you can admire not just for the beautiful illustrations on the inside, but also for the way the book was put together and laid out. Secondly, if, like me, you are starting out on the nerve-wracking challenge of learning Chinese, this is a great way of demystifying the subject, presenting the logical thought processes behind what may seem like arbitrary and complicated symbols, and giving you an insight into the Chinese mentality. For these purposes, I couldn't recommend this book highly enough, and I've already memorised quite a few of the characters in its pages without applying any real effort.

But you can't possibly rely exclusively on this book to teach you the language. Aside from presenting an extremely small sample of Chinese characters, there's also the fact that they're mostly all traditional forms (most learners of Chinese will want to simplified characters, but even those who are after the traditional characters will find that some of them in here are simplified, as the author/illustrator picks whatever looks best for her purposes). Also, some of the characters (e.g. “argument”, p.47) are extremely rare or archaic forms that nobody uses anymore, as more than one of my Chinese friends pointed out to me when they looked inside. So, great book if you want to appreciate the art or use it as a supplement with real Chinese textbooks, but forget about it if you think it will be an “easy” way to learn the language.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy persuasion 26 Mar 2014
By Ilija
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A several people have advised me: "One must have a child imagination in order to learn Chinese characters". As an adult I have somewhat forgotten the ways of a child, but thanks to this book it's no problem at all. I'm just eager to finish the book and see the first results. I hope to see other and progressive continuation of the work of ShaoLan! Keep up with the excellent work!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple approach 20 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Easy to follow approach that made learning the language far less daunting than it had seemed before! Happy with the progress its helped me make but there is much more to learn than could be covered in one book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Entertaining and logical way to build up characters and meaning. The approach has presumably used the characters that lend themselves to this approach i.e. building complicated character from simpler ones. But key words like you and s/he are missing
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is laid out very well and introduces you to the patterns and principles straight away. It's easy to follow and the complexity grows as you turn each page building upon your knowledge. I can't wait to get properly stuck in!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars based on traditional word 25 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
it is ok a good idea but has been written more taiwanese than mainland china, so examples are tradiional chinese not simplfied, and some words are not so common in mainland chinese or as my young frend in Beijiing said, "old stuff " some examples could confuse some one going to main land china. "gao " = tall as oppsed to example in the book "chang " which is used for long
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware of Kindle version 13 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Too early to say much about the contents and the method. Website is great. Found myself remembering the first basic characters after first viewing, so can't say fairer than that. I think there's huge potential for all sorts of learning materials based on this method.

However, no thought has gone into the Kindle version. Artistic design theme has been allowed to pervade the whole look and feel of book, therefore text is already very small, even in full sized book relative to the page. In Kindle version, the whole page has been bitmapped so unlike a normal Kindle book you have no zoom control, no control over text size at all. You can only ever display whole page and can't zoom it.

Problem - you need quite a large tablet, the size of a book, to be able to stand any chance of reading the text. e.g. on my Galaxy Note 3 phone - largest phone screen you can buy and as big as the smallest e-readers... not much smaller than an iPad mini...
it is impossible to read the tiny text.

Price of Kindle book was a no-brainer, but sadly its no use. Rather look out to see if they'll have a subscription website to learn from when on the move. Because there's no doubt portability is the key to this kind of learning. Probably teach me to buy real books, which I do prefer if possible, but they need to put a bit more thought into this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chineasy 31 Mar 2014
Chineasy presents ShaoLan Hsueh’s delightfully simple (and undeniably cute) system for quickly understanding the basic building blocks of written Chinese. In collaboration with illustrator Noma Bar, Hsueh has developed a set of illustrations that match wonderfully with the Chinese characters that they represent and so act as an incredibly effective study aid when it comes to recognising and remembering key Chinese words and phrases. While I’m still far, far from fluent, Chineasy has certainly given me a head start at reading and writing basic Chinese and so, importantly, has given me the confidence that I might be able to progress further with the language.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice design but you won't learn much from it
Just a gimmick. Nice design but you won't learn much from it.
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars It works fine on ipad etc but really
This is not compatible with kindle touch! It seems strange to me that a Kindle edition of a book is not compatible with a kindle! It works fine on ipad etc but really? c'mom!
Published 7 days ago by ushiec
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
this book is fabulous .
Published 8 days ago by redbeki
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I'm impressed - hopefully soon I can speak at least a little chinese!
Published 10 days ago by Geoffrey Keith Tue
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant way to learn another language.
Published 10 days ago by Betty Rose Blossom
5.0 out of 5 stars The book is excellent! This is the opinion of a very weak ...
The book is excellent!
This is the opinion of a very weak memory person and the main difficuty in learning Chinese has been for me learning the hanzi. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Anna Poian
3.0 out of 5 stars the actual system is very clever and easy to understand
The meaning of the words need more emphasis as I find it laborious going back and forward from each symbol on the page to the explanation. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Mrs. E. M. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy for language lovers!
A clever way of learning how to read and write simple Chinese. It's entertaining, and makes a great deal of sense when it breaks down the characters. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I did
Saw a lot of people raving about this book and I've been trying to learn Chinese for a little while now so I bought this to see if it helped. So glad I did. Read more
Published 22 days ago by A. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is easy to follow and serves as an excellent primer when ...
I want to learn Mandarin to improve my empathy with Chinese students. This book is easy to follow and serves as an excellent primer when supplemented by video lessons available... Read more
Published 23 days ago by University professor
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