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Chan, James W. 1949- (James Wah Kong Chan)

Chan, James W. 1949- (James Wah Kong Chan)


Born August 3, 1949, in Canton (now Quangzhou), Guangdong Province, China; naturalized U.S. citizen, 1987; son of Shu-Chung (a business owner) and Kit-Yee (a business owner) Chan. Ethnicity: "Chinese." Education: University of Hong Kong, B.A., 1970; University of Chicago, M.A., 1973; University of Michigan, Ph.D., 1977.


Home—Philadelphia, PA. Office—Asia Marketing and Management, 2014 Naudain St., Philadelphia, PA 19146-1317; fax: 215-753-9661. E-mail—[email protected]


Boston University, Boston, MA, visiting assistant professor of geography, 1977-78; State University of New York College at Cortland, Cortland, associate professor of geography, 1978-80; Academic Press, Inc., New York, NY, China area manager, 1981-83; Asia Marketing and Management, Philadelphia, PA, founder and president, 1983—. Rennoc Corp., director of international operations, 1990-91; U.S. Department of Commerce, member of Philadelphia District Export Council; public speaker in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese Chinese.


Association of Corporate Growth, Mid-Atlantic Consultants Network.


Spare Room Tycoon: Succeeding Independently; The 70 Lessons of Sane Self-Employment, Nicholas Brealey (London, England), 2000.


In Spare Room Tycoon: Succeeding Independently; The 70 Lessons of Sane Self-Employment James W. Chan presents a collection of the stories of forty men and women who have succeeded at being self-employed and running independent businesses. The work offers strategies and virtues that can be followed by the self-employed to help independent entrepreneurs find joy and balance as well as autonomy in their lives. "Self-employment is less a task than a way of life," summarized CNNfn writer Steve Bills. In an interview with Bills, Chan commented: "I have not interviewed anybody whose goal was not to make money. However, our goal is not single-mindedly devoted to becoming extremely rich. Instead we want to turn ourselves into our business. We want our business to be an expression of our individuality."

Critical reaction to the book was largely positive. According to the Web site, Jodi Torpey wrote in the Denver Business Journal that Spare RoomTycoon "is recommended reading for any self-employed person thinking about going back ‘inside,’ as well as anyone thinking of going ‘outside.’" Claude Crowley wrote for the NewsTimes Live Web site: "Spare Room Tycoon is not a how-to book, although it contains good how-to information. It is more a book of wisdom, perhaps even philosophy, about self-employment, a heads-up for those considering self-employment and for those ‘captains of industry’ who are already in established home-based businesses."

Chan once told CA: "The primary motivation for me to write is to express those feelings and emotions which deeply affect me—and the people whom I interviewed in my book, Spare Room Tycoon. Self-employment is not for everyone. Most people want the security of a full-time job and the structure and sociability of the workplace. But self-employed people like us want freedom and independence. We value autonomy more than the clearly defined social status which a corporate position confers on us.

"I was deeply affected by the book Self Help, by Samuel Smiles, published in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Similarly, I was deeply influenced by the Tao Te Ching, a book attributed to the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tsu, as translated by Stephen Mitchell.

"I write when I'm in the mood to write. I've kept a diary since 1991. I find writing a diary therapeutic. It helps me put down in writing the emotions, feelings, values, desires, and quandaries I face daily. I often look back at my diary writings and I'll rewrite them so that what I want to say comes across clearly and effectively.

"After having been self-employed for twenty four years, I've come to know many people who share the rollercoaster way of life that all self-employed people face. We face the joy, anxiety, and uncertainty of transforming ourselves into our own businesses. We live a life of our own making. This is my inspiration."



Asia Marketing and Management Web site, (July 11, 2007).

CNNfn, (July 13, 2000), Steve Bills, review of Spare Room Tycoon: Succeeding Independently; The 70 Lessons of Sane Self-Employment., (August 21, 2000), reprint from Denver Business Journal of Jodi Torpey, review of Spare Room Tycoon; (November 16-22, 2000), Jodi Torpey, "Are You Cut Out for Self-Employment? Take This Test."

NewsTimes Live, (October 5, 2000), Claude Crowley, review of Spare Room Tycoon.

Spare Room Tycoon Web site, (July 11, 2007).

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