My Interview with Jim Rogers: “Prepare by learning Mandarin”

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For my first interview, I wanted to introduce the legendary Jim Rogers and ask him his thoughts on learning Mandarin Chinese and what it was like to relocate his family all the way from New York to Singapore. He was very generous to give a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions.

Jim Rogers is an American investor and financial commentator now based in Singapore. He was a co-founder, along with George Soros, of the Quantum Fund, and is also a college professor, author, world traveler, economic commentator, and creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI).

One of Jim’s most redeeming qualities is his honesty in everything he speaks and I really respect him for that. He’s not afraid to tell it like it is and his realistic and practical approach has definitely helped him succeed. Lots of people probably thought Jim had lost his mind when he starting talking about China in the 1980’s and the great opportunities that it would have in the near future. Instead of backing down on the topic, he took his motorcycle to China and made several cross country trips across the country to witness the changes that were taking place. He knew the dragon would awaken soon and he started investing. Jim has been investing heavily in China since then and he believes the future is for Asia now.

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Jim believes in the future and potential for Asia so much (China particularly), that he took his family and moved them all to Singapore. He said he would have liked to move to China but the air is still too polluted and doesn’t want his children to live with that for now. Jim always refers to this new century as the “Century of China” and believes everyone, especially young people, should learn to speak Mandarin. If you want to know more about the reasons Jim believes in China’s rise, you should read Jim’s books. They’re very well written, informative, and entertaining if you’re interested in business, investing, or Asia. You can also listen to many of Jim’s interviews online.

I asked Jim a little bit about his new life in Singapore. He said his adjustment to life in Singapore has gone “fabulously well”. He also said that in order to maneuver there they do not even need to know Mandarin. This is no excuse for Jim’s daughters though. One of the main reasons he took his family there was for his two little daughters to learn Mandarin. They go to Chinese-speaking schools, and have a live-in Chinese governess who speaks only Mandarin with them.

I was curious and asked Jim about how the prospects looked for finding work in Asia during this global recession as compared to America or Europe. He said that he would recommend people to seek work opportunities in Asia as an alternative.

To conclude, I asked him what inspiration or advice he could give to those people learning Mandarin. He said, “China will be the most important country of the 21st century so prepare.” That means something coming from him, I think. And as the investor he is, he says for everyone to “buy low, sell high.”

If you want to learn more about Jim Rogers, go check out some of his books or listen to his interviews on YouTube.

Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers – 1995 (ISBN 1-55850-529-6)
Adventure Capitalist: The Ultimate Road Trip – 2003 (ISBN 0375509127)
Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World’s Best Market – 2004 (ISBN 140006337X)
A Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World’s Greatest Market – December 4, 2007 (ISBN 1400066166)
A Gift to My Children: A Father’s Lessons For Life And Investing – April 28, 2009 (ISBN 1400067545)

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