🔴Out of the Gobi: From Mao’s China to Finance (w/ Weijan Shan)

🔴Out of the Gobi: From Mao’s China to Finance (w/ Weijan Shan)


This week on how I got my start in finance we have wage on Shan The notable investor chats with Brian price about his humble beginnings and how he persevered in the face of momentous challenges Ihram described his harsh upbringing and ultimate success. I didn’t choose my life was chosen for me Especially growing up in China during that period of time You know, I wrote this book is a recount of history the most horrible part of Chinese history when I lived through And my story is rather unique, but also very representative of my generation And at that time there’s not much choice You just did whatever you were told to do or you were assigned to do and I was sent to the Gobi Desert It was not until the end of the so-called Cultural Revolution in 1976 one everything came to an end China in 1979 open up establish relationship diplomatic relationship with America Under Jimmy Carter And the next year I had an opportunity to come to America to study That’s how it happened. After that. I had some choices choices which school to go a choice is what to study and It was in this country. I find choices you oversee 30 billion dollars You’re one of the world’s most respected investors that are served by American private equity firms like Blackstone Fair enough and they are one of your backers. Yes along with several US pension funds We’re grateful to them for their trust So I want to take a step back and talk about How you got to where you are? success or not Because I want folks to understand that when I say the Gobi Desert and you’re booked out of the Gobi Discusses in large part leaving Mao’s China to have to do hard labor in the desert Talk to me about that hard labor What was that? What was that? Like, how did that shape you to become the man you are today? School came to the end for me when I was 12 when I finished elementary school The country was in chaos Schools were shut for about 10 years and when I was 15, I together with my friends classmates Were sent to the Gobi Desert and we had to do very hard labor we were told to grow crops in the desert and you can imagine how hard that is and Not surprisingly. We were not too successful talking about success We had to build Huts shelters for ourselves because there was no place to live. I Made bricks that was back-breaking job We had to work 16 sometimes 18 hours a day Back bringing some people became sick and permanently disabled It was very cold in winter time something like minus 10 in winter time The bad part is that that’s the temperature inside and out. There’s no heating There was no fuel. The only fuel available was dried cow dung cow manure Which we collected? And burn for 10-15 minutes before we got into bed, and if you can call it a bet every night that was the only source of heating and otherwise – ten inside and out if there’s a blizzard To go out to the outhouse Was life-threatening. It was a big risk that you would have to take And don’t ask me how we coped with that so when I first came to this country, I hear people talk about There’s expression if they don’t agree with each other they say bullshit and I would think to myself that thing used to be very dear to me and That was the only source of heating and we had When this day I like to sit by a fireplace because we experienced so much cold and That life didn’t come to an end until about six years later And of course the worst thing during that period of time was starvation there was never enough to to eat If you look at me, I you know, probably look he may say it to you and that was the starvation from that time and then you were able to Teach yourself math by candlelight if I’m not mistaken. I did in an systematic way I just read whatever books I could lay my hands on and there was no school as I mentioned for 10 years So very few people bothered to read to study and in fact, all the books were banned Reading was from the poem. I got into trouble by doing it but at the end of it I was somewhat educated because I didn’t gave up and Eventually, I was able to obtain a formal education including a PhD from UC Berkeley so When I look at the kiss today, especially in this country, I think they’re so privileged. You know, they have the education Unfortunately many people take that for granted We couldn’t it was a privilege that we didn’t have but studying reading Got me where I am today had I given up like most of my peers at that time. I Would not have had a job at this particular point as most of my friends Have long lost their jobs when China opened up. They didn’t have any skills To obtain any decent jobs because for 10 years and there is no education So education to me is the most important thing it gets to where you need to be or where you want to be especially in this country So teaching yourself math teaching yourself English – then Getting your education in the US and eventually becoming a professor at warden in your wildest dreams Did you ever think that such things could be possible and do you think outside of America? That type of dream is possible or is it something that only in America that could happen? At that time I didn’t have any dreams Because we were told to take root in the Gobi Desert So I was prepared to spend the rest of my life in that place But also told myself I have to prepare myself My philosophy in life is to be always prepared. I believe that sometimes You just don’t have opportunity to get anywhere but when the opportunity comes if you’re not prepared to grasp it, it’s your fault if Opportunity never comes your way then it’s not your fault so America is where as long as You want to get to someplace? I think the opportunity is more or less equal It’s not completely you go to be honest. So it’s more or less equal we came to this country without Money without money to pay for tuition a professor Donated money to cover my tuition And eventually many kind of people helped me to get a formal education so I’m very fortunate to benefit from the generosity of Ordinary people in this country and from America itself. Now China has opened up. So there’s more equality’s for Ordinary people to get to someplace but that was not the case 40 years ago when China was still very much closed under different system from teaching himself math in a work camp in the Gobi Desert to earning his PhD And to running his own fund Shan is a shining example of taking advantage of opportunity. It’s a better one’s lot in life For real vision. I’m Justine Underhill You

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10 thoughts on “🔴Out of the Gobi: From Mao’s China to Finance (w/ Weijan Shan)

  1. Love that red hair. But seriously, this is sad stuff that we in America need to take heed of. I'm afraid of avalanche that is Trumpism. Where will it stop, and by whom?

  2. Now that's oppression. Takes a non-westerner to put western life in perspective. We don't know how lucky we are, and we'll do well not to burn it all to the ground for the sake of ideology.

  3. And here I am upset that that had to work 4 hours late when this dude used to burn cow poop to stay warm…

  4. Can u white men put the sirname first instead of reversing the name. Very impolite. Can I call Bill Gates , Gate Bill?

  5. Do u know why the youths have to send to the villages, Gobi desert.? Mainly China had zero capital and investment due to US embargo and later USSR embargo? If u have 800 million hungry souls to feed, how do u survive? USSr and US were both enemy of China and India and Vietnam were on bad terms with them . USSR even threatened nuclear against China.. How do u cope with such dilemma? China has to spend much of its resources on industrialization , main;y heavy manufacturing in steel Because USSR withdrew all the experts from China halfway due to the bad ties, China cannot give up on its heavy industries. All its earlier efforts would be gone down the drain if that happened. As a result, the ordinary citizen suffer, so whenever there is chaos in the city due to lack of jobs, mass mobilisation of youths would be sent to the ctry side to till the land. That took off a lot of pressure for the govt who can't control so much unem[ployed ppl?

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