Acknowledgments
Academics
spend so much time working alone that we some-
times forget that all of our writings are profoundly collabo-
rative projects. My name may be the only one on the front
cover, but this book would not exist without the contribution
of many wonderful people. I am especially grateful to Nancy
Ries for reading the entire manuscript several times and giving
me insightful and detailed comments at every round. I would
also like to thank the following for reading selections or pre-
vious iterations of the book and offering valuable feedback:
Richard Madsen, Akos Rona-tas, Christena Turner, Joseph
Esherick, Paul Pickowicz, Wendy Wall, Christopher Henke,
Jessica Allina-Pisano, Eric Allina-Pisano, and Michele Chang.
Many thanks to Alan Smart for our conversations about guanxi,
and to Alena Ledeneva and Nancy Ries for helping me see the
connections between guanxi and blat—and kindly answering
all of my ignorant questions about Russia. And I owe Andrew
Kipnis a debt for inspiring me to realize that suzhi was a key
concept for making sense of my findings. Of course the errors
and flaws which remain are all my own, but there would be
many more without the probing questions, accurate criticisms,
enlightening suggestions, and kindly encouragement that these
people provided for me.
I need to thank Deborah Davis, my first professor of soci-
ology, who fostered my interest in Chinese society and gave me
the confidence and desire to become an academic. She con‑
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