Bend, Not Break

Bend, Not Break

A Life in Two Worlds

eBook - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Penguin Putnam
“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”

—Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa”

Ping Fu knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.

Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in tech­nology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.

It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds.

Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 in traveler’s checks and three phrases of English: thank you, hello, and help.

Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new home­land. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader. A love of problem solving led her to computer science, and Ping became part of the team that created NCSA Mosaic, which became Netscape, the Web browser that forever changed how we access information. She then started a company, Geomagic, that has literally reshaped the world, from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repair­ing NASA spaceships.

Bend, Not Break depicts a journey from imprisonment to freedom, and from the dogmatic anticapitalism of Mao’s China to the high-stakes, take-no-prisoners world of technology start-ups in the United States. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.

Baker & Taylor
Traces the author's rise from a survivor of China's Cultural Revolution to an Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year, member of Obama's innovation and entrepreneurship advisory council and proud U.S. citizen, describing the harrowing circumstances that led to her exile from her homeland and the compassionate, visionary leadership style that enabled her remarkable career.

Publisher: New York : Portfolio/Penguin, 2013
ISBN: 9781101608197
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Fox, MeiMei
OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 05, 2014

If I could give 0 star to this book, I would.

This memoir is full of contradictory fabrications mixed with high-minded talking. A lot of the stories in this book have been proven fake beyond doubt. Ping Fu herself had to retract quite a few major claims and correct quite a few "errors." Ping Fu has become so notorious in Chinese American communities that her name is synonymous with liar. Plug "Ping Fu" and "liar" into Google these days and the combo yields more than 6,300 hits.

Has any one ever heard of some one being kidnapped the first day upon arrival to America, being rescued by policemen but there is no police report? In this book it happened to Ping Fu (pages 5 - 8).
Has any one ever heard of any college teacher to insert fingers to the female students' vaginas to make sure they are not pregnant? Any country, any time? In this book it happened to Ping Fu (page 254).
Has any one ever heard of any one was quartered by 4 horses in last 100 years, anywhere in the world? In this book Ping Fu saw it in China (page 44).
Has any one ever heard that Sylvester Stallone grabbed a girl's rear end in a restaurant? In this book it happened to Ping Fu (page 60).

Jan 23, 2014

Bend, Not Break --- by Ping Fu. Ping Fu is a six year old little girl from Shanghai, torn from the arms of her family and, at the height of Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution his is sent to a much different world, one completely alien to her, in Nanking. Ping Fu is the very successful CEO of Geomagic, an American software development company. The book is the biographical account of how one became the other. It is the classic “American Success Story”. It is the classic “Everything is Possible in America”. It is also the classic immigrant story. It is also a wonderful, well written story of a little girl of six who is taken from the people who she thinks are her parents. Living through the height of the excesses of the cultural revolution she is sent to her place of birth, to the woman, a stranger to her, who gave birth to Ping Fu. Her years in a grey, concrete, dormitory with neither privacy nor proper sanitation, without adequate food, left to care for the four year old sister with whom she was united for the first time weigh heavily on her as she is forced to denounce her parents and her previous “bourgeois” lifestyle.
This book isn’t a “How to Start You Own Dot.Com”. Its more than that. Its poignant. It is gripping. It is very accessible and very difficult to put down.

Jun 06, 2013

"We underestimate the value of stepping back because we are trained to perceive a willingness to make concessions as a weakness, or looking for alternatives as being inconsistent" - Can a realization be challenged to be lie? Yes, it can be. Because we live in an era of INFORMATION (INFORMATION CORRUPTION and INFORMATION POLLUTION). A few can recognize what exactly knowledge is. Too few can realize a piece of WISDOM. Ping Fu, like many talented people of her time, is in business of information technology; which is quite different from typical dot com. Even while the produces from her company’s product will flood our lives, none of us will be able to understand we are enjoying comfort, perhaps, of twenty second century. Her product is enough to replace entirely manual labor required for manufacturing, mass production and customization and that too at a rate cheaper than that of all Chinese manufacturing units with starving, fatigued labor force can produce. In short, her business can put China out of business someday. Obviously China will tend to denounce, decry and dissent the book. That is why they are crying fowl in collaboration with some hegemonic media groups. While reading the pages of those papers, remember that the regime, with inheritance of wiping out history and belief in wiping out lives that appears to be perceived threats to their existence, in wink of an eye can wipe out pages from a journal and/or book is to prove themselves right. Fu’s book is neither about entrepreneurship nor about horrors of Cultural Revolution. It is about life. As Ping Fu written, "Like a mountain range, I realized, life offers surprising views at every turn. Although the best views can be found on the peaks, it is valleys that offer the most opportunities for growth and development. In valleys we farm, build roads, and formulate our visions for reaching ever higher. In valleys, we develop resilience and cultivate hope.” She depicted bad governance menacing lives of good people in China while bad people rigging good governance in the United States. How “red blooded” braggarts harassed and humiliated erstwhile middle class and how some snooty Americans look down upon others, are both narrated with immense care so that it do not hurt anybody’s feeling or self-esteem or patriotism. No book, since biography of Marie Courie, could moved me so much towards faith in life and positivity of living. This book teaches more than survival. “Bend, Not Break, A life in Two Worlds” inspires to live our own lives. The author never idolized herself, nor bragged. She has narrated an intimate piece of her experiences through journey of a life more than a half a century, halved into two worlds. The end product is a marvelous piece of literary work. Above all, it is a book to live with. End note: “It is tunnels that we start our journey; in pockets that our imaginations blossoms towards the opening; and in voids that we must face our naked agonizing vulnerability.”


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at IndyPL

To Top