Decoding Etiquette in China, Handshakes to Meals

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It’s a heck of a story: how Eden Collinsworth, an American publishing executive, became the Dale Carnegie of China. It begins with her, after nearly three decades of traveling to the country, moving to Beijing in 2011 with the idea of writing a guide to Western etiquette for Chinese businessmen. And it ends, to her great surprise, with her book, “The Tao of Improving Your Likability: A Personal Guide to Effective Business Etiquette in Today’s Global World,” becoming a best-seller. The between — her year of researching Chinese culture, from centuries-old hutongs to a billionaire’s opulent resort — is the stuff of her latest book, “I Stand Corrected: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson.” And it is, at turns, entertaining, informative and insightful.

Recently Ms. Collinsworth talked about her time in China and what she learned of its culture. Following are edited excerpts.

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