Interview session with Overcoming Business Journeys author Phan Minh Thong.
In Overcoming Business Journeys, successful businessman Phan Minh Thong tells twenty-six stories of business and life in his native Vietnam and other parts of the world. These stories came to him while dreaming and stuck in his head ever since. He felt compelled to put them to paper, expanding on notes he took during his extensive business travels.
In his stories, he covers a variety of topics: the Covid-19 pandemic, difficulties people face when trying to succeed in international business as well as simple tableaus of the daily lives of Vietnamese women.
We talked to writer Phan Minh Thong about his writing process and which lessons he hopes readers take away from his stories.
What do you want readers to know about your life that corresponds to your book?
I write about successes and failures from my business perspective so that my peers and readers can understand cultural differences in the world of business. In Vietnam, entrepreneurs rarely share these experiences. In the West, however, people from small to large companies share their stories. Sharing my ‘real-life’ knowledge as a businessman can inspire individuals involved in business development and start-ups. Readers can start a business if they like their industry or are inspired by my experience.
I wrote Overcoming Business Journeys in two phases: five short stories from 2007 to 2017 and the rest from 2017 to 2021. During trips to meet clients around the world, I go to hotels and jot down cultural differences. When I have time, I sit down and continue my stories. Just like in business, there are various challenges in writing. Being the CEO of my company is a tall order, as I have to manage six production plants. But for me, writing is a hobby as well as a way to alleviate stress. Whenever I have free time, I always write. During this process, I transform real-life situations into short stories with a variety of characters and personalities. As a result, readers can understand cultures, business practices, successes, and failures in a meaningful way.
What led to your decision to start writing a book?
I have a journalist friend that helped me with my writing process. As the CEO of my company, I attend many coffee or pepper exhibitions abroad, as well as meet customers and take part in conferences. Therefore, I keep in touch with clients from around the world. These are experiences I share with my employees every time I return to my headquarters. I also shared these stories with my journalist friend. She liked them enough to publish my stories. After she published the articles, readers were fascinated by my cultural knowledge as well as my business acumen. Their favourite thing about reading the articles was being inspired to build a start-up. Hence, my friends encouraged me to keep on writing, and I continued. I managed to write about thirty stories and, finally, my friend told me that the book was publishable. For that reason, I published my first book.
I see very few Vietnamese entrepreneurs who share their business successes and failures. It is unusual for a Vietnamese author like me to publish such a book. Also, books about the Vietnamese lifestyle are very rare. I get asked about how Vietnam is trending worldwide business-wise but has hardly any books written about it. I also think it is unique that a Vietnamese author like me could bring my culture to the world. This book makes you see Vietnamese people differently and how Vietnamese business activities are operating in the world.
What is the title’s significance?
The title of this book Overcoming Business Journeys sums it all up: overcoming the ups and downs, the cultural difficulties, and the struggling business activities. These motivations can help me overcome new obstacles in my business journey.
Have you published any other books? Any books you are working on now?
Before launching this book, I published another in 2017 called Unlimited Creativity in Business. In that book, I wrote more about the creative side of doing business internationally. I am working on my next book as I gain new business and life experiences.
Thank you for the interview.
You are also a successful entrepreneur and have a success story to tell? Try writing a non-fiction book! Five reasons why you should write your own non-fiction book are revealed in this article.
About the book
Title: Overcoming Business Journeys
Author: Phan Minh Thong
Content: Overcoming Business Journeys comprises twenty-six short stories about business and life in Vietnam and other parts of the world. Each story has unique characters passionate about starting a business and describing their different living circumstances.
About the author
Phan Minh Thong is the founder and CEO of Phuc Sinh Corporation; the number one company in Vietnam in pepper importing-exporting and one of the top five largest companies in the country for exporting coffee. As of 2016, Phuc Sinh’s export sales reached US$300 million.
He has been leading Phuc Sinh Corporation since 2001 and has many achievements to his name: The title of prestigious Exporter of the Ministry of Industry and Trade; Certified in the ranking of the 500 largest private enterprises in Vietnam; Certificate of Merit from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, being just a few. In 2016, he was honoured by being named ‘Typical Businessman in Vietnam.’