Book Cover
How to American: An Immigrant's Guide to Disappointing Your Parents

★ ★ ★ ★

TL;DR: Love this story. Would never have the balls to do some of the stuff he did. Super happy for his success chasing his dreams


  • Another example of how success doesn’t happen overnight. Very few people would be willing to put in the work Jimmy did. Beast.
  • Very wholesome. Loved the accounting of relationship with family, especially parents.
  • Still a lot of areas Asian Americans have yet to break into.


From being a child Ping-Pong star in Hong Kong, to coming to America and becoming a stand-up comedian, achieving his dream of being a strip club DJ only to discover how sad and depressing that is, to becoming a successful TV and movie actor, Jimmy has really experienced America like few have [...] He said that this really is the land of opportunity, but most Americans just don't see it because they're simply too used to it. They don't appreciate it and they don't take advantage of it as much as people who move here from other countries do. (VIII)

In my Chinese family, my dad always tells me: "Pursuing your dreams is for losers. Doing what you love is how you become homeless." The most important values in Chinese culture are family and obedience. (10)

I figured it was better to disappoint myself for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. (10)

The study-abroad trip was such an amazing experience; it raised the bar for my standard of living. It made me not ever want to go back to my inadequate life back home. I felt a purposeful depression. I wasn't sad; I was unsatisfied. I wanted more out of life. I needed to step my life up. (80)

I was pairing R&B songs with strippers like a sommelier at Spago suggesting which red goes best with the beef Bolognese. (120)

My heart was about to eject out of my asshole. (172)

It's exciting to chase after a new goal, but it's meaningless if you can't sit down and enjoy the moment. (203)