Titles such as Crack the Talmud: 101 Jewish Business Rules, The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book, and Know All of the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud share the shelves with stories of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. There’s even a Talmud hotel in Taiwan inspired by “the Talmud’s concept of success” that features a copy of the book Talmud Business Success Bible in every room.
The Chinese perception of Jews as expert moneymakers does not have the religion-based antagonism that often accompanies the same stereotype elsewhere in the world, and probably had its start in the mid-19th century, when investors began flocking to China.
The admiration for Judaism stems from a history that goes beyond business.
About half of the dozen or so Westerners active in Mao Zedong’s China were Jewish, and that also led to increased interest in Jewish culture among Chinese intellectuals, says Xu Xin, professor of Jewish studies at Nanjing University.
Non-Chinese experts on Judaism are quick to point out that the Talmud is not a business manual.
The notion of the Talmud as a book full of business secrets for others to search for is not entirely benign. Two of the books feature the quote
“No one can defeat the Jews, unless they’ve read our holy book the Talmud” on their cover, spuriously attributed to financier George Soros.