Bend, Not Break by Ping Fu
A Life in Two Worlds

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

Her life story is moving and inspiring. Like the people who gave her a helping hand, she is generous to share it with us.
-WSJ online


“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.


About Ping Fu

See more books from this Author
PING FU is the founder and CEO of Geomagic, a 3D software company. She earned an M.S. in computer science at the University of Illinois and worked at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where she supervised Marc Andreessen's work on the Mosaic browser (which became Netscape). She is a member of President Obama's National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Published December 31, 2012 by Portfolio. 298 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Computers & Technology, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Feb 10 2013
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Bend, Not Break
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

WSJ online

Reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick on Jan 08 2013

Her life story is moving and inspiring. Like the people who gave her a helping hand, she is generous to share it with us.

Read Full Review of Bend, Not Break: A Life in Tw... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Diane Brandley on Dec 31 2012 is hard to imagine anyone reading this book who would not be inspired by Ping Fu...

Read Full Review of Bend, Not Break: A Life in Tw... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books


Above average
Reviewed by Anthony Wing Kosner on Jan 24 2013

Ping Fu is uniquely suited to be an innovator, able to navigate between Chinese and American cultures, between promise and risk, between two dimensions and three.

Read Full Review of Bend, Not Break: A Life in Tw... | See more reviews from Forbes

Reader Rating for Bend, Not Break

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1058 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review