Meet Dori Jones Yang
Dori Jones Yang has written a wide variety of books, including historical fiction, business, inspiration, oral histories, and children’s books. A former foreign correspondent in Asia, she aims to build bridges between cultures and generations.
Dori grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of a bookseller. She wrote her first story at age seven. In high school, she discovered the joys of foreign language and travel, starting with a summer with a family in France.
Hoping to make a living by writing, she took a summer internship with her hometown newspaper, The Vindicator, where she wrote feature stories and obituaries. At Princeton, she majored in history but spent most of her waking hours at the college newspaper, The Daily Princetonian.
Eager to explore the world, she taught English in Singapore for two years, where she plunged into the study of Chinese. She traveled all over Asia on a shoestring and returned home through Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, six months before the Shah fell. To deepen her understanding of Asia, she earned a master’s at Johns Hopkins in international studies, with a focus on China.
By stroke of luck, she began her career just as Washington and Beijing established diplomatic relations. BusinessWeek offered her dream job: foreign correspondent in Hong Kong. The youngest of the magazine’s foreign bureau chiefs, she covered the negotiations over Hong Kong’s future, the opening of China, and the Tiananmen Square crisis in Beijing. During eight years there, she met and married a Chinese man, Paul Yang, and they had a daughter, Emily. She tells the full story of those amazing years in her memoir, When the Red Gates Opened, publication date September 22, 2020.
Disheartened by the Tiananmen crackdown, she moved to Seattle in 1990, where she covered Northwest companies for Business Week and later worked for U.S. News & World Report, covering Silicon Valley.
Her first book, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, introduced a company that that aimed to do well while doing good. It reached several bestseller lists and is still selling well. Her historical novels, Daughter of Xanadu and Son of Venice, tell a story of cross-cultural romance: something she knows about personally! She has also written a book of oral histories, an inspirational book on wisdom, and two novels introducing middle-grade readers to children from China.
At Princeton, she studied writing with John McPhee. More recently, her mentors include novelist and nature writer Brenda Peterson and memoir coach Brooke Warner. In addition to Mandarin, Dori has studied French, Cantonese, Japanese, Spanish, and Malay. She also enjoys playing music, including piano, violin, cello, and the Chinese zither, called the guzheng. She has traveled widely throughout the world, including many parts of China, Mongolia, and the Silk Road.
Dori enjoys speaking to groups, classes, and book clubs about her many books. To inquire about scheduling a class visit or skype meeting, please see Contact page.