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How to American  By  cover art

How to American

By: Jimmy O. Yang,Mike Judge - foreword
Narrated by: Jimmy O. Yang,Mike Judge
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Publisher's Summary

Standup comic, actor and fan favorite from HBO's Silicon Valley and the film Crazy Rich Asians shares his memoir of growing up as a Chinese immigrant in California and making it in Hollywood.

"I turned down a job in finance to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. My dad thought I was crazy. But I figured it was better to disappoint my parents for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. I had to disappoint them in order to pursue what I loved. That was the only way to have my Chinese turnip cake and eat an American apple pie too." 

Jimmy O. Yang is a standup comedian, film and TV actor and fan favorite as the character Jian Yang from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley. In How to American, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents: Yang arrived in Los Angeles from Hong Kong at age 13, learned English by watching BET RapCity for three hours a day, and worked as a strip club DJ while pursuing his comedy career. He chronicles a near deportation episode during a college trip Tijuana to finally becoming a proud US citizen 10 years later. 

Featuring those and many other hilarious stories, while sharing some hard-earned lessons, How to American mocks stereotypes while offering tongue in cheek advice on pursuing the American dreams of fame, fortune, and strippers. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 Jimmy O. Yang, Mike Judge (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Hilarious! Reading this book is like sitting at lunch with your funniest friend whose stories make you laugh until milk comes shooting out your nose. Jimmy O. Yang will teach you how to American like a pro!" (Kevin Kwan, international best-selling author of Crazy Rich Asians)

"Hilarious, heartfelt, and inspiring, How to American captures the Asian-American experience. A must-read for everyone." (Ken Jeong, comedian; actor, The Hangover)

"It's difficult to imagine how excruciatingly uncomfortable it must be for many immigrants to our unforgiving and provocative culture. Absent the nuances of language and behavior we take for granted, Jimmy O. Yang hilariously chronicles his very personal experience from mute, frightened youth to cultural virtuoso and successful performer." (Dr. Drew Pinsky, media personality, author, board-certified physician)

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What listeners say about How to American

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Had to pull over I was laughing so hard

Maybe the best Audible book I have ever listened to. It’s always great having the author of an autobiography read their own work and this narration is pure perfection. I laughed from beginning to end and learned a ton while doing so. Download this ASAP and enjoy

27 people found this helpful

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Hilarious But Also Full Of Interesting Stories

4.5 out of 5 stars

I didn't realize just how much I was going to enjoy this book until I was in tears from laughing on my way into work.  I listen to audiobooks in my car and this was absolutely hilarious.  So funny (especially the chapter about working with T.J. Miller) that I think people thought I was crazy in my car. 

Jimmy O. Yang - better known as Jian Yang on the hit tv-show Silicon Valley came to America as a young child.  He spent his early childhood learning how to speak English watching BET.  And became a stand-up, not for not-so-normal reasons. How To American tells these stories and many others about the life of Jimmy O. Yang so far.  

I knew Jian Yang -- aka Jimmy from Silicon Valley.  When I saw that he wrote a book I was on board. I did not know he was a standup comedian (I love all things standup related). I also didn't know pretty much anything about him before reading this.  I'm really glad I took the 6 hours to read this one.  Jimmy is a hilarious and thoughtful writer - who would make me laugh one second talking about how his dad would insult him and in the next moment would make me think deeply about the people around me. 

That's the thing about this book and Jimmy in general - they are full of surprises.  Silicon Valley fans will be happy that there are about 3 chapters around the show along with one really funny one about his interaction with T.J. Miller - "I eat the fish". But How To American has so much more in it.  I loved the stories about his early "rap" career along with the stories related to being a strip club DJ. 

How To American was so much more than I expected and I'm thrilled.  Jimmy is a fascinating guy and I can't wait to see where his career takes him. 

21 people found this helpful

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The mindset of Jimmy O. Yang is truly refreshing

Would you listen to How to American again? Why?

i would absolutely listen to this book again. i was thoroughly entertained and mesmerized by Jimmy's positive mindset. His thirst for learning is refreshing and much-needed today.

What other book might you compare How to American to and why?

I would compare this to the amazing The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish as it tells the funny stories of how a positive attitude and desire to see the good in others can get you through some hard times.

14 people found this helpful

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hilarious!

Funny and surprisingly good! But it kept referring to a PDF for pictures. I wish we could see the PDF.

11 people found this helpful

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Experience as a Chinese International Student at an American High School

I literally clung to every single word of the book. Jimmy’s experience as a Chinese America is so relatable. His humorous stories of life in Hong Kong and early experience in the states provoked nostalgia and empathy. Thank you Jimmy O. Yang for amplifying the voice of Chinese American community!

9 people found this helpful

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Not funny, not fun

What disappointed you about How to American?

Comparisons were made to other great comedian autobiographies, notably Tina Fey. Jimmy is no Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, or Aziz Ansari as an author. I'm glad he found his calling in stand up comedy, but his journey was more annoying than inspirational. The story of a stoner who got lucky. Also his immature and purely sexual attitudes about women in the book may be amusing to an adolescent fan boy, but were insulting to an adult woman. There's little in this of the immigrant struggle after one difficult year of junior high and even less entertaining or amusing insight into that struggle.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Jimmy shouted, like he was doing a 6 hour stand up routine, through most of the narration. It was annoying.

8 people found this helpful

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Comedy sin -- it's NOT FUNNY

There is a reason the "sample" for this title consists mostly of Mike Judge's forward for the book. That's because the book itself is pretty disappointing. Jimmy narrates this and shouldn't have, because he reads almost every line in a state of fake exclamation, and it's annoying, not humorous. I am more than halfway through this tome and beyond the annoying narration, the book is a simple autobiography of Jimmy's trek to the U.S. from Hong Kong, which is neither unique nor insightful. The title might have you misbelieve this book is a comedy rant about assimilation. But it's just Jimmy, screeching about being made to go to college by his parents, indulging in pot, and other unremarkable adventures. I never knew a comedian could lead such an average, unfunny life.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing

I almost cried twice listening to this book not only because my friend wrote it but because Jimmy has grown into a fine young man. This book is funny, inspirational and very heartfelt. I recommend this book to everyone especially if you find it hard to fit in.

4 people found this helpful

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Underdog Story

This was a great story and I appreciate Mr. O. Yang's determination and hard work but I was a little put- off and disappointed that the American dream is nothing more than strip clubs, partying, and bikini clad women. The underlying theme of the book is that the American dream means different things to different people but ultimately the opportunities to follow one's dreams is quintessentially American. An entertaining book.

3 people found this helpful

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Funny and necessary

Would you consider the audio edition of How to American to be better than the print version?

Yes. Sometimes authors aren't the best choice to read their own books, but comedians with good delivery and timing like Jimmy do a great job.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to American?

I liked the early years, the culture shock and his relationship with his family - his father in particular. I would have liked to hear more about how this time was for all of them - particularly his older brother.

What about Jimmy O. Yang’s performance did you like?

His voicing of his father - so relatable if you have Asian parents.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The struggles his mother had assimilating, and how that must have been hard on him and his family.

Any additional comments?

In todays climate in particular it is important to get the lived experiences of immigrants out there - we hear a lot of talk *about* immigrants, but we should also hear *from* immigrants. We have agency, and for Asian Americans in particular I think sometimes our desire to assimilate stops us from getting that out there.

3 people found this helpful