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The end of every journey is the beginning of the next adventure. As my tired eyes rest from reading the chapters in this book and my exhilarated soul reflects, I [Contributor Wellman] think back on the wonders I have encountered and think ahead about what to do next. As I basked in the pleasure of learning about guanxi, I started thinking about how some of the tools of my trade – social network analysis – might help me and others to delve deeper into its mysteries.
Yet there is a danger sign along the road, a bit old fashioned but still worth pondering: The Economist (2000, p. 7) warns that outsiders may find guanxi an unfathomable “mystical concept.” With the ironic tone of a jaded old China hand, the magazine asserts: “If you don't have the patience to learn about guanxi old boy, you might as well pack your bags and go home.” Thrilled by what I've learned about guanxi, the last thing I want to do is to go home, warned off by a claim that newbies can neither understand guanxi nor provide useful advice about studying it. Reading this book has been a wonderful journey, and I do not want to pack my intellectual bags just yet.