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Publisher's Summary

Stand-up comic, actor and fan favorite from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley 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 stand-up 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's Rap City 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 to 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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

14 of 14 people found this review 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • 03-15-18

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. 

18 of 21 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An amazing and beautiful piece

This is probably one of the best audio books I have eget had the pleasure to hear. Jimmy is first off a great author, but his skills as a world class actor and commedian really shine through. It might look like a comedy on the outside, it really isn't. It's a heartfelt story about the life of an immigrant, struggling to come to terms with who and what he is. I greatly recommend this book!

2 of 2 people found this review 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!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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An unexpected journey.

Funny, unconventional and inspirational. This book is a unique look at the story and journey of one individual through life in an attempt to follow his dream to become a comedian and actor in America. Jimmy bares his story in a transparent honesty that introduces you to him, the various individuals he meets on his journey and ultimately his struggles in a way that leaves you laughing out loud, feeling inspired to follow your passion no matter the risks involved, and understanding the ultimate struggle of an immigrant trying to find their place in a new culture. You'll come to love Jimmy, his family, his friends and in the end will come to know a person who you only knew as Jian Yang from silicon valley.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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It was an entertaining story.

It was easy enough to listen to without having to pay too much attention. .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JSK
  • Charlotte
  • 03-25-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful