Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping

September 2018 9781849049849 232pp


Xi Jinping wants to become the world’s most powerful leader. To succeed, he must balance Mao’s Little Red Book with the Analects of Confucius, and more.

For Xi, the task ahead of China is to preserve the guiding ideology of Marxism, while challenging mistaken credos like neoliberalism, constitutional democracy, and ‘universal values’. China must have total faith in its own brand of socialism, blended meaningfully with Chinese tradition. And this system must revolve around one man—around Xi and ‘Xi-ism’.
François Bougon’s compelling biography exposes the historical, philosophical, political and personal narratives that Xi has skilfully woven together to create a superpower in his own image. Is Xi’s China a land of ‘new market totalitarianism’? Will this be the price of the Chinese dream?


‘Compact and accessible.’ — The Times

‘One of the best features of Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping, an information-packed, briskly written and engaging work by François Bougon, is the way it makes sense of contradictions like these.’ — Times Literary Supplement

‘[A] livel[y] and … accessible biograph[y] of the Chinese leader.’ — New Statesman, ‘Books of the Year 2022’

‘A riveting biography, Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping delves deep into the mindset of the Chinese President.’ — Business Standard

‘ An engaging analysis of Xi’s thinking based on the Chinese leader’s own words . . . it has much to offer as a guide to contemporary Chinese political thought.’ — Survival

‘An engrossing and vitally significant book.’ — Sunday Guardian Live

‘A rare journalistic attempt . . . refreshing.’ — Morning Star

‘French journalist Bougon’s compelling account delves deep into the mentality of the Chinese president . . . offer[ing] important insights for anyone interested in understanding the mindset of the current Chinese leader and the implications for China’s prospects. Timely, accessible, and concise.’ — Choice

‘A succinct account of the Xi Jinping phenomenon by an eyewitness to the key moments of his rise—but with a healthy dose of scepticism. Bougon sheds highly readable, and often humorous, light on China’s seemingly omnipotent leader, and on how he is shaping our world.’ — Kerry Brown, author of The World According to Xi

‘Expertly dissects how the son of an ousted party official has exploited the myth and zeal of China’s past to create a vision of its future that balances tradition and transformation. Bougon offers critical insights for anyone seeking to understand China’s ascendancy and its implications for the world order.’ — Chris Lu, former White House cabinet secretary, Obama Administration

‘An excellent account of Xi Jinping’s life and career, what drives him, and why he is different from his predecessors. Its range and depth are impressive.’ — Jonathan Fenby, author of The Penguin History of Modern China

‘Timely and compact, Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping probes China’s current posture through the thinking of its most assured leader since Mao. Unlike his counterparts in the West, Xi emerges as cultured, capable, politically adept and unashamedly authoritarian. The world, no less than China, should take note.’ — John Keay, author of China: A History


François Bougon is an economics correspondent at Le Monde. An Asia specialist, he was formerly Beijing correspondent for Agence France-Presse (2005–10), and assistant director of Le Monde’s international service until 2017.

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