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Journey Of A Thousand Miles

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  504 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
'Journey of a Thousand Miles' tells the remarkable story of a boy who sacrificed almost everything: family, financial security, childhood, and his reputation in China's insular classical music world, to fulfil his promise as a classical pianist.
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Aurum Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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May 06, 2015 Javier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un paseo en primera persona por la vida de este fenómeno del piano. Con no pocas dificultades y exigencias extremas made in China. Un gran referente para mi, pero no, yo no voy a ensayar 7-9 horas al día. 3 están bien. Tengo vida :-D
Jan 25, 2015 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly captivating and engrossing. Who would ever think that a memoir would be such? And yet, Lang Lang's utter dedication, his father's unyielding ambition, his mother's sacrificial love, and even glimpses of China, proved impossible for me to put down.
Sep 05, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pianists
Recommended to Catherine by: Kelly
Great book! A must read for all pianists, and those who love autobiographies.
Alias Reader
Feb 15, 2017 Alias Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
audio book
Feb 11, 2014 Althea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On New Year’s Eve we went to the cinema to see the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year Concert beamed live from Berlin. I found this an incredible experience. It was the first classical concert I’ve ever ‘attended’. Sir Simon Rattle is the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, and he is amazing. But the highlight for me was a young, charismatic Chinese guy called Lang Lang. He was phenomenal. I was mesmerised by his performance – totally blown away by what he could do with/on a piano.
So I
Nov 13, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Out of my normal book zone - but it was great! Lang lang - a young man with immense musical talent - according to the accolades.

This is a story of his growing up - one of the Chinese generation where only one child was allowed each family, and therefore that child was doted on by all, and the competition to have that one succeed was immense.

Throughout his story, he gave the reader a glimpse of how it was to live in a country with great ranges of wealth and relative freedoms, eventually finding t
Lin Jia Chen
Jun 21, 2013 Lin Jia Chen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found out about this book through my piano teacher. She recommend to me. It's so powerful book and can influence the readers greatly. Every word in the book strikes my heart. Reading his autobiography motivates me of how I should be working harder and practicing more. The amount of time he practices everyday makes me feel like I'm just a trash laying on the streets compare to him. He played those sonatinas and sonatas when he was only 3 or 5, while I'm still learning sonatas myself at the age ...more
Jan 22, 2009 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Full Review on my blog here: )
This book captivated me from the first chapter -- the story of Lang's family and the pressure on this young pianist saddened me. His dad's whole life was spent in making sure his son practiced enough to be "Number One" in the world. I started to understand Chinese culture (and the Beijing Olympics) better by reading this. In their culture, it isn't enough to be good; you have to be better than everyone else or it doesn't mea
Apr 09, 2009 Sue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was just about right for a day in bed with a sore throat. A very easy read between the cough drops, not too challenging The ghost writer feels too present for me. I doubt that Lang Lang has yet the perspective to analyze what his driven father did. Yet the kid totally fulfilled his father's dream! The parents of this pianist are equaled in the US occasionally by some parents who drive their kids to be super athletes (e.g. tennis parents). I enjoyed the book most for its insights into C ...more
Tawni Williams
Oct 08, 2015 Tawni Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to hear Lang Lang preform with the Utah Symphony in October of 2015. I was so impressed with his performance I looked him up to learn more about him. I was pleasantly surprised to find this book in the process! It was a fascinating story of an incredibly talented boy, who be came incredible though unbelievable amounts of practice and sacrifice. I appreciated the insights into Chinese culture, and what he thought of American culture as he was studying here. He really is an u ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That was awesome and I'm OK being mediocre :-)
Oct 21, 2016 Coco rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nothing special and very Chinese.
Apr 10, 2015 Arti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is this what music is all about? If this book was written by a biographer, using the third person and not the first person 'I', then it could be easier to accept. What I hear (audiobook) is an autobiography telling readers "How I have been No. 1 since 5 years-old" The Journey of a Thousand Miles began with a superego fed by a father whose expectation was for his son to be No. 1 in the world. I'm afraid what nurtured Lang Lang and motivated him to succeed had been the misguided cultural values (D ...more
Natalie Wickham
A fellow piano teacher recommended this autobiography of world famous pianist, Lang Lang, at a music teachers association meeting. It was a quick read, but wow was it fascinating! I had absolutely no idea the kind of dedication and work lies behind some of the young prodigies that emerge on the world scene. According to Lang Lang, in China it is everything to be Number One. Propelled by his father’s obsessive drive and his mother’s enduring love, that’s the pianist that Lang Lang was destined to ...more
4 Webb T
Apr 05, 2016 4 Webb T rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the memoir Journey of a Thousand Miles, the author Lang Lang recounts his success due to persistence and perseverance. Lang’s aptitude for playing the piano became evident in his early years. However, this aptitude for playing turned into an “obsession” due to his father’s “pressuring” to be the “best in the world” (Lang 19, 20). His father’s pressure was a result of the Cultural Revolution in China at the time; during this time, all artisans and other skilled workers were forced to work endl ...more
Robin Rowles
LANG LANG was born in 1982 in Shenyang, China. He has played with the leading orchestras in all the major concert halls throughout the world. In this book you will learn about Lang Lang's heart-wrenching journey from his early childhood as a prodigy in an industrial city in northern China to his difficult years in Beijing to his success today.
Journey to a Thousand Miles documents the extraordinary, dramatic story of a family who sacrificed almost everything - his parents' marriage, financial sec
Sep 01, 2013 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
September selection for the Palladium book club. Autobiography of Lang Lang, classical pianist. He is from China and the book emphasizes his early life in China, his domineering father who is determined that he will be number 1 piano player in the country - and in China, that is beating out a lot of people.
Gives some insight into fairly modern China, and living with the parents of talented children. There are probably other talented children in many areas, but without someone to push them to the
Hannah Hebert
Oct 10, 2013 Hannah Hebert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Lang Lang Journey of a Thousand Miles by Lang Lang and David Ritz, classical pianist Lang Lang describes his journey to stardom in a fascinating way. He writes about how the music helped him escape, how his love for piano began, and where it all started.

Growing up in Shenyang, Lang Lang’s piano inspirations at a young age were Tom and Jerry. He saw “The Music Kingdom” but was in love with Tom and Jerry’s “Cat Concerto”. “But even more than “The Music Kingdom” an episode of the cartoon Tom a
Sep 03, 2010 Jonna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me really think about balance. I understand that musicians, professional athletes, etc. must devote a lot of time to become as excellent as they are, but this book made me think that at some point it becomes too much. Too much of a person's self is devoted to one thing. Lang Lang sacrificed so much time with his mom, it made me sad for him and his mom. I wonder if as he gets older, looking back, will he still think it was worth it--not just being away from his mother, but giving u ...more
Jan 27, 2011 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I am into a book, I finish it very quickly. This book was one of those books where I can hear the writer talking to me as if he were telling me the story face to face. When he was crying in the story or anxious, I feel myself crying for him or I have to keep reading to see if he wins first place! What stuck out to me in this autobiography was that it was not only about Lang Lang and how he became a famous pianist, but how much his parents had to sacrifice to get him to the stage. His father ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Lang Lang is a young Chinese concert pianist, who was something of a child prodigy. This short biography chronicles his childhood and education up through the establishment of his international performance career. He is very honest about both the joy and pain of being a child prodigy, and often shows a surprising amount of insight into his life and the forces that shaped it. I was particularly fascinated by the way in which Lang's father gave his son unconditional and tireless support while at t ...more
Seth Jenson
Jun 19, 2011 Seth Jenson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting life! Such sacrifice and dedication. Disturbing yet inspiring. I love how he listened to audiobooks on how to be a Kung Fu master and then applied it to his craft. His family was so dysfunctional but yet his parents were so dedicated and supportive. Sweet to read about how Lang Lang slept in his his dad’s arms "with his arms around his shoulders" on nights before competitions. He would never have reached the level of success that he has without the loving relationships he had ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this in the car. A real eye opener into Chinese culture. He has had a fascinating life so far. He won his first competition at age 5. His father was/is a tyrant and obssessed with Lang Lang's career. PRACTISE was his mantra. At 10 he was fired by his teacher and his father wanted him to take a bottle of pills (commit suicide) because of the shame he had brought on his family. He was 10 YEARS OLD! The one thing it left me wondering was what became of his mother? The last time he men ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Pamela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: musicians, piano players, classical music interests
Shelves: 2010-challenge
I love the piano. I played for many many years and the only reason I am not now is that there is no piano in the house....and I have always loved Lang Lang. To read his biography gave me an insight to him that I would have not have known. This was a very easy read...not too challenging but certainly a great start to his life. I am intrigued by the enormous sacrifice he and his family experienced to catapult his career. Having a little Chinese background through reading other books on China's his ...more
Liz Dayton
May 08, 2013 Liz Dayton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution in China, Lang Lang's parents sacrificed everything to advance the piano career of their child prodigy. What that sacrifice entailed was amazing. The father's extremely authoritarian ways made me uncomfortable. He obviously hadn't read any child development books, yet he produced a world-class and world ranked pianist--but at what cost?

Once Lang Lang and his father come to America to study, compete, and perform, the contrast in the cultural approaches
Aug 14, 2014 Kunru rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aisg-book-club
It is a autobiography about Lang Lang's childhood and his earlier carrier, he documents the remarkable story of his family who sacrificed so many things to help Lang Lang become a famous artist. They sacrificed Lang Lang's childhood, his parents' marriage, and the family reputation in China's classical music world. And the book shows us the intense relationship between Lang Lang and his father who was willing to go to any length to make his son a star. Lang Lang's story is especially familiar fo ...more
Aug 04, 2009 Min rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I can barely comprehend how he survived all the unimaginable maddening life and yet come out as a winner, both in his profession and life, at such yong age.

His rich imagination is definitly the key to lessen the pain and turn hours and hours of boring practice into somthing fun. "If I have to do it, I might make it fun", that's his attitude. And it worked wonder.

I don't quite agree with his dad's mental brutality. And yet without such tremendous pressure, Lang Lang may never fulfill his ture p
Apr 12, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
An interesting autobiography- and amazing that a 26-year-old already has one! Lang Lang describes growing up in China and the intense pressure he faced to be Number One in playing the piano. He has an intense relationship with his father whom he loves but also hates and some of the situations he describes between the two of them are quite heart-wrenching. It gives a peek into the life of a concert pianist. I am looking forward to seeing him in concert this April and witnessing his musical genius ...more
Emily Brother
Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story is an autobiography written by the concert pianist, philanthropist, and classical-music icon of the modern age, Lang Lang. A testament to hard-work and success despite hardship, I particularly enjoyed this book because I was able to connect to its musical context. Lang Lang's story continues to be a source of inspiration for me in my own pianistic endeavors while constantly informing my mentality on practicing, performing, and competing as it pertains to pur ...more
Pam M
Jul 01, 2015 Pam M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True. This is one of several books I read on the Cultural Revolution in China and what it did. I wanted to understand a little of China before going in 2015.

You must read books such as this on China - particularly since they are becoming so powerful again. They have been horrible to their own people. The people have, for generations. allowed government to do what 'they thought best'. Even today, many in China say that Mao only thought of their (commoner) own good.
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Journey of a Thousand Miles

Number One was a phrase my father -- and, for that matter, my mother --repeated time and time again. It was a phrase spoken by my parents friends and by their friends children. Whenever adults discussed the great Chinese painters and sculptors from the ancient dynasties, there was always a single artist named as Number One. There was the Number One leader of a manufactu

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