Moving the Mountain by Li Lu

Summary

  1. Li Lu rose to become deputy commander of the student protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He recounts his childhood and how he ended up in that position

Key Takeaways

  1. His biological parents were deemed “intellectuals” and ostracized. He spent much of his childhood like an orphan, jumping around from school to school and family to family. However, he was able to become a great student and went on to study politics at Nanjing. He later left though for Beijing to take part in the student demonstrations. He was able to rise up in the movement’s leadership because he was able to step out of the moment, be calm, and think.. He helped ensure the movement remained non-violent. This became the most powerful democratic movement in Chinese history, and it exposed the true nature of the Communist Party. They fought to be seen as dignified human beings and for the right to live a life that’s worth living.
  2. Moving the Mountain – power of long-term thinking, over generations. Little steps, actions, behaviors can have tremendous impacts over the long-term
  3. He does a great job describing what the mindset and culture was like in China after Mao and the Cultural Revolution. He sensed a strong sense in his generation of individual standing up against an autocratic system that sought to eliminate individuality
  4. Voice your true feelings. If you’re confident you can move yourself, you’ll also move others
  5. Most difficult thing is to develop the right way of thinking
  6. I came to realize that those old Marxist books were like the old man using his own theory to criticize others. No matter how absurd a theory, it seeks to explain and rationalize itself, and when a theory has a strong logical system, it has an exclusivity that can convincingly dismiss other theories. Marxism, I saw, had played a big joke on us. It refuted all other theories just to prove itself correct
  7. A person’s goal does not express itself in the result of his action; its significance lies in the great efforts he makes to achieve the goal

What I got out of it

  1. Some amazing context on what life was like in the aftermath of China’s Cultural Revolution and what the student protests look like from the inside