Ma Yun in Cloth Shoes
By: wang Lifen and Li Xiang
Publisher: Beijing Joint Publishing Co
Year published: 2014
Price: 42 yuan ($6.80)
Books about Ma and Alibaba are so plentiful that they almost comprise a category on their own, Mao says. Beijing Motie Book has published six titles on the subject. My Living Philosophy: 12 Life Wisdom Classes from Ma Yun to Young People sold more than 100,000 copies soon after its release last year.
Zhu's publishing house has published five books about Ma, including 2006's Who Knows Ma Yun and 2009's Ma Yun's Ten Years. All of them have sold more than 50,000 copies each.
Beijing MediaTime Books' vice-president Lang Shiming says he has lost count of the number of books about Ma because new ones come out every year.
Undisclosed Speeches from Ma Yun, a collection of Ma's speeches to his employees, was published by Red Flag Publishing House in 2010. It was commissioned by the Alibaba Group and sold more than 500,000 copies.
But most books about Ma and Alibaba were largely compiled from hearsay rather than from interviews with Ma or information he or his company confirmed, Lang says.
Zhu and Mao are quick to point out their books are based on interviews.
Mao believes the biggest selling points of Ma Yun in Cloth Shoes are that it's the second book Ma and Alibaba have approved, and that it's a comprehensive story of the business giant and an in-depth analysis of his entrepreneurial development.
Wang says in the author's notes that the book tries to portray Ma in a more objective way because most books about him are so exaggerated that they make him seem unreal.
And most readers would agree that Ma's story doesn't require embellishment to make his life the stuff of legend.