tv Charlie Rose WHUT June 7, 2013 3:00am-4:00am EDT
states as the other global major superpower and doesn't want to provoke us by going there. on the other hand there's a president worst slogan is chinese dream. there is growing nationalism in the country which the leadership is in part responsible for creating. there is a sense that as china's economy moves relatively quickly towards being the world's largest measured by gdp, that that means that china should not be pushed around. and most importantly should not be contained. >> we conclude this evening with author mackenzie bezos. her new book is called "traps" >> you believe you were hard wired to be a writer. >> i do. >> what does that mean? >> i think it's true of everybody. that there are things that we enjoy, preferences of a lot of time alone, was one of mine. i tend to look at things, i tend to be interested in complex problems more than simple ones. i like to work on long projects. i like to endlessly analyze conversations and think about words an tinker with
words, all of those things could be a hindrance in some professions but they lead me perfectly to writing novels. i think everybody is like that. i think you get lead through your passions and through your idiosyncracies too. >> you have to listen yourself. you really do. >> what dow enjoy. >> exactly. and any job you find the right job and it uses all of you. >> rose: u.s. china relationships on the eve of a big conference in california. and a conversation about novels with mackenzie bezos when we continue. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. it is an important time in the relationship between china and the united states. president obama and president xi jinping are meeting friday and saturday at sunnilands in california. it will be the first ever summit between the two leaders. the format of the lengthy and unscripted meeting has been called unprecedented. cybersecurity, trade issues, north korea and stability in the pacific will be high on the agenda.
but few are expecting to see so-called deliverables from the summit. rather it is an opportunity, most say, for the two leaders to develop a personal rapport-- rapport it may be the beginning of what president xi jping has called a new type of great power relationship. joining me from washington richard mcgregor of "the financial times", the author of "the party, the secret world of chinese of china's communist rulers" and james fall owes of the atlantic magazine, author of china airborne, the test of china's future. here in new york noah feldman of harvard law school author of cool war, the future of global competition. i'm pleased to have each of them on this program. richard mcgregor let me begin with you. tell me where you think the relationship between china and the united states is as they go to this meeting. >> well, a colleague of mine was kicking this around earlier. we weren't quite sure whether to describe this as kind of a diplomatic first date or couples counselling. in some ways it's kind of both. the u.s. and china
have-- china have a much broader relationship than people realize. multiple bilateral dialogues, multiple top-level meetings. but none of them go out much further than, you know, six months to a year. it is a great strategic relationship with great distrust underlying it. and i think this is a risky but necessary meeting, risky for both xi jinping and also mr. obama to try and get some sort of at least bedrock level of understanding into the bilateral dialogue. >> is it obvious that both parties, both countries, both leaders want to improve the relationship? >> well, yes, i think so. i mean china, certainly china still wants as they used to say, a stable international environment. china does not want conflict. china needs to continue to have its economy grow. it has to get on with the u.s. i think that's been the case, you know, for 10, 20 years now. and i think it will continue
to be the case for somewhat longer. but i think the one danger on the u.s. side is that certainly xi jinping has grabbed the reigns of power in china ostensibly faster than his predecessor xi jinping. let's not forget is he still part of a collective relationship, no magic wand in the communist party. he has to bring people along with him. he doesn't have the kind of room to move that even mr. obama with all his constraints in washington has. and i think we shouldn't forget that. >> rose: all right, know's-- you are smiling. >> i do because i agree with my colleague. it is impressive where we don't expect much to be different in the world 3 or 4 days from now after the meeting, i think it is important that they meet just for the fact of establishing communications. and because as richard was saying, we all know the problems president obama has trying to increase his leeway domestically, internationally. the problems that xi jinping faces are larger than that and include acute ones,
dealing with north korea, japan and the east china sea. i think the one thing that is closest to a critical issue between the u.s. and china now is the whole cyberquestion. where i think the chinese are beginning to realize that they run the risk of alienating the part of the american structure that's been most supportive of them over the past decade, essentially the tech establish am, the intellectual establishment. if you have google thinking that china is an actual enemy of intellectual freedom and property, that is a problem for china and the world. i think it's an important meeting even though nothing much is going to be different after it happens. >> rose: this idea of personal diplomacy, i mean jintao did not have a personal relationship with the president. -- is it about xi jinping, noah, that makes him be such a different chinese leader? that he believes in this kind of communication so
that there will not be a thousand notetakers, there will be a small number of people in the room and they don't have to be operating from a script. they can really engage each other? >> well, what we know now is he likes the optics of this. and i think that so far is the which xi looks different from his pred des-- predecessor. we don't know that will behave differently, and as richard says he is constrained in many, many ways but he wants to create the perception of the face-to-face meeting, of the contact, of the depth. and that is, i think, an important difference and we should be aware of that. it suggests a very sophisticated sense of how the world will be treating this as a consumer. you know, is he somebody who can be perceived in a fundamental way as a leader like other international leaders. >> rose: people on the show have said, this is for all of you, people on the show have said to me a chinese experts and scholars an even chinese from china have said i'm not sure china is really ready for or interested in something they call g2.
they're not prepared to say we want to join with you, the united states, you know, and play a pivotal role in shaping the world. jim? >> yes. and there's a very important linguistic aspect, i fwhas beijing about two weeks ago talking with a bunch of military leaders there. and carelessly used the same phrase, i think, that you may have used in the intro saying the chinese were looking for a new type of great power relationship. they said oh, no, no, no, our official translation is a new type of major power relationship. we don't consider ourselves a great power. and sometimes to a fault and sort of in excessive way but also accurately, i think the chinese realize they have a lot more problems than the united states does. and a lot more limits on their powers. they still have a poor population. they have, their international relations are more or less purely mercantile, their military reach is slight. so i think it was-- its he's easy to assume from the u.s. point of view there is this ceaseless juggernaut on the
chinese side. but the limit of the sort of the full range of either great or major powerhood are quite profound. they like to be thought of as g2 when it is convenient but not when there are burdens that go with it. >> rose: so your new book is called cool war, to the cole war. but cool war, the future of global competition. what do you think the chinese want in terms of how they're seen around the world, as being invested in issues beyond their tone economic prosperity? >> i think the chinese would like to have it both ways. i think that jim is of course completely right that china isn't yet in a position where it can assert that it is alongside the united states as the other major global superpower. and it doesn't want to provoke us by going there. on the other hand there's a president whose slogan is chinese dream. there's growing nationalism in the country which the leadership is in part responsible for creating. there is a sense that as china's economy moves relatively quickly towards being the world's largest measured by gdp, of course not by per capita but by gdp
that means china nud shot-- should not be pushed around or contained. i think increasingly where our policy in the region looks like containment within china, it will be a reasonable interest of any chinese leader to be able to say no, we're pushing back against containment. we're not going to accept being contained. >> rose: richard, tell me what you have read. i mean what you read into the statements by xi jinping in terms of how he sees china's place in the world. >> well, xi jinping ten years, ten years after you had jintao has taken over. china i think certainly as many people have said has a great deal of insecurity, internal tensions but i also think it is a much more powerful country than it was ten years ago. it has a much greater sense of its interests and how to project them. it's also building a military to back that up. and i think xi jinping really is, whether he nunc yates it personally or
individually, is captive of that larger story about china. what i think he's been very good at xi jinping is both in the, you know, the public diplomacy, you had jintao was largely a charisma free zone. xi jinping is not like that. he projects personally, he has a glamorous wife and the like. and i also think he has been smart domestically in getting the military on side very quickly. they might get their pound of flesh on that. so i think he's a more assertive leader, albeit i diplomatic of a more assertive nation. >> rose: the power is still a seven man standing committee? >> that's right, way. but it's not just there, it's in provincial leadership, the politte boro, various ministries and the like. power is both centralized and dispersed in china in a funny sort of way. >> rose: jim? >> i think it's worth emphasizing why from the outside world's point of view including america's we should probably root for xi jinping to become a
relatively influential leader within china. because to the extent that china, the chinese system is more powerful than any of its individual members, it becomes very difficult for the party to change in any significant way their economic liberallization that the u.s. and the world would like. political liberallization of various sorts so if mr. xi is able to use this, the combination of personal power, military roots, family lynniaj and whatever to have greater influence than you had jintao appeared to, that probably would be good even though paradoxically we think agree, there's a more a zufert chinese leader that probably is better from the western world's point of view. >> i mentioned deliverables in my introduction suggesting that they may not be. what could come out beyond this relationship between the two leaders. and what is the risk that could come out of this conference that could go wrong? >> well, i think for president obama, to make it clear domestically and also within china to leadership, that the cyberattack issue
is not a small matter. that it has the capacity in our technological era of really closing the gap between our military much faster than such gaps in the past have been able to includes. >> the question is what is the risk associated with that. >> that is exactly the chinese motivation. >> precisely. and that is what creates the stage for a potential direction of great power conflict. that's the reason i think we are in something very much like a cool war despite the deep cooperation between the countries and the very strong economic bonds. there is still the fact of arising power and a great power that does not want to share the stage. so i think, you know, the risk for both sides is that if you respond too aggressively, if president obama responds too aggressively that can fuel greater tension between the countries. i think the best deliverable for him is to find some way for the chinese to show that they take this seriously. >> but they gx ahead, anybody jump in. >> so i say in terms of deliverables, also cyber, one, an important thing
chinese could do i think they're not likely but it would be significant if it occurred would be to recognize this is an important issue. the standard chinese line has been what are you talking about, we're merely the victims and they point out accurately that the nsa and other u.s. institutions are very, very active on military penetration. the difference is china does seem now to be u neebling in having state sponsored commercial es meanage that seems to be the real problem. if there was some statement that they recognize that this was an issue that had to be dealt with like other potential weapons of mass destruction on the positive side, a deliverable would be, i think, cooperation in clean energy climate type works where there is very extensive u.s. chinese cooperation. and they could do something more in that field. i think that would be significant too. >> i think clean energy is one area. but i think also it's a bit less sexy that cyberwarfare. the chinese would like a very strong statement from mr. obama about the openness of the u.s. to chinese investment. we've got one of the biggest fields on the table now which is about pork, heaven
help us if that can't get through, then the two countries have got a real problem. >> rose: explain that. because the chinese have bought smithfield. >> they have put in an offer for smithfield pork in virginia which i think is the largest pork producer in the u.s. the big sensitive problem in u.s.-china investment has been the supply chain factor, which is why telcoes for example, and-- are so sensitive but in this case the supply chain is clean food going from the u.s. to china. and if that is goingonal securis now, voluntarily by the companies, and i think china wants to see, you know, a very clear statement that the u.s. will not discriminate against china on investment. >> rose: so it will be in the interest of the relationship that this deal does not run into the kind of roadblock it did when the on swrekt was an oil company. >> oh, yeah. i mean if this deal doesn't get through then i think it's we're in a really bad state. >> it would be goods for president obama to say that an make that clear. this is good for america, good for chinese people,
good for cooperation and really it's hard to think of a plausible objection. >> and frankly the white house has been timid on this. so it would be good to hear something. >> rose: are they making more and more investments in the united states, the chinese? >> absolutely. and there's a wave of money waiting to come if the opportunity is there. i think the u.s. is an excellent investment destination particularly in terms of energy. >> interestingly there is hesitation among both the chinese government officials and chinese corporate officials about possibly getting burned. it's not some of in a financial sense but in a pr and political backlash sense. i think that is another reason why the smithfield deal matters to sort of pave the way saying yes, the united states is open for this kind of business where it's beneficial all around. >> there's also the issue of state capitalism and you hear from even private businesses in china, the competition from companies and industries owned by the government. that according to the press reports i've read is changing. they're much more lax about that than they have been. and jim you're smiling so
i'm going read that. >> it's a lot like, yeah, as we've discussed before, the great thing about china is everything one says about it is true someplace. there are areas where state enterprises are being sort of cleaned up. but in some ways they're expanding. and i think there is a lot of controversy inside china now as between chinese entrepreneurs and these big state enterprises. so here the u.s. government and businesses share an interest with a lot of chinese entrepreneurs in wanting to get the state-owned businesses under control. >> rose: but is there any indication they're listening to that. and understand the frustration? >> well, if in theory we're about to have a big fight on that in china. and the big test will be-- has spoken out about reducing the state-- the we'll see if it happens. >> rose: there is also this, noah, the notion that many people in the trips that i have made to china, will you hear this frustration. the united states wants to contain us. >> uh-huh. >> rose: whether it's the military or other people, there is within the chinese power structure some people who hold that position.
>> uh-huh. >> rose: that's an issue. >> uh-huh. >> we assiduously deny that that is the case. but i think an objective observer would say that our strategy in asia is essentially a containment strategy. we have close bilateral security treaties with all of china's near neighbors. and although their economic ties to china are deepening and in some ways much deeper now than the united states. >> rose: and the fear of china now is growing. >> nevertheless, at the same time their security relationship is largely with us. and short of japan, for example, substantially enhancing its own military capacities which is a direction we may see it going and there have been some signals from washington that we would welcome that sort of thing, we're going to continue to be a crucial player in the region in terms of the provision of security. and that's pretty close to a textbook definition of containment. what's striking is that it is happening at exactly the same time simultaneously with these deepening economic ties and growing economic relationships. what is really deep and i think still unanswered question is can you have in historical terms a situation where a country is
surrounded by very close economic cooperators as china is. and where those countries are applied with a somewhat far away power in a security relationship that surrounds more or less or contains that power. and that's a very tough one. >> rose: rich, we have recognized for a while the chinese are investing around the world. they now are the largest importer of oil from iraq, for example. and the chinese have always said they can't be more-- they've used their oil needs as one explanation as to why they didn't support more sanctions against iran. they have enormous investments in terms, in africa looking to secure a steady supply of natural resources. what's-- how does the u.s. see all of that? >> well, i mean, they look in a couple of different ways. certainly investment in africa should be welcomed and we can have a debate about the terms of that investment and whether china is going in there deliberately to undermine
global institutions like the world bank and also local institutions with-- but certainly investment in africa is not only terrific but quite rational because africa is growing so robustly at the moment. iran and iraq are different and av canadian, frankly, where china is getting-- and afghanistan where china is getting the large amount of minute lal rights, opportunistic of mos by china which dovetail luckily for them with their philosophy of noninterference. i think they will go in and grab what they can. and i don't think it really matters too much what the u.s. thinks about that. >> rose: nationalism, people like li quan yu argued that it is inevitable as china gets more and more economic power it's going to become more aggressive. do you accept that? >> are you addressing the question to me? >> yes. >> i think if we look at the asia-pacific in particular
and what noah was talking about before, you know, it is quite-- china is not-- is a rise pog we are t is quite natural for china to want to be the dominant power in asia that is how big powers behave. the irony of what noah said we could call containment or pacs americana the second world war is that this containment has been absolutely fabulously beneficial for china because north asia is still ridden with conflicts that has in fact been the great economic success story, the past half century and a big reason for that besides the industry of its people and the cleverness of its governments has been its u.s. security umbrella. so how china tries to unwind that or to share in that power or to push the u.s. out, i think, is very, very difficult thing to manage. i mean and i think in that respect the two countries are on kind of a collision course long term unless the dialogue like the one we're
going to see in california tomorrow can get some kind of strategic bed rom-- bedrock into the relationship. >> that collision course also runs both ways in terms of nationalism. the slogan china peaceful rise was a great slogan while it lasted but you can't get elected in the united states if your slogan is america's peaceful decline it is not so easy for a country to accept it may not only be the sole global superpower. and that means that we are also constrained. our politicians will also be constrained by a willingness f they if they were willing to allow some greater space for china t will be hard to sell that to the u.s. public. >> rose: jim? >> i was talking about nationalism from the chinese side. what struck me over the years and living there as an american is first the country is so big and shambling an diverse itself that usually the nationalistic reaction is not the first one you get. it's the regional reaction or your family or the industry you're in. second, it is amazing how much this nationalism is boiling against japan. increasinglyly over the years and really to unpleasant levels. and there is a sort of
surprisingly neutral towards, often benign default level towards the united states. i mean it's amazing how this is one of the rare places i have been where nationalism does not default to anti-americannism. which is the reflex much of the world. i agree it is a delicate mat tore balance as it has been for 40 years. but i think it's impressive that 40 years of interaction between the countries have gone more or less as well as they have. >> rose: then there is this. the person who more than anyone else has had the china card, so to speak, in the u.s. government has been the national security advisor to the president tom done lan. very recently he went over to china, talked to xi jinping and other leaders, been the man who sort of set up this conference. and then the president days before the sum i9 takes place announces that he is leaving and to be replaced by susan rice. what do you make of that? >> all politics is local. i guess there is some reason for the timing of the announcement. i think he was going to got
a am so stage and president obama wanted susan rice in the job. i think looking more probably tom donalan has taken the china relationship under his plate big time. hillary clinton also was assiduous and performed really well, i think, better than anywhere in asia. and i think was a masterful seller of the so-called pivot. and all right curt campbell who was also a big player is out. the whole asia team gone and i really bond we are whether query, susan rice and the others are so presidented. >> vice president biden is still there. >> right, well, yes, yes, i'm reassured. >> i say that not mockingly. >> but again go ahead. >> it is impressive that so much of the o booma administration's policy seems to be personal to the president's own judgement. so i think it may be less the case, say than a george w. bush add p but the movement of advisors may have less impact on the constantee of obama course than some other administrations. >> and so do you get a sense that the president is
looking for options, this that he really does want to sort of reset the relationship, obviously cyberdemands that. but he really is interested in, he's asking his advisors, you know, tell me what options i have. tell me what the possibilities are. >> that's what i have heard from people working this inside the administration. and sorry if i'm interrupting. i think that he just recognizes that the whole theme of this pivot has been for the past decade u.s. policy has beend:z>
my grandmonther woould try to help >> it got reduced to a superof pulp in the bottom drawer of a roll top desk. so it's gone but the upside is i learned my lesson and i was an obsessive backup, well good at backing up my work in college. and i never lost anything again. >> you went to princeton because you wanted to take courses with tony morrison. >> yes, yes, it was a huge opportunity for me. i had always loved her work. and you can take courses with her freshman year if you were in the creative writing program. so i worked with her for several years. she was at the time teaching her only long fiction class which is really, i've never been interested in writing short stories. and so i was really excited to get in that class of hers. she ended up being my thesis advisor so, generous with her time. you know, you go off to school knowing you are going to get to come in contact with some amazing writers. and i thought to myself, i don't-- it seems like it would be a coincidence if all of these fantastic
writers were also great teachers. those are separate talents, right. but they do company in the same package in toni morrison. she was amazingly supportive teacher, really good at bringing out the best and guying you through that process. and very supportive after i left school too. >> is she continued to be a mentor in a sense. >> yes, absolutely. when you're writing your first book you have no idea if anybody wants to read it nobody is counting on you. and she reached out a couple of times say are you still writing. i liked your work. which was huge, it took me a long time to write that first book, ten years. and lots of tears. >> rose: what do you think she's given you? >> in terms of advice. >> rose: in terms of advice. >> yes, you know, lots of different things besides just the support and encouragement. but tons of great advice that i reflect on daily as i'm writing. one of the big ones was early on in the long fiction class she said something that made me sit back. and that was writing a novel, writing something long is all about the time to release-- timed release of information. and i thought okay, that's big.
and it really is, it turns out to be my favorite part of writing a book. i spend the first part is harder for me and less pleasurable. you are making up the story and the whole time i'm anxious for and looking forward to that moment when 10 to 12 things about this story seem too real to change. because once i know what the story is, then i can go back and significant out which things do i want to tell when. how can i structure this, where can i put all of these pieces of information. so that the reader is surprised in the right places, sad in the right places, laugh in the right places, and turning the page desperate to find out what happens next. and that is what it is all about. >> rose: do you know all of the story when you begin wroiing. >> no. >> rose: you're so into the heads of your characters. >> it starts with an idea. of the-- so far, at least, both of my books have started with an initial situation for each of the characters. a predictment that they are in and a sense of who that person is. and i want to know where are they going to go from here. what will they do with this
problem. where will they end up. and so i have to follow that strand. and-- work it all out. >> rose: but they speak to you. >> definitely, definitely. hard to say where they come from. but definitely. each of these four characters are so different. i mean at its simp elest level the story is about reclusive movie star who finely comes out of hiding to confront her father who has been selling her out to the paparazzi for years. so she takes a four day road trip to las vegas and on the way she meets three other women who become unexpected allies for her. one is a teenage mother. one is one of her bodyguards, another a dog shelter owner in nevada. each of these women is also separately struggling out of some private trap of her own and their paths intersect. and that's where the magic happens. >> rose: it all takes place in four days. >> all in four days, yeah. >> rose: is that good to have that kind of limitation. >> it was a great constraint for me. and if works well for this story. and make force a really kind of a fast action story to
see them all go through that in such a short space of time. the constraints were really fun. >> rose: but you have said also that you enjoyed a dozen important elements are ready to change, that whole notion that when you can feel that. >> yes. what is a good moment in this book where that happens? >> where-- . >> rose: where there are a dozen important elements that you feel are ready to change. >> actually, initially what i am looking forward to is the dozen elements that i can't change. when i know enough about the story that these things really happened. it's set in stone. that is a story i have to work with. now how can i arrange that so it has the most impact for the reader. so kind of the reverse. >> yeah. >> so when you set out to define these characters, what feeds your characterization of them? these four distinct women? >> well, you know, one of the fun aspects of writing fiction is the research. because it's so different from the rest of the work you do as a writer which is so solitary. i men in the age of internet some of your research can be
solitary too and thank goodness for that. >> rose: it's much easier. >> you can do more of it faster. but i also did research in the world. i interviewed doctors for hospital scenes. i worked at a dog shelter for a couple of days. i spent a week on a movie set to help me with the actress character. read books about the security services industry. and so all the research talked to a lawyer on the phone for a few weeks of-- for the court scene. so yeah, it was-- it's fun to do that research. >> what does this book say about female relationships? >> what does it-- female relationships are a big part of the book. i would say the biggest theme in the book is the idea that the things that we worry over the most in life, its things that we feel trapped by, the mistakes we've made, the bad luck that we come across, the accidents that happen to us, the paradoxes in the end oftentimes those things are the things that we'll look
back and be the most grateful for. they take us where we need to go. >> hence the title traps. >> hence the title traps. have you ever heard that buddhist story about the horse and the farmer. >> no. >> so there is a farmer loses a horse f runs away. all the villages come and say what horrible luck. and he's a wise guy and he says we'll see. sure enough the next day that same horse comes back but with another horse. and everybody says it was good luck. and he says we'll see. next day, his son hops on the new horse, falls off and breaks his leg and he says oh, it was terrible luck. he says we'll seement and sure enough the last part of the story is the military comes to town to con script all the able-bodied young men, so his son can't go off to war. and even then everybody says what fantastic luck. and he still says we'll see because you never know. you never know where it's going to end up, good luck, bad luck, it's not the way that we need to look at things. >> rose: so what is the definition of a trap. >> the definition of a trap, and it canning be anything.
it can be anything that we feel is negative in our lives, whether it's our own character traits that we feel like are inhibiting us or that really bad luck, medical problems, it could be anything am but the paradox is sometimes and i'm sure you have stories in your life that are like this, we all have them on a small scale ef reday, even something tiny like you know, i missed my flight and on the next one somehow you meet somebody that you end up having a great conversation with. >> rose: you know what else i do too, whenever you see something that you find interesting, a person, an event, a picture, and for some reason either you are in a hurry, you don't stop to pursue it. just to take the time to see what it's about. it could be a sunset it could be a person. and you know there is a momentary glance and you know that that is an interesting person. and if you walk on by and you think about gosh, i wonder what that person is like. rather than simply saying i'm going to ask you know. >> turn around.
>> go back. >> the worst thing that can happen is for somebody to say i don't have time to share any of my experiences with you. but thank you for stopping by. >> right. >> that's the worst that can happen. >> exactly, exactly. so i think that we would all probably be better off if we could look at more things like that. >> rose: so all of these women, these four women are negotiating traps. >> yes, yes. and you are right, nair relationships with each other are important insofar as i think one of the other ideas that i was really interested in as i was writing the book is that all these struggles per's going through, these private struggles with our own deemons and difficulties are all happening in parallel. and if we were granted-- i have to say if we were granted a moment of om anything, the pattern we would see that we are all actually without intention or recognition playing important roles in one another's dramas, is really beautiful to me. i love the synchronicity of that. and that is key in this book. some of the helps that they give to each other, they don't even know about.
but it's clear to its reader. and so you get to see that things have a way, there is a control is a big issue for a lot of the women in this book. worrying about controlling how things are going to turn out, and in the end, it doesn't quite work that way. >> you're a writer. >> yes. >> a solitary life. >> yes. >> essentially. >> yes. >> which you probably like. >> i do. i do. >> married to a very famous gregarious man. >> yes. >> right? >> yes. >> which i also like. >> which you like. >> yes. >> rose: opposites attract or more than that. >> yeah, absolutely. opposites attract. and it is a lot of fun. i mean the energy that he brings into my life. >> rose: tell me you didn't say this. so you are applies for a job at a hedge fund somewhere in new york i think if you remember after princeton, both you and jeff had been to princeton, he's got a job. >> yes. >> rose: and are you applying. >> yes. >> rose: and he is interviewing you. >> yes. >> rose: and you then, i end up and you pursue him. >> yes. >> rose: you were more interested in -- >> oh, absolutesly. i got, by luck he offered me
a job. but i interviewed with some other people and i was offered a job in another department too. so i ended up taking a different job. but then as luck would have it, got assigned an office right next door to his. and through the walls i would hear him laughing that giant laugh. >> rose: the famous laugh. >> all day long. and it was-- it was totally love at first listen. >> rose: mesmerizing. first at first listen. >> rose: you gotten gauged and three months, six months later you were married. >> yeah. >> rose: and then he has a dream. >> yeah. >> rose: he wants to start a company. >> yes. >> rose: and he gets in his car and you go across country. >> yes. >> rose: and he's going to create, what was the dream, as he articulated it to you. >> he wanted to sell books over the internet. it's was the start, its with exactly that. >> rose: because he realized that he had looked at the numbers. and the internet was growing at some extraordinary -- >> exactly. >> rose: he said there's got to be gold here. >> exactly. but to me, charlie, you know, i'm not a businessperson, but to me what i am hearing when he tells the idea is the passion and the excitement.
and to me, watching your spouse, somebody that you love have an adventure, what is better than that. and being parts of that. couldn't wait to hop in the car. >> rose: all right, roll tape this is jeff bezos, 102010 princeton commencement speech in which he talks about this decision to start amazon. >> i got the idea to start amazon 16 years ago. i came across the fact that web usage was growing at 2300 percent per year. and hi never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast. and the idea of building an on-line book store with millions of titles, something that simply couldn't exist in the physical world was very exciting for me. i just turned 30 years old. and hi been married for a year. i told my wife mackenzie that i wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn't work, since most start-ups don't, and i wasn't sure what would happen after that.
mackenzie, also princeton grad and sitting here in the second row, told me i should go for if. as a young boy i had been eye garage inventor. i had invented an automatic gate closer out of cement filled tires. a solar cooker that didn't work very well out of an umbrella and aluminum foil. quick baking pan alarms to be trap my siblings. hi always wanted to be an inventor. and she wanted me to follow my passion. >> rose: and what did you tell him about your passion? >> he knew that i wanted to write. you know, right from the very start. it was what i had always wantsed to do. >> rose: you are applying for a job at the hedge fund because you needed to feed yourself. >> exactly. and you know, but truthfully, again, it's a little bit like the theme in the book. you know, i got out of college and went to new york thinking i'm going to wait tables. and i'm going to use my extra hours to write pie book.
>> rose: right. >> and i was trying to write a book. i wasn't quite ready to right a book, truthfully t wasn't going that well and i was having a lot of trouble making ends meet. and so would i have ever considered a job in finance if i hadn't been having those difficulties? probably not. so grateful i did. not only because i met jeff but also, you know, being surrounded for a year by people whose minds worked differently from mine, the education i got in quantitative analysis and also i developed a character for my first book which is an engineer. >> rose: that's interesting. the interesting in that book you had one character, in other words, it ended up, you thought maybe a couple but it ended up one character was the subject of that book. >> yes rses here you're writing four characters. >> yes. >> rose: is that harder, easier, because it gives more options, what? >> i have to say mostly it was more fun. you know, as much as i love luther and his preoccupations from my first book, the test of-- testing of luther
allbright, he-- i was with just that one character the whole time. and here i had four very different women. we've got young, old, richard, poor, incredibly famous and almost completely forgotten and alone in the world. so a wide range and very different jobs. very different ways of looking at things. and being able to switch around and work with all of those, the research opportunities, the emotional range. i was so excited to go to work every day with these women and i loved them so much. >> rose: you believed you were hard wired it to be a writer. >> i do. >> rose: what does that mean? >> you know, i think it's true of everybody. that there are things that we enjoy, preferences, a lot of time alone was one of mine. i tend to look at things, i tend to be interested in complex problems more than simple ones. i like to work on long projects. i like to endlessly analyze conversations and think about words and tinker with words, all of those things could be a hindrance in some
professions but they lead me perfectly to writing novels and i think everybody is like that. i think you get laid through your passions and through your idiosyncracies too. >> rose: you have to listen yourself, you really do. >> what dow enjoy. and any job, you find the right job and it uses all of you. and writing is like that. >> rose: exactly right it calls on every skill, every -- >> it's so fun. it bathes our brains in all sorts of great chemicals when we're working in all parts of ourselves. >> rose: do you love words. >> yes. >> rose: you love the command of words. there is tony morrison on this program talking about language and writing. tell me a little bit about the gift of language. >> i think it that some people and some cultures that are just in love with language. and they treasure it. and they play with it. and they like it. and all of it is intras
casey and it's fun and it's power and it's magic. writing sometimes with people can effortlessly do that. some of the time. the rest of it is really hard work, for me it's revision. it's going over it an overing it until if doesn't look written, until looks as though if you surrender to it, as though it's just rolling out before you. and you don't sort of, you may stop and relish a phrase or two but you really surrounded by the language. and it's not waiting, it's-- but the feeling, the emotional and intellectual response to that language ought to be very complicated, very profound. and when that happens, then there's a wonderful marriage between the language of the text and the mind and imagination of the reader.
that doesn't happen a lot. but that's the struggle. that's the effort. >> yes, i relate to that so much. my kids are always teasing me because-- . >> rose: when i saw that i said mackenzie, this will create a resonance never. >> absolutely. my kids are teasing me because my favorite web site on the internet is social risk.com right after am zob, of course, because i'm social sightsed every time i get stuck to go and tinker, what are the other words coy use. it's fun for me, i love words. >> rose: four kids. >> yes. >> rose: a very interesting and successful husband. a good life. you can't ask for a better life. >> so lucky. >> rose: you have the gift of everything. >> love. >> rose: everything you could possibly want. >> love, friend, great family. >> rose: would it be different if you were struggling? >> would it be different if i were strugglings. ips's sure it would be different. >> rose: you would be telling different stories or you would feel them different. >> i don't know.
we never get to see the other path. you never get t know exactly what another life would produce there your writing. my sense from seeing the stories that i love and the different backgrounds that produce them, is everybody's writing about those things in common that humans all have, no matter what things are struggling with. >> rose: you don't have to experience everything to write about it. >> exactly. >> rose: on the other hand you were writing about people that are really struggling within their lives. >> yes. >> rose: this is not your experience in life. >> no, no. >> rose: your experience in life was to simply take and finds every way i can to be a good wife, a good mother, and a good writer. >> yes, yeah. i've had a very lucky life, charlie. and so to the extent that i understand the themes of this book, the place that it comes from. >> rose: these are people suffering and they have problems. >> big problems.
bigger problems than i've ever had. but i think everybody experiences what is in this book even if they have that kind of lucky life. the truth is actually there is a separate point which is that i've seen people and i'm sure you have too that have incredibly hard lives and they consider themselves lucky. >> rose: absolutely. >> and the opposite. people who have really lucky lives and think everything is-- . >> rose: they are sad. >> exactly. but the people, i think everybody can relate to this idea because even when your challenges are smaller, you can look at them and say oh this is a setback. or you can know this might, this mighting an opportunity. where is this going to take me, what am i go stock grateful for. what is great about this problem. and that's the perspective that you come out of this story with. like when i was going off to college, i remember a small example of a small challenge that is a pretty common one in life si went off to college knowing i was go going to have to work a variety of jobs to put myself through school. maybe 30 hours a week on top of my course load.
and i got into princeton and i remember thinking wow, this is a huge opportunity for me, princeton. and worrying because i was younger and didn't have this kind of perspective yet, worrying thinking how, i hope that i can juggle these jobs, and still get the most out of my education. and of course what turned out to happen is that the jobs and the juggling were half of the i had case i got, right. >> yes, yes, yes. >> was it a setback, no, it was an opportunity. >> like the story. >> exactly. >> there is also this, jeff has been your first read. >> yes but you would not allow him to read this until what point? >> really late. so he was a good support about it. with my first book i noticed something about the creative process for me which is that the more i talked about the book, the more energy it would take away from my excitement about writing the story. and i wanted this time around to save that first telling excitement for the book. and it would also create kind of an incentive for me.
because the truth is, i didn't tell him anything about not the plot, not who the characters were for two years. he was a good sport about it. and i worked away on it. but by the end, by the last three months working on these books, these characters were so real to me i'm driving around in my minivan, taking the kids to soccer practice. and tears-- streaming down my face just thinking about them. they're real to me. these are real people that i'm desperate to talk to him about. so it gave me a great carrot, i want to finish this so i can talk to him about it and so that i can watch him read it he's such a good reader. and i wanted to get his reaction to the actual story so that he could be surprised in the right places, i didn't want to tell him what was happening >> rose: i'm told he takes the book aside and whatever he is doing he says don't bother me. >> yup. >> rose: sits down. >> all in one day, yes, yes. >> rose: an takes notes in the margin and comes at you. >> yeah, i ask him a bunch of questions, what my agenda when i show it to anybody is
to say there is my last chance so, where were you bored. where did you not believe if. where were you confused. so i asked him those questions. >> rose: and how do i correct what's wrong and how do i enhance whs's right. >> also but also si have still have the copy he read, it's great because he generously went through and wrote all the spots that made him laugh out loud and the cry and i'm happy to say hi three of those. three. i don't know if i made you cry, charlie. >> rose: they probably won't be the same, necessarily. everybody won't find the same spot to cry. >> that is such a good point that is one of the things i love about books. do you ever reread books. >> rose: sure. >> have you had the experience of reading something wz. >> rose: big classics. >> so you read something and read it again 20 years later t is a whole different book because of your reference point. >> rose: it is. >> different things movie. >> some people said you shouldn't even read things until you are 30, you won't understand jealousee and passion. that is debatable. here is what some people are saying and i will take two. the four incredible women the heart of trap will ling
never my psyche for a long time. bezos gift is to take what seems to be disparate lives, separate worlds and weave them into a single tapestry, a remarkable kind of alchemy. the real life lessons here is one of interconnectedness of strength and courage emerging not dispote-- despite but because of adversity it is a page turner of satisfying work. but that's at the esence of what you want somebody to feel. >> yeah. it was a very generous thing to say. i hope that that experience people have, there is a hosting impulse behind writing a book. >> rose: what kind? >> hosting. you know, the books that i have read, i want to create that feeling for other people, that feeling that you just don't want to put it down. and that when you finally do finish the story, you're satisfied, there is this-- these two warring feelings, this incredible satisfaction at the good disappt that you lost this connection with these character. >> do you connect with one
of these characters more than another? >> that's an interesting question because i worried about that. when i started the book t was my first book i had tried multiple viewpoint characters and dropped them because one was so much better than the other. i took it as a sign that it was his book. but this, and i have had the interns reading books before where i connect more with one character. and then i have that slightly unsatisfying experience of wanting to skip to the parts that are in that character's voice. and i thought for sure if i love one of these characters more, that's going to effect the readers experience. but ifidn't happen. i thought it might have to even drop some of the characters if it did because i don't like the idea of having part of the book have more energy than others. and all of these characters really spoke to me equally and i will just as much fun writing each of them. i understood them all equally. so hopefully that ends up translating into a similar experience for the readers. they're all so important to
the book. >> one more, this is a-- they probably know a bit about writing. sweet are the uses of adversity write shakespeare and mackenzie bezos explores that proposition through four damaged lives as they intersect over four suspenseful days, her characters are beautifully delineated and arrestingly original and there is a sparkling chiseled quality to writing that put its me in mind of a master sculpture who commands the most difficult-- in pursuit of passionate artistic end so congratulations. >> thank you so much, charlie. >> good to see you. >> good to see you. one more time the book is called traps, mackenzie bezos. thank you for joining us. see you next time. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org welcome back. i'm certainly glad you could join me this time. today i think we'll do a painting that's a little bit different, and let's start out and we'll have them run all the colors across the screen that you need to paint along with me today. and while they're doing that, come on up here and let me tell you what's happening. i've got a canvas, as you can probably see, that's painted yellow. and this is just an acrylic yellow paint and i've covered the entire canvas with it. and right here is just, this is a piece of duct tape i found here in the studio. you can use duct tape or masking tape, any kind of tape. i just made a circle right there. this canvas is dry today. and onto this we're going to begin putting a little bit of the liquid black color and i'm going to make a beautiful little sunset out of it. o.k.? let's go right up here and i'll just use a little 2" brush, and i'm just going to start laying in, just laying in some little things. just like so,
and just sort of make a decision. decide where they're going to be and lay them in. there's very, very little of the liquid black on the brush here. very little. there we go. o.k., let me get a touch more on my brush. o.k., just once again, barely touching the canvas. just caress the canvas, let it go