Expat Focus interviews Raymond Yung about his personal development book 'From Latecomers to Late-bloomers'.
Raymond, please tell us about yourself.
I’ve been living in London since 2004, but I was born and raised in Hong Kong. After graduating from the University of Hong Kong with a degree in Chemistry, I went on to pursue a Masters’ degree in Computer Science at Queens College, City University of New York and subsequently obtained an MBA at Stern Business School, New York University. I worked in IT and finance in New York before moving to London as a financial analyst.I am passionate about personal development, mentoring and coaching. I am a strong believer that we should continue to learn, develop and grow regardless of our age, which is why I chose to write From Latecomers to Late-Bloomers. It’s so easy to give up on learning, especially later in life when we’re busy and picking up new skills seems to take longer than when we were kids. I was learning French—I have a dream of living in France one day—and so I decided to collect and share my experiences so that other people could benefit from them. Besides book-writing, I also collect miniature frog statues and items in my spare time.
What do you like/dislike about expat life?
London and New York are cultural melting pots, and I love the fact that I’ve met so many different people with diverse backgrounds. I learn new things every day and that is great.
On the flip side, I still miss my family—I have a large extended (and expanding) family including my parents, 4 sisters, 2 brothers, 3 nieces, 4 nephews and 1 great-nephew—as they live thousands of miles away from me, both in Hong Kong and Canada. That said, technology such as Skype and WhatsApp has made staying in touch much more manageable.
You recently published From Latecomers to Late-bloomers. What is the book about?
My book is a concise and easy to read guidebook for anyone who wants to learn a new skill, but who is concerned that starting later in life makes learning difficult. Based on a logical common-sense approach and supported by research and real-life experiences, From Latecomers to Late-bloomers provides psychology, examples, tips and practical exercises that make learning a fun and exciting experience, no matter where in life you find yourself!
What type of audience do you feel your book would appeal to?
My book is targeted at people of 30 years old and over, which accounts for more than 60% of the population in the UK and USA. That said, I think the basic framework of learning outlined in my book remains applicable to learners of all ages. Learning is learning, however old you are, and anything that can make the process easier is useful for everyone.
How did you come up with the title?
The word “Latecomers” means being late to the “game” whilst the word “Late-bloomers” refers to the fact that one can still blossom later in life. Combining the two words presents the key message that I want to convey: One can still BLOSSOM in learning even in a LATER stage of life.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part (as I also pointed out in my book) was my own fear in the sense of self-doubt especially as a first-time author. In the beginning, I was not sure if I had something worth telling the world.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring expat writers?
For non-fiction, I suggest finishing a draft covering key concepts and then selecting a group of friends that are objective enough to provide you with honest feedback. You can’t write in complete seclusion; at some point, you’ve got to get your work out into the world. Furthermore, it is crucial to find a good editor who can give you objective advice on the writing, content and structure of your book.
What are your current projects?
My main project at the moment is to promote my book. Since I’ve self-published From Latecomers to Late-bloomers, I’ve got to manage my own marketing and sales, which is a fabulous experience that comes with a very sharp learning curve—I’m learning whole new skills even now!
I have also started translating my book into Chinese, which means learning more about marketing and the book market in mainland China. E-books are not yet popular there. In addition, I may need to print locally for cost reduction as well as reconsider the price of my book taking into account the cost of living there.
What book are you reading now?
I have just started reading the book Drive by Daniel H. Pink. I am interested in the subject of motivation which is a topic related to my book on adult learning. It is important for me to continue expanding my knowledge in this area.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to spend the next year on promoting my book and gathering feedback on the current edition. After that, depending on how well sales have gone and potential demand, I might consider an expanded edition or a follow-up.
Where can people buy your book?
My book is available in both printed and ebook versions from Lulu and Amazon.co.uk.