beta_china_BOOK_insideWhen I hired Hamish McKenzie last year he told me he already had plans to spend the summer in China. “Maybe you could write an ebook about your experience,” I suggested.

That naive off-handed suggestion has made Hamish’s life hell for the better part of his time at PandoDaily. He’s chipped away at this project in his off-hours since last summer, without extra pay, going back and forth in between edits and more reporting and more edits. He’s talked to dozens and dozens of sources during his summer on the ground in China and remotely since.

The result is PandoDaily’s second eBook: “Beta China: The Dawn of an Innovation Generation.” It is a must read if you need to understand China, which, let’s face it, everyone in the world pretty much does.

I’ve spent a good deal of time reporting in China myself and even produced a tech conference there. Most of the stuff I read in English wildly misses the mark or is a rehash of what I already knew. Hamish’s book is different. It offers an insightful primer on where the Chinese startup world has been and — more importantly — where it’s going, complete with you-are-there narrative storytelling. He talks about the big names you know and many up and coming entrepreneurs you don’t. He makes a compelling case that the era of copycatting is coming to an end in the mobile world — and indeed, now many Western firms are the ones copying Chinese companies.

At just $1.99, it’s a screaming bargain. We’ll be running an excerpt this weekend, but really you should just buy it now.