Hundreds of Westporters know Jim Randel as an attorney. Hundreds more know him as a real estate investor. Some know him as a backer of start-up ventures.
Millions and millions of Chinese know the local Renaissance Randel as one of their country’s most successful authors.
Randel’s route to best-sellerdom began in 2006. He wrote (in English) “Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur.” Published by McGraw-Hill, it sold quite well.
Three years later, the housing crisis hit. A slide show flew around the internet. Crude stick figures explained how we got into that mess.
Randel took the idea — stick people, story line, dialogue — and wrote “The Skinny on the Housing Crisis.” His self-published effort won 1st prize in a National Association of Real Estate Editors contest — against books from major houses.
Suddenly, Randel had yet another career. He wrote 9 more books, using the same format. Most were on self-improvement topics.
By 2011, Randel had too many other business demands. He stopped writing. His “Skinny” books sat on the shelf.
That’s when a Chinese publisher somehow found one of Randel’s works. He liked it — and licensed 5 for translation.
Once again, Randel struck gold. Last week, 2 of his books were ranked in the Top 20 on Amazon’s list of 100 best-selling e-books in Chinese. The only other non-Asian author in that Top 20 was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
A few days later, Randel’s books were #2 and #3. The only other non-Asian authors were Hemingway and Shakespeare. And no one else — of any ethnicity — had more than 1 book in the Top 100.
I have no idea what Jim Randel is going to do next. But whatever it is — and wherever — if he asks me to invest, I’m in.
(Hat tip: Robert Crowley)