Anyone Can Learn Chinese With the Right Tools, Attitude & Guidance

You don’t need to spend thousands on classes. You don’t need boring textbooks. You don’t need to be good at languages. And you don’t have to move to China or Taiwan (though that’s great if you can). What you need are the right tools, “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, adult-friendly methods, and fun materials suited to your interests that will help you internalize the language naturally, understand what you hear, and speak with speed and confidence. This is precisely what Master Mandarin provides.

I’ve been learning and teaching languages for over a decade, and have poured everything I’ve learned (and everything I wish I had known when starting out) into Master Mandarin: The Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to Learning Chinese the Fun Way. With the guide, you’ll have everything you need to acquire Chinese using proven strategies, free online tools, and materials you love.

But please keep in mind that Master Mandarin is not a textbook that will “teach” you Chinese: no book, course, or teacher can ever get a language into your head. This is not The Matrix, Neo. Only you can acquire Mandarin by getting enough exposure to—and enough practice using—the language.

Ready? Let’s get busy Chinesing!

John Fotheringham | Color | SmallOnwards and Upwards,
John Fotheringham
Author & Chief Crazy Person

The Master Japanese Guide
There are many guides out there about the basics or how to start with Chinese, but John’s “Master Mandarin” is the only one I’ve seen that covers absolutely everything from start to finish in terms of must-knows. The best part is the very carefully researched list of the best resources for every aspect of Chinese imaginable. The best detailed guide for anyone who’s serious about learning Chinese! Benny Lewis

Fluent in 3 Months

How to Learn All Four Language Skills

Icon | Kanji | Red | SmallMaster Mandarin includes tips and tools to help you master all four Chinese language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

How to Use Brain-Friendly Methods

How to Use Brain-Friendly MethodsMaster Mandarin shows you how to learn the natural way, harnessing your innate language acquisition capabilities (we ALL have them!), and how to work with, not against, human psychology.

How to Save Time & Learn on Your Terms

Icon | Stop Watch | Red | SmallYour time should be spent actually acquiring Chinese, not searching for tools and materials. Master Mandarin includes a massive collection of suggested apps, tools, and online resources, helping you choose the right tools for your learning style, your goals, and your budget. To help you save even more time, the guide includes includes clickable links to all online resources so you don’t have to waste time Googling or typing in URLs.

How to Learn Anywhere & Everywhere

Icon | Map | Red | SmallMaster Mandarin shows you how to create a Chinese immersion environment no matter where you happen to live, while also helping you harness hidden moments throughout the day to maximize your exposure to the language no matter how busy you may be.

Master Mandarin provides a great overview of the Chinese language, and language learning without going overboard… which is perfect for talking study strategy and goal creation. Readers know exactly where to find additional material because you’ve already told them. I was seriously considering providing a book like this for my first year students, and I think I might have found the one. Yours! Jake Gill


Master Mandarin | Complete Package

The Guide

The 300-page Master Mandarin guide PDF shows beginning and intermediate Chinese learners how to learn, what resources to use, and how to have a lot of fun along the way.

Complete Package

The Complete Package includes the Master Mandarin guide in 3 formats (PDF, EPUB & MOBI), plus 11 expert interviews, 7 discount codes for John-approved resources, 8 cheat sheets, and free lifetime updates.
John has clearly put a huge amount of effort into Master Mandarin. Not only does the guide recommend a wide variety of tools and resources, but it also talks about the mentality and the goal-setting needed to learn Chinese, and offers some juicy details about the language. For anybody getting into Chinese, it offers clear direction. Chris Parker

Fluent in Mandarin

Three Delicious Digital Flavors

Read the guide on your device of choice using the 3 digital formats:

Adobe PDF | MJ Sales PageThe PDF Version

Print-ready and viewable on all platforms (Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.)

iBooks Icon | MJ Sales PageThe EPUB Version

Perfect for use in Apple iBooks on iOS, Mac OSX, and numerous other e-Book readers.

Kindle | MJ Sales PageThe MOBI Version

Can be viewed on your Kindle or within any of the free Kindle apps on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, etc.

 Free Updates For Life!

I continually update the Master Mandarin guide as new tools, materials, methods and language learning research findings become available. Whenever I release a new version, customers can download it for free!

Free Lifetime Updates

10 Expert Interviews

Complete Package customers can get inspired with over 3 hours of expert interviews with linguists, polyglots, and language experts.

Benny Lewis

Benny Lewis | RoundBenny (a.k.a. “The Irish Polyglot”) is the outspoken polyglot behind the extremely popular Fluent in 3 Months blog and author of a best-selling book of the same name. I was originally skeptical of his methods, but have come to embrace almost all of his advice. He is most adamant about the importance of not “waiting until you are ready” to start speaking a foreign language as that day will probably never come…

Olly Richards

Olly RichardsWith seven languages under his linguistic belt and an academic background in Applied Linguistics, Olly Richards of has proven that he can both talk the talk and walk the walk. His infectious passion for all things language is a breath of fresh air in the increasingly cynical language learning blogosphere.

Steve Kaufmann

Steve Kaufmann | RoundSteve is the creator of and the author of The Way of the Linguist: A Language Learning Odyssey. As a fluent speaker of 11 languages (including Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish), Steve has a thing or two to say about effective language learning.

Jake Gill

Jake Gill | Teaching | CroppedJake Gill is one of the amazing people behind the scenes at Skritter, one of my favorite tools for mastering Chinese characters. Prior to taking the reigns at Skritter, he obtained an M.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan.

Vladimir Skultety

VladimirVladimir is a Mandarin Chinese translator and interpreter originally from Slovakia. He speaks 15 languages in total, with 9 of them at a C1-C2 level! Vladimir shares great tips, videos, and Chinese information on his blog, Forever a Student.

Chris Parker

Chris ParkerChris Parker is a 27-year-old Brit living in Beijing with a huge passion for language learning. He has been learning Mandarin for 9 years, and has worked as both a Chinese translator and interpreter (a testament to his advanced level in the language). He now works in online media but continues to share useful tips and tools for Mandarin learners on his blog Fluent in Mandarin.

Ash Henson

Ash HensonAsh Henson is a co-founder of Outlier Linguistics Solutions, who recently made a big splash in the Chinese learning world with a successful Kickstarter campaign for their much-anticipated Chinese character dictionary add-on for Pleco. Though Ash’s professional background started in electrical engineering, his love of languages (he speaks four in “varying states of decay”) eventually led him to pivot away from electromagnetic wave propagation to Chinese linguistics and paleography.

Adam Menon

Adam MenonWhen Adam Menon moved to Taiwan, he thought he would be there a year and then go back to Canada. But he fell in love with the country and never went back. His decision to start Chinese Learn Online (CLO) in 2006 was fueled by what he saw as a gap in the learning marketplace, where most resources were created by native speakers of Mandarin who didn’t necessarily understand the best way for non-native speakers to learn their language.

Serge Melnyk

Serge MelnykSerge Melnyk has been learning Mandarin Chinese for 25-years and lived in China for 17 years. He holds a master’s degree in Asian Studies and Chinese Linguistics, and now leverages both his academic background and first hand experience living abroad to create useful lessons on his podcast Melnyks Chinese.


Khatzumoto | RoundKhatzumoto (勝本), a.k.a. “Khatz”, is the creator of the popular language blog and community All Japanese All the Time (AJATT). Proving that self-guided immersion works, Khatzumoto reached an impressive level of fluency in a very short time by watching anime, reading manga, and having an all around kick-ass time. His advice applies equally well for Chinese, which he has also started learning himself.

Dr. James Heisig

James Heisig | RoundDespite a research focus in the philosophy of religion, Heisig is best known by Japanese and Chinese learners for his books Remembering the Kanji and Remembering the Hanzi. In our interview, he discusses how RTK came to be, including the heavy doses of skepticism his method first received.

Dr. Victor Ferreira

Victor Ferreira | RoundDr. Ferreira is a professor and researcher at the University of California, San Diego. He runs the Language Production Lab, which looks at “how language users form sentences and produce words, and how that behavior leads to successful communication.”

Print-Ready Cheat Sheets & Worksheets

Receive print-ready PDF cheat sheets and worksheets, including:

Common 500 Words

Icon | PDF | RedWhile learning the most common 500 words in Chinese won’t make you completely fluent, it will at least prepare you to understand over 50% of the language you see and hear day to day!

RTH Traditional List

Icon | PDF | RedA useful study list of all the Chinese characters and keywords included in volumes 1 and 2 of Remembering Traditional Hanzi by James Heisig and Timothy Richardson.

RTH Simplified List

Icon | PDF | RedA useful study list of all the Chinese characters and keywords included in volumes 1 and 2 of Remembering Simplified Hanzi by James Heisig and Timothy Richardson.

Hanyu Pinyin Chart

Icon | PDF | RedAll the sounds of Mandarin Chinese on one page! Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (漢語拼音・汉语拼音) not only teaches you how to pronounce Mandarin, but also allows you to easily type the language on smartphones and computers.

Deconstruction Dozen

Icon | PDF | RedTim Ferriss’ 12 sentences that show the basic essential patterns in Chinese. Think of it as the 80-20 rule applied to grammar.

Study Plan

Icon | PDF | RedA sample weekly schedule showing how to integrate immersion activities into your life, as well as a blank version to create your own personalized study plan.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Icon | PDF | RedThis worksheet helps you to create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound goals that are much more effective than typical overly ambitious and poorly defined learning objectives.

Note Taking Template

Icon | PDF | RedA simple note taking template to help you quickly jot down and easily review Chinese vocabulary in an efficient manner.

Who is Master Mandarin For?

Master Mandarin is for learners who:

  • Are passionate about learning languages.
  • Believe languages are “acquired”, not “learned”.
  • Want to deeply understand the Chinese & Taiwanese people & culture.
  • Are between the beginner and intermediate stages of learning.
  • Want to learn all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing)
  • Prefer learning the fun, immersion-based way (e.g. using comics & anime instead of textbooks)
  • Place a high value on their time and would rather spend it actually acquiring Chinese instead of wasting time finding resources.

Master Mandarin is NOT for learners who:

  • Want an academic, grammar-driven approach to learning.
  • Just want to learn a few useful phrases for travel.
  • Want a highly-structured language course.
  • Need a teacher to keep them on track.

Why Should You Get Master Mandarin?

  • Because you should be spending your time actually acquiring Mandarin, not wasting time looking for the right methods, materials, and tools.
  • Because you get super sweet reader-only bonuses (free lifetime updates, 3+ hours of interviews with language learning all-stars, authors, and language learning experts, and big discounts on language learning products like iTalki, Skritter, Chinese Learn Online, ChineseClass101, ChinesePod, LingQ, and WaiChinese.
  • Because the methods and tools I share really work. My growing army of happy customers are proof.

The Guide

The 300-page Master Mandarin guide PDF shows beginning and intermediate Chinese learners how to learn, what resources to use, and how to have a lot of fun along the way.

Complete Package

The Complete Package includes the Master Mandarin guide in 3 formats (PDF, EPUB & MOBI), plus 11 expert interviews, 7 discount codes for John-approved resources, 8 cheat sheets, and free lifetime updates.

Got a Question?

Got a question about the guide or complete package? Check out the FAQs or shoot me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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