Journey of a Thousand Miles

Journey of a Thousand Miles

An Extraordinary Life

By Ruey J. Yu

Foreword by: Eugene J. Van Scott

176 Pages · 9x6 · November 14 2017

Paper ISBN: 9780776625676

PDF ISBN: 9780776625683

ePub ISBN: 9780776625690

Availability: In stock

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Born into poverty in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Ruey Yu overcame near-starvation during the Second World War. Destiny, however, had other plans for him: he was to become an award-winning biochemist, then the co-founder of what would soon become the multi-million-dollar skin care company NeoStrata.

After living through the Second World War and the post-war military dictatorship of General Chiang Kai-Shek, Dr. Yu won a coveted post-graduate scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Ottawa. He subsequently took up a research position at the renowned Skin and Cancer Hospital (Temple University) in Philadelphia, where he collaborated with pre-eminent dermatologist Dr. Eugene Van Scott to develop treatments for serious skin diseases.

In 1972, Dr. Yu and Dr. Van Scott discovered that fruit acids, known as AHAs, could effectively treat the disfiguring skin disease ichthyosis, changing the lives of thousands of people who suffered from this debilitating illness. Their further research into the biochemical properties of AHAs led to the discovery of the anti-wrinkle and anti-aging effects of these natural substances—a discovery that was licensed by skin care companies around the world, sparking the multibillion-dollar cosmeceutical industry.

Foreword, by Eugene J. Van Scott

Prologue: Taiwan, 1946

Chapter 1 Coal Dust and Daydreams 

Chapter 2 Bowing to the Emperor 

Chapter 3 A “City Monkey” in the Country

Chapter 4 Starvation and Surrender

Chapter 5 Return to Hsinchu 

Chapter 6 The Tale of the Poor Scholar 

Chapter 7 A Diamond in the Trash 

Chapter 8 Pedalling Through Taipei

Chapter 9 Pure Chemistry 

Chapter 10 Quemoy

Chapter 11 Snowed Under 

Chapter 12 Coming to America 

Chapter 13 A Life-Changing Discovery 

Chapter 14 Taking a Gamble

Chapter 15 Avon Calling 

Chapter 16 A Wrinkle in the Business 

Chapter 17 Head to Head with the Pink Lady 

Chapter 18 Moving Forward, Giving Back 

Chapter 19 New Research Directions

Epilogue: Philosophy and Vision of My Life

Afterword: Ruey Yu as a Child of Taiwan, by Scott Simon 


Every tube of skin cream with AHA, the wildly popular anti-wrinkle ingredient, exists because of a half-starved boy in wartime Taiwan who travelled to university in Ottawa and went on to fortune. […] Yu’s life “is the classic story of constant optimism, moving forward in the face of adversity, overcoming all odds.”

Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen