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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2005
This is an excellent book. From its marketing, I thought that "When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures" pertained specifically to dealing with people of different nationalities in the business place. And indeed, it is a most useful book for that purpose. However, I was struck by how much one could apply Lewis' analyses to other situations, for example, dealing with people of other nationalities on a social level. Indeed, I have many aquaintances, and some close friends, from diverse backgrounds, and this book sometimes occupies us for entire evenings, discussing our experiences with one another. The chapter on Hungarians I found particularly accurate, and entertaining. I believe that Lewis would have enjoyed hearing some of these discussions (and arguments). My point is: don't dismiss this book thinking it is a businessman's tool. It's a good read for anybody who encounters people of other nationalities and cultures, irrespective of the context.
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on 22 March 2001
Lewis' book is a must read for global managers and students of international business alike. Explainations for global variations in perception, contrasting leadership styles and relation to time are highlighted with several good examples. 3 categories of culture are defined and both verbal and non-verbal communication techniques are extremely valid. The last third of the book is donated to specific countries, where the east-west contrasts are very helpful. Finally, the chapter on empathy puts everything together to give the reader a excellent standpoint from which to manage interculturally.
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on 14 December 2004
I've travelled, competed in sport and worked in over 55 countries for over 25 years. The fascination of different cultures grows as I learn more.
This book can be used before embarking on life in a new country or life alongside someone who comes from a different culture to yours, whether the relationship is personal or work based.
Whilst the book provides an excellent appreciation of cultural differences, it is a fascinating and sometimes humourous read. It has made for some fun and interesting conversation with people from other cultures or those who are experiencing other cultures.
For any manager working in an international environment, this is a 'must-read'.
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on 13 August 2003
I was expecting this book to give me deeper insights about Americans with whom I work extensively. Having read this and "Working with Americans" (Stewart-Allen, Denslow) at the same time, I did think Lewis could have provided more examples and more real-life answers to "what should I do when..." like the other book does. In any case, his style is good and the structure straightforward.
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on 22 January 2009
The title of this book cannot capture the breadth and width of valuable information that is contained within its pages. Although hefty, at almost 600 pages in length and organized in three sections, this comprehensive and finely-tuned book shares a wealth of wisdom for the international businessperson of the 21st century.
The first section explains the facets of communication, perception, listening, time management and much more that embodies each specific culture around the globe. Along with a thorough explanation of what is essentially the psychology of cultural perspective, Lewis intertwines scenarios (some from his own experiences) that one could encounter in various business or social settings.
The second section integrates the newly gained cultural understanding from section one into the international business setting. Lewis includes chapters focusing on leadership, team building, motivating people and meetings which are described in further detail from the perspectives of managers and teams in various countries and regions. At this point, the reader has gained insight and understanding of what to expect when working within a region or country outside of his or her own.
To take the book one step further, section three serves as a reference tool on over 80 countries and regions where global business can bring you. Within each country-specific or regional chapter, Lewis includes a short history and a selection of the most relevant of information and/or characteristics in interaction within that cultural context. Additionally, Lewis includes a smattering of relevant information on the country or region, ranging from role in the current global economy to values, concept of time to motivation, comparison of countries with which it shares a language to religion, and a number of other factors.
All this information could easily be presented in a dry and point-by-point manner, but this book is well-organized, thorough and written with a flair and vivacity that keeps the reader wanting to read more. I am glad to have Lewis' book on my bookshelf as it is a great resource when treading unfamiliar territories. -PH
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on 6 January 2011
We live and work in a multi-cultural society. In addition, there is a great deal more cross border commerce and many more people are now travelling on business, and working with people from other countries. As such it is important to understand how and why people react the way they do, and to avoid the common pitfalls that make interaction between cultures a potential problem.

There is a level of generalisation within the book, but from experience, I could say that it is pretty accurate. Sometimes it is difficult for people to look in the mirror and see their own faults! I would suggest that for the sensible manager, this will provide valuable advice that they can use or not as the situation dictates. Certainly I feel that the book will help guide you in making your collaboration with other people more effective.
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on 5 January 2012
Interesting book written in a style that suggests the content is factual. Actually the book has no scientific research method behind it whatsoever, and there are no peer reviews of this book. At best, the cultural descriptions are insightful generalisations. At worst, they are incorrect, misleading and potentially damaging, and they are still generalisations.

The content is useful to understand some national background for your contacts, but always treat people as individuals.
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on 30 January 2016
Having read a number of books in this area, I'd say this is up there in terms of completeness. It goes in to great detail. My gripe would be that it is hard to read at times as it jumps around quite a lot within paragraphs. Also, I feel a cross cultural book could be more accessible to non English readers. There are a lot of uncommon words used that can disorientate even a well skilled reader. Perhaps a more simple lexical set would suffice.
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on 1 November 2013
The considerations are frankly quite superficial and the point of view is essentially one, the author's, a British linguist.
The approach should have been less self-centered in order to appeal to people other than British or people other than the author.
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on 10 April 2009
As an International Executive Coach and Cross-cultural Facilitator I have `When Cultures Collide' as part of my must have reference library. It has been extremely well researched; the overview for each country makes it accessible for users at all levels. I send a copy to my clients who are working with global teams.
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