The Art of Doing Business Across Cultures by Craig Storti

The Blurb On The Back:

50 common cultural mistakes made in business settings are presented in the form of short conversations which show that there’s always a reason why people do the strange things they do, the reason is almost never to upset you, and there’s always a way forward. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Craig Storti has over 25 years’ experience in training people in intercultural communications and cross-cultural adaptation and in this book, which focuses on the Arab Middle East, Brazil, China, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico and Russia, he uses dialogue to highlight common mistakes Americans make when carrying out business with or in the same and although necessarily generalised in its approach he makes some interesting points and suggestions for avoiding culture clash.

The book is very much aimed at American readers but Storti makes the point that the scenarios he has created in the book equally gives people from other countries a chance to learn about what Americans value and how they behave.  He admits that the book contains generalisations about the behaviour of nationals, which is inevitable in a book of this type, but from my own experience of multi-national business, there’s a degree of truth in the way he depicts national behaviours (particularly with the Middle Eastern, French and German sections and as a Brit, I recognised the English behaviours, even if they are exaggerated slightly in order to make Storti’s points).  Storti emphasises listening and not rushing to judgment about why people behave as they do and I certainly felt that I learnt a lot in the sections on India and am looking forward to having it change how I deal with colleagues in that region.

This is a very human book and I liked the way Storti is trying to bring people together as much as possible and although I wonder at how much business people will get from it in an increasingly globalised world where people share more on line about matters like education and attitudes, I still think that there’s a lot here that you can learn from and Storti does give a good further reading list for people who want to follow up.  On that basis, I think this book is worth a read and I would check out Storti’s other work on the subject.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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