Book reviews

Philips, Jennifer, and Christopher Warnasch (ed.), In the Know in Mexico & Central America: an indispensable cross-cultural guide to working and living abroad

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at www.diversophy.comInfo plus how to say it.“Lite” in food advertisements means less filling, less cloying, easier, more refreshing, less calories, and in most cases less nourishment. The concept is now being applied to other areas of life where overload is likely, as for example, the need for useful cultural information in a global and mobile world.In the Know in Mexico & Central America is a good example of this trend to hand over only the essentials in an easily digestible form. It is clearly pitched to a US American audience, and its greatest strength is...

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Condon, John C., Good Neighbors: Communicating with the Mexicans (2nd Edition)

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at www.diversophy.comSlim and knowledgeableRarely do books grow in importance in their subsequent editions. John Condon's Good Neighbors: is one that increases in value for our times. No one who looks at the demographics and traffic between Mexico and the US can underestimate the impact that these two nations will have on each other in the coming century. How important it is for of both sides of the border to discard their biases and to be accurately informed about each other!I am not tempted to call this scant 88-page text "an overview." True, it does not...

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Hofner Saphiere, Dianne and Yuko Kipnis, Shinrai: Building Trusting Relationships with Japanese Colleagues

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at www.diversophy.comLanguage teaching without cultural insight is inherently faulted—like learning the parts of an automobile by reading the manual, and then believing oneself licensed to drive. On the other hand, cross-cultural savvy without some language familiarity severely limits one’s effectiveness. Earning a degree in intercultural or international studies without another language and being able to code experience from a second perspective is unthinkable but all to common.In the 1960’s Brazilian activist Paolo Freire began to teach people to read and write, not as neutral skill sets, but as political tools to better their lives and...

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Koutlaki, Sofia, Among the Iranians: A guide to Iran’s Culture and Customs

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at www.diversophy.comAt a time when public awareness of Iran seems limited to political ranting over its nuclear ambitions, Among the Iraniansis a welcome insight into the rich history, customs and peoples of this both ancient and contemporary land.Sofia Kotlaki’s work is the kind of book I hope to write some day, a combination of intensely personal experiences and stories as well as cultural historical, demographic and geographical perspectives scrutinized and presented in context in a digestible and useful fashion. One has the feeling of having been invited to a magnificent buffet of delicious facts, of...

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Davies, Paul, What’s This India Business? Offshoring, Outsourcing and the Global Services Revolution

Reviewed by Dr. George Simons at diversophy.comComplete with pungent anecdotesThis next decade will certainly see an extraordinary and painful reorganization of the social, cultural and economic orders, first because of the increasing free movement of labor across borders, and secondly, and much harder to manage, the free movement of work via telecommunications and information technology. Both create both new hopes and significant disruptions in the populations affected and the organizations that conduct them. Paul Davies, now MD of a consultancy for Onshore-Offshore, previously was responsible for transferring business processes to Unisys India. The fact that working for the Indian part...

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