I just finished a great book that anyone planning on moving cross culturally should pick up and read. The book, Foreign to Familiar, is short (127 pages), incredibly helpful, and fun to read.
The basic premiss of Foreign to Familiar is one we all intuitively know – cultures carry a shared set of values, beliefs, traditions and world views and each is different from your own. Writing from a life time of experience living in different cultures in all areas of the world, and drawing from the vast academic writing that has been done on the topic, author Sarah Lanier, does a masterful job of giving helpful insights supported by entertaining and poignant stories.
Using the basic idea that there hot climate and cold climate cultures, the book then dives into topics such as relationship versus task orientation, direct versus indirect communication, individualism versus group identity, inclusion versus privacy and many more.
Of all the books I have read on the subject, none has seemed more helpful than this one. I wish I had read it long before I moved cross culturally to Mexico and later to Turkey.
As I have returned to the states now and as North America becomes more and more diverse, this is a book I think everyone should read – even those who don’t plan on moving abroad.
Buy it here -> Foreign to Familiar
Another great book which is perhaps more entertaining but deals less with the practical applications of the information given is A Geography of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist.
*All links to the books above are affiliate links.