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Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot - And Cold - Climate Cultures Paperback – October 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Sarah Lanier is not only a perceptive author, but she has also lived and worked cross culturally worldwide. I have observed Sarah professionally, as a teacher and consultant, on six continents. She has character, insight and experience that qualify her to share intercultural wisdom that will be live-changing for her readers. --Loren cunningham, President University of the Nations --Loren Cunningham

The "Foreign" in the title of this most-helpful book once meant people and culters "overseas". Today that has all changed. Sarah Lanier has captured the keys to understanding our own--and other's--way of doing and saying things. I guarantee that if you follow the principles in this book that the boundaries of your world view will expand. --Peter Jordon

The "Foreign" in the title of this most-helpful book once meant people and culters "overseas". Today that has all changed. Sarah Lanier has captured the keys to understanding our own--and other's--way of doing and saying things. I guarantee that if you follow the principles in this book that the boundaries of your world view will expand. --Peter Jordon

About the Author

Sarah A Lanier was born in Georgia USA and moved with her family to the Middle East at the age of nine. Since 1980 she has worked with an international and interdenominational organization and its university system. Her expertise is in the field of leadership and personnel development.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: McDougal Publishing Company; 1st edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581580223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581580228
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Russ Reaves on January 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sarah A. Lanier, Foreign to Familiar (Hagerstown, MD: McDougal Publishing,

2000), 128pp.

In her book Foreign to Familiar, Sarah Lanier seeks to aid the reader in

cross-cultural communication and relationships by highlighting the differences

between hot- and cold-climate cultures. While these concepts are unfamiliar to

most readers, Lanier quickly introduces and defines the categories before

discussing them in detail. Having lived in the Middle East, South America, Africa,

Europe, and New Zealand, Lanier (who is American) is certainly qualified to

address the issue. The reader gets the impression while reading that this book is

the fruit of her own experiences and frequent lectures on the subject in

different settings.

According to Lanier, "the population of the entire world can roughly be

divided into two parts. The two groups represented are 'hot-climate'

(relationship-based) cultures and 'cold-climate' (task-oriented) cultures" (15-16). Lanier

recognizes there may some overlap in the two categories, and cites one unnamed

person who suggested that she use the terms "hot/tribal" and "cold/urban"

(127). She also recognizes that personalities differ within each culture (128).

The primary distinction between the two cultures is that of relational focus as

opposed to task focus. Those in the warm-climates tend to emphasize the

relationships involved between individuals while those in cold-climates focus on the

efficient performance of tasks.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Louise Leopold on June 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a college Professor, I have been using this book as a textbook to help my students learn how to communicate cross-culturally for almost 2 years now. It is a real eye openner both for students from Mid-America and for students from Latin America and Asia. It is so easy to be mis-understood. This study can heal the wounds and rejection that many people feel when they try to relate at work and in the community. Better yet, it can help us to prevent the hurts in the first place. I give it an A+.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Foreign to Familiar" is a short very easy to read book that really is far more helpful than I could have ever imagined. As an anglo who has had relationships with hispanics my entire life I thought I understood hispanic people pretty well. After reading the book I now understand why some of the most important people in my life have made such stinging criticisms of me. They believe I am selfish and egotistical, I believed that they couldn't make decisions, were foolish with thier money, and let their family take advantage of them. I now understand why my friends act the way they do and can begin to see myself through their eyes. I wish someone could have taught me this stuff 20 years ago.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book really opened my eyes to the differences in various cultures groups and why communications were sometimes muddied or difficult. My job often requires communicating by mail or email with professionals in other countries, so this book has been a tremendous help in learning how to understand people in other cultures. The author breaks down the world's cultures into two basic categories: hot climate and cold climate. She then discusses the cultural differences in these two groups including the ways they communicate. The explanations on how time is perceived differently by each group and on indirect versus direct communications were so valuable! The book has changed the way I correspond with Africans, Hispanics, and Asians totally! Thanks so much, Sarah, for knowing how important this information was and for putting it into a book!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Sarah Lanier's Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold-Climate Cultures (McDougal Publishing, 2000) is a helpful little book for anyone involved in cross-cultural ministry. A seasoned missionary, Lanier recounts many stories that help provide insight into the reasons why people react in distinct ways in different cultures. The book describes some of the differences between what Lanier calls "hot-climate" and "cold-climate" cultures.

Here is an example: cold-climate cultures are task driven while warm-climate cultures are relationship driven. We in the West tend to think about getting something done and getting it done on time. Those in warm climate cultures consider the entire event. In some places it is offensive to arrive to dinner on time (because it makes it seem like you are only arriving for the task and not the relationship). In other places it is offensive to arrive to dinner late (because it makes you seem like you are not respecting the other person's time.)

Lanier also shows how the type of communication differs from culture to culture. After all, in a hot-climate culture, communication takes place indirectly. It seeks to maintain the atmosphere of friendship, whatever the cost.

The only weakness of Foreign to Familiar is also its strength. The strength of the book is its brevity and immediate accessibility. But in the interest of brevity, Laner makes major generalizations, and therein lies its only weakness.

Still, as an introduction to understanding the differences between different kinds of culture, Foreign to Familiar is terrific. Pick it up and start learning how to navigate the murky waters of contextualization!
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