Customer Reviews: Germany: Unraveling an Enigma
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on September 7, 2000
Finally - a well-researched and up-to-date book on Germany and the Germans. The author gives some historical background, an overview of German cultural themes, a comparison between typical German and American communication patterns, and an overview of the German business model and business beharviors. The last chapter is devoted to exploring the changes in German society at the turn of the 21st century. As one of them (yes, I am German), I have felt accurately portrayed, without the stereotypical mindlessnesses that tends to charactarize a lot of American authors writing about Germany. Two thumbs up! This book is a gem.
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on May 6, 2002
Like Nees, I have also live in both the US and Germany, and this book was really informative. I learned to understand my German culture in a way I never had before. It explained all of those "German" things that I do. I think this book is an essential step for those who are learning about Germany and its culture.
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on August 30, 2004
As an American living in Germany, I've become accustomed to asking "why?", this book has given me many of the answers. Now I understand the German social market economy, German communication styles, the importance of formality and work/non-work divisions, the importance that Germans give to "doing something right the first time", etc.
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on August 23, 2006
The book overall is quite good. Also, as a German, I can speak to its incredible accuracy in terms of our custums/traditions and how they differ from those in America. I enjoyed chapter 4 the most and as I was reading it only for enjoyment purposes did not really benefit from the discussion of the differing business practices. However, if you are an American unfamiliar with us and will be doing business in Germany or with Germans it is a definite must read. It is well worth the price of the book.
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on March 27, 2008
This book may be a little out dated here and there (thats why only 4 star) but it still serves the purpose nonetheless. I studied abroad in Germany for 6 months and this gave me an amazing insight into the culture of Germany. Put it on as your #1 on your reading list while in Germany or before going. It will help you cope very well. My other study abroad friends also found it very insightful.

It is also a nice quick well thought out book.
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on March 18, 2009
Other than the fact that this book is somewhat dated (it was written in the late 1990's), I cannot complain about this book.

On to what I love about this wonderful gem of a book. I am an American, and have no idea when my ancestors came over from Germany, but I do know it was no earlier than the mid-1800's. Our German heritage has never really been discussed amongst my family. Not out of shame, but probably just out of disinterest- for everyone but me. I have always been proud to be a descendent of Germany, though until I read this book, I couldn't really articulate why exactly.

Reading this book, in some ways, felt like coming home. I was amazed at how much of the German ways are still in me and my family. It must be genetic, but it still astounded me.

I really learned a lot about both old Germany and modern Germany. I liked the decisiveness the author spoke of about the German people, and it was obvious that the author held the Germans in high regard.

He did not flinch from his talk about Nazism, nor did he dwell on it. It was a part of the book, but not a gigantic part. The Germans have done much to try and make up for what happened in WWII, some of which the author talks about. He makes no excuses, but also doesn't focus on placing blame. It was a refreshing and objective look at the whole subject.

Most of all, I was astounded at the difference between Americans and Germans in terms of the business world. As a long-time office worker, I was admittedly jealous of the organized ways and practicality the Germans seem to display in business, as well as the forthright manner in which they handle situations. I loved how the author stressed how thorough and deliberate the German people are (as a whole, of course, I don't mean to stereotype anyone). I really respect the strong work ethic balanced with the demand by employees of 6 weeks of vacation time and no or little overtime to work. American employers and employees can learn a great deal from this book. In fact, I think that it should be required reading for all American managers. I have actually bought this book & given it to a few of my own bosses over the years!

I think that anyone who is curious about Germany must read this book. I re-read it every year or so and get more out of it every time. It is the best book I have ever found on the subject of post-war Germany.
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on November 20, 2010
I am American and have a degree from a German university in translation and lived in Germany for over 8 years. I have to say that this book is simply brilliant and really explains what makes the Germans tick. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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on April 6, 2007
I couldn't stop reading this book. It is done in an academic style much like a college text but I was still captivated over the detailed explanations of the cultural and behavioral differences. Keep an open mind when reading how others might perceive American culture. Enjoyable and informative!
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on January 23, 2012
What I wanted: I am moving to Germany this month and thought I should pick up a book to help understand the cultural gap between Americans and Germans.

What I got: Exactly what I was looking for. The book covers the the German identity from the Roman times till about 2001. Topics cover everything from Germans struggle to come to terms with WWII, business, personal life, and its changing socio-economic developments. I have lived in Italy for a couple years and made friends with several Germans. This book helped me understand a lot about my German friends that I didn't realize before. It helped me understand that although Germans and Americans are similar in many things, they are still very distant.

I think this is a good read for anyone spending a significant amount of time in Germany. It will paint a pretty good picture of what the German culture is like.

I felt that the book towards the end became very repetitive. I am not sure if there is an updated edition that brings it through 2011, but overall I think this book will be invaluable to my integration.
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on June 14, 2013
My wife and I are planning a trip to Germany in 2014. I am half German and half Irish. We did Ireland in 2014 and it was better than we imagined. This book really helps to understand the German people and will assist us in planning our trip. It also helped me understand my own thinking and traits that are so German. My people came over from Freinsheim, Germany in 1723 and got 300 acres of prime farm land in Pennsburg, Pa. Our portion of the family later came to East Liverpool, Ohio and obtained a 420 acre farm. We live on 20 acres of the farm and so look forward to our visit to Freinsheim and the rest of Germany. This book would help anyone planning a trip to Germany for finding your roots as we will do or for doing business with the Germans. The book is also great for the history of Germany and their customs. Author Greg Nees has done a great job of capturing Germany and her people. Try a demo on your Kindle and I am sure you will be very pleased. Mike Fisher
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