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Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries 0th Edition

32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 004-5079004443
ISBN-10: 1558504443
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Editorial Reviews Review

In a global economy, it is crucial for business people to be sensitive to cultural differences. And although the best reason for doing so may be ethical, it's great for business as well! This is an invaluable book for "doing well while doing good" in your intercultural relations, covering the protocols of appointments, business entertaining, greetings, forms of address, gestures, dress, and gifts in 60 of the nations you're most likely to be doing business. Some interesting excerpts:

  • Australia: The "thumbs-up" sign, which in the U.S. indicates "O.K." is considered rude.
  • Brazil: The colors of the Brazilian flag are green and yellow, so avoid wearing this combination in any fashion.
  • China: Avoid making exaggerated gestures or using dramatic facial expressions. The Chinese do not generally use their hands when speaking, and become distracted by a speaker who does.
  • Indonesia: Since it is impolite to disagree with someone, Indonesians rarely say "no"...a clear way to indicate "no" is to suck in air through the teeth.

The authors are very aware that no generalizations apply to all residents of a nation, and are careful not to stereotype or judge. Highly recommended to any business traveler--or any student of the diversity of human cultures.

(Note: a great companion volume for this book is Gestures, which is devoted entirely to explaining the varieties of hand gestures in 82 countries!)

From Library Journal

Written by executives who prepare other executives for international travel and one Fulbright scholar in cross-cultural communication, this work is a godsend for rapidly growing international collections. It is affordable, to-the-point, and easily understood book by those who as yet have no stamps on their passports. The introduction discusses cognitive styles, value systems, and negotiation strategies in different cultures, explaining how delicate they make the process of intercultural relations. Sixty countries are examined in terms of background, cultural orientation, business practices (e.g., negotiating, entertaining), and protocol (e.g., gestures, dress). Morrison and cohorts cover some countries not included by more costly "Doing Business In" publications by Business International and Price Waterhouse. The average entry length is five pages-more than Brigham Young University's Culturgrams (Garrett Park Pr., 1993. 2d ed.). Recommended for all business and international studies collections.
Lisa K. Miller, Paradise Valley Community Coll. Lib., Phoenix
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Bob Adams, Inc. (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558504443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558504448
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Oskar Lindström on March 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a complete joke. It was recently ridiculed in a Swedish business weekly for its description of Sweden. According to the book's authors:

1. The indigenous population in the north of the country are called lapps. The expression sami is somewhat derogatory. In fact it's the opposite! This is as if a European guide book on doing business in the US suggested their readers use the word "negro" instead of "african-american." Also, the Sami number some 20,000 persons, not really vital information if you are visiting a country of 9 million people. Moreover, comparing them to American indians or Australian aborigines is somewhat misleading, the non-sami population groups began to settle what is today Sweden sometime 2000 BC.

2. According to the book English is spoken in the major cities but if they plan to do business outside of the urban centres, they should speak German! This may have been true fifty years ago. A visiting US business person would should definately stick to English, German (with a US accent as well, I presume) will not get you very far.

In short, this book seems as if it's been written based on what the authors could find from a quick scan on the internet.

2. Most people in Sweden speak English.
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Shellhase on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
For we who live in the US, our knowledge of the geography, language, and customs of other countries is sometimes appalling.
So, it's a good thing there are books like this to help relieve our gauche-ness and keep the egg off our faces whether traveling or putting our businesses out on the Internet.
An alphabetical listing from Argentina through Venezuela, each country section has a small line map with the name of the capital city located inside.
They all begin with a short cultural note, followed by:
=> Country Background: Short history; Type of government; Language; Religion; Demographics.
=> Cultural Orientation: Cognitive styles; Negotiation style; Value Systems.
=> Business Practices: Appointments; Negotiating; Business entertainment; Time (in relation to Greenwich Mean Time).
=> Protocol: Greetings; Titles/forms of address; Gestures; Dress; Gifts.
Things you might not know include:
=> more than 14 major languages are spoken in India
=> in Ecuador, make appointments about 2 weeks in advance
=> literacy is almost 100% in Russia
=> Danes tend to get down to business right away, with a minimum of small talk
=> in Malaysia, one who expresses anger in public has shamefully lost face
=> nearly all Egyptians speak Arabic. Most business people who deal with foreigners speak English, French, or both
The appendix contains interesting & valuable information, too. I especially liked the pictures of phone, electrical, & ground adaptors. There's an entire page of metric equivalents for those who don't use them daily. Morrison includes a page about travel medical insurance, too.
What's missing? Information about African countries is nearly non-existent.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Justo S. on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I compared the information in this book about my own country and the one I'm living and it is almost correct; at least, if you follow what it says, you would not have problems when dealing with people from those places.
I have met people from several countries and so I know much of the information in the book is right and useful, as well.
In 4 to 10 pages per country, you'll learn the basis of history, language, people's way to handle information, and so on. It's a very good starting point. Moreover, I liked very much the political correctness of this book: The style is very respectful of cultures and people (in most cases).
Two problems: 1) It should include more countries. It would be a nice resource of data about the places the people you meet come from. 2) The information should be updated, let's say, in a web page, since the world changes continuosly.
However, you'll get a very nice picture about the places and people described in the book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on July 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
I searched for a book like this for several years after becoming an international sales manager, and had almost decided to write a similar text when I happened across Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. It's now a reference guide for everyone in our office who travels to, purchases from or sells to international vendors or customers. Great information in an easily understood format. Some statements are by necessity generalizations, but if you follow the guidelines in the book, you'll never offend a potential international business partner. I've given K,B or SH to several business associates - but never to competitors.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Overall its a pretty good reference and will provide useful insights. However, its focus is on persons travelling to these countries. If you are looking for help in how to deal with people using E-Mail, phone, etc. it is lacking. For instance, it needs more coverage of how names and titles and should be dealt with. If you are contacted via E-Mail by someone naned Gu Wing-Dang you might ask: is this a woman or man? If you're not sure, what's the best address? The book covers some of these topics but it is spotty and depends on the specific country you are looking for information on.
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