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on May 17, 2001
I bought both this book and Axtell's 'Gestures' to help with research I am carrying out. I have not read either from cover to cover yet, as I have been brought to a confusing full stop. In 'Gestures' I am told that in Egypt one should eat everything on the plate, and yet in 'Do's and Taboos' I am told that it is impolite to eat everything! There is also a discrepency in the meaning of the 'two finger tap' - in 'Gestures' this means 'let's be together' but in 'Do's and Taboos' it is rude and indicates either that a couple are sleeping together or that you are being invited to sleep with the tapper! With anomolies such as these appearing just from the first country I have looked at, I feel I cannot take any of the information offered as reliable. The books are therefore, in my view, only to be considered as light reading giving a very rough overview but bearing in mind that there are errors which could lead to very embarrassing situations - and the whole reason for buying the books was to avoid such situations.
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on October 22, 2002
Do�s and Taboos Around the World was written in the mid-eighties for American businessmen who regularly traveled abroad meeting foreign clients. I bought this book to help teach culture shock to my Japanese EFL students, and, by and large, I am quite pleased that I have it on my shelf. Even though there is a lot less information about women than men, and some information, such as gift giving, appears to be specifically for business people, there is enough general information about many different countries� cultures to make interesting reading. The chapter on body language and gestures appeared to be well researched, and my students were able to learn many things from teaching material that I made using the book as a reference. There may be some people who would read Do�s and Taboos and say that the author has distilled a nation�s people to a simple stereotype, and to a point I wouldn�t be able to disagree with that. However, if I ever found myself in the company of people whose culture I were ignorant of, it would be nice to be able to scan this book for do�s, taboos, likes and dislikes, and give myself a reasonable introduction on what I might be likely to encounter. This book is most useful for business travelers, but it is also useful for tourists and travelers, or anyone living in a culture other than their own.
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on May 28, 2001
This title offered so much promise. I was really looking forward to reading it and ofcourse decided to start by checking the two countries I know really well, Australia and Japan. Well disappointment just isn't strong enough. How can you trust a book that makes major errors when talking about cultures that you know? Frankly, I can not recommend this book to anyone given the inaccurate out dated infomation I found in the two countries I know really well... Surely there are better books on foreign cultures than this. If not it is not suprizing that Americans have difficulty in understanding people from other countries!
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on March 8, 2006
I am from Prague, Czech Republic, Europe.

In the books it says that our country lacks common things and that people will be grateful even for small gifts, such as ball-point pens etc since it is hard to get here.

I could not believe it when I have read it !

Did the author mix up Czech Republic with war-battered Cecnia or something ???

What a nonsence the statement in the book, even if it is from 1993 or whatever. You would look utterly ridiculous giving someone a pen. We actually have a subway, cars, shopping malls....its not like we live up in trees.

The author made CZ look like some third-world hunger stricken country. I do not trust him owith other countries since my country is so mis-judgingly described in the book.
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VINE VOICEon April 11, 2004
The basis of this wonderful book is to show the customs, protocol and laws in societies that may be vastly different from the society in which you live.

The book is categorized according to country, and includes cartoon type illustrations of face gestures, hand and arm gestures, and what they mean. In some countries the same gesture has a completely different meaning, which anyone who uses a lot of body language would do well to learn.

The section on Graceful Gift Giving brings valuable insight so as not to insult anyone from different lands, as gift giving is viewed in different ways according to different cultures.

Whether you are going on a business trip, or are traveling for academics or adventure overseas, it is important to learn the customs of each country.

On a personal note, if you ever go to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, do NOT sit on the rock from which Mohammed Ascended (as I innocently did to pray for world peace) because you can be murdered or jailed for that alone - unless you happen to have a professor who is fluent in Arabic that saves you from harsh penalties, which I was fortunate enough to have. ASK about the Sacred sites in Sacred lands BEFORE you attempt to touch or sit on anything.

Do's and Taboos also provides commonly used terms spelled out phonetically from many lands, so that you can converse among the locals graciously.

Highly recommended for all international travelers.

Barbara Rose, Ph.D. author of Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE and If God Was Like Man
Editor, inspire! magazine
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on October 22, 1998
Although it is couched in humor and packed with adventurous tales, this book covers a serious subject! It is so easy to destroy a mutually-advantageous export sale by saying or doing the socially incorrect thing while in a foreign country. Regardless of your international travel experience, it is a good idea to read (or review) this book BEFORE you depart on your next overseas trip. Mr. Axtell is an expert on how to behave in foreign countries and has written other equally valuable travel books. Our consulting staff recommends the "Do's and Taboos Around the World" to every client who is planning an overseas business trip. John R. Jagoe, Director, Export Institute
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on April 22, 1998
The book is o.k.. It contains some good, practical, quick advice. However, it won't help you deeply understand the people you're dealing with. For that, a book like «The Seven Cultures of Capitalism» is a lot better. With «The Seven Cultures», you'll learn why Hollanders accept criticism a lot better than Italians and that the French and the Japanese are pretty much alike on many aspects. But then, haute cuisine isn't always what one looks for.
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on January 21, 2006
There is so much data stuffed into this book about so many cultures that its almost overwhelming! This is an impressive book covering many countries and most of the information is still current, despite the fact the last version was copywrited back in the 1990s.

I'd recommend this book for culture buffs as well as for general writers. A great source of ideas.
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on May 24, 2008
The book was in good shape just as advertised, and I received it in a timely manner.

With the demographics changing in America, it's no longer just good enough to understand different cultures in our travels, but right here at home. As we continue to see more immigrants from all over the world coming to our country we must understand their customs and communication style to be effective business people and friends.
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on November 26, 2011
I owned the original version of this book, but wanted a newer one to share with the local Rotary. They were extremely interested in my topic and discussion that some wanted to own the book for themselves. (So I gave it away). Additionally, they found the hints and essential information important to working with diverse employees. I recommend this book and it's companions to all employers and those traveling.
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