32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Useful for Appreciating Swedes,
This review is from: Modern-Day Vikings: A Pracical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes (Interact Series) (Perfect Paperback)
This one is a keeper. I bought it after living in Sweden for a bit over 4½ years. There were things about living in Sweden that I was having trouble appreciating; sometimes there was an underlying "cultural current" that wouldn't decode for me. After the first read, Robinowitz & Carr's book gave me some more pieces to the puzzle I was holding. Subsequent readings have added more pieces.
I strongly recommend purchase of your own copy of this book for reference and note-taking. Any culture is a set of unwritten rules. The authors have done an excellent job of capturing much of that which is unwritten. The book starts with a brief history of Sweden - which helps to give a perspective on modern Swedes and Swedish culture. In following chapters they go on to give a good overview of modern Sweden and some of the more visible aspects of Swedish culture. A part about the Swedish flag is typical of the kind of information they give (Swedes seem to use their flag to declare their Swedish identity in contrast, Americans might be said to give the US flag a loyalty). The chapter on a cultural value/belief/behavior called "Jantelagen" was particularly valuable as it helped me to better understand behaviors and to "release the right responses" during the course of daily living activities (Edward T. Hall writes about releasing the right responses in "Understanding Cultural Differences").
Other chapters give clear and easy to read descriptions of a number of important social and business values, beliefs and behaviors. I figure that the amount I spent on this book is nothing in comparison to the value it has returned. Time invested in reading has saved me time later as I more quickly understood unspoken parts of "messages". If you're going to have more than a superficial, touristy kind of contact with Swedes - in Sweden or anywhere else in the world - you'll likely be glad for the advice this book offers.