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Carry a Chicken in Your Lap: Or Whatever It Takes to Globalize Your Business Hardcover – October 27, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When companies embrace global commerce-which veteran businessmen Johnson and Ayres believe is, in most cases, the right choice-much can go wrong. To keep that from happening, Johnson and Ayres delve into the economics, legalities, culture shock, personnel and travel practicalities (including the permutations of jet lag), to demonstrate the right way to get your business a global footing. Relationships are paramount, as is the right attitude: "The international arena is no place for the weak in character." Although some advice seems simplistic-"No matter what country you are sent to, reach out to the local people with humility"-there's plenty of easy-to-overlook common sense tips that should help develop a reader's perspective: "American companies should shed their previously strong sense of exceptionalism," and simple transparency can "keep your company out of a lot of trouble and limit the damage" when mistakes occur. Further tools include a useful foreign phrase-book and time conversion charts, which one might not think are so important; Johnson and Ayres's discussion of what can go wrong, however, will convince otherwise.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“In a word, this book is outstanding. It presents basic but not usually well-known information in a delightfully interesting way, laced with the authors’ personal experiences. Carry a Chicken in Your Lap should be required reading for every person contemplating an overseas assignment, as well as anyone who is contemplating an overseas business. Senior executives who will make the final critical decision regarding the person(s) best suited for this assignment will undoubtedly benefit from this fine book. . . . A most worthy addition to the current storehouse of knowledge regarding the underlying difficulties in doing business outside of North America. [This] book sums it up in an easy-to-read but fascinating style.”—Richard Zimmerman, former CEO of Hershey Foods

 “Too many firms look at foreign markets as just another trip to MacDonald’s—same stuff, just a different location. And they pay for that misperception with failure, over and over. What these authors have done is to take much of the guesswork and all those bad ideas out of the effort of starting up in a new place where more is different than just the language and the scenery. Local customs, traditions and long-established work habits, family structures, and even diet all play a role in success and therefore in failure of any endeavor in a new place. If you think foreign markets are for you, this book is both tour guide and key; what they have done is to turn the lights on to that new and sometimes thorny path. Plus, it’s a great read!”—Greg Garrison, former CBS News legal analyst and host of The Greg Garrison Show


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312565534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312565534
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,516,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Aylott on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book brings back a lot of memories of my ex-pat childhood. Over five years in Japan, I met several of the types of people described in this book, and heard horror stories about the rest. Based on that, this book rings true to me.

A lot of the advice in the book is classic "how to get along overseas" advice; what's new is the argument that some business people can not get along, and should never be sent. I think that's always been true, but I've never seen anyone dare to say it before.

It's also fun to read a book where the co-author is an old friend. There is a story involving Bill and some visiting Japanese dignitaries, and I can just hear him calling out a greeting to them.

Overall, a very solid book and a must-read for anybody new to the international business scene.
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Format: Hardcover
This book came as a total breath of fresh air to me: finally someone informing North Americans about the value of the relationship when doing business offshore; instead of focusing on the Power Point presentation, the Excel spreadsheet and the ROI. Throughout the world, people do business with family and friends. Americans call it nepotism and pretend it's incestuous and evil to do so. Imagine how far apart their minds are when one tries to assess how gratifying it will be to talk to that person for the next twenty years when the North American interlocutor is in the transaction to get his commission paid and his job done... International business is an art and I am relieved to see that these two gentlemen dared to say the unspeakable: not everybody is suited to do international business. What a concept and what a reality! I have seen my share of unsuited people traveling the world for a living and I wish that everyone stepping on a plane for business would have this book assigned as required reading.
I love the book and recommend it to anyone who has to hire people for offshore assignments or plans on going abroad for business purpose. These two gentlemen know their stuff and we owe them big thanks!
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Format: Hardcover
In The Music Man, the 1950s Broadway musical, a chorus of traveling salesmen sings, "You've got to know the territory!" in an old-time train car chugging toward Iowa. The drummers' point is that you'll never get ahead if you don't understand the region where you work, its people and its customs. If this is true of rural Iowa, it's even more true of Bahrain, East Timor or Botswana. Unfortunately, many companies fail to prepare their employees for overseas assignments, or they send people who are completely wrong for the jobs. In this book, international commerce experts Bruce Alan Johnson and R. William Ayres explain what kinds of people are suited for overseas jobs, what kinds are not and the training international employees require. getAbstract recommends this book to executives and managers responsible for overseas assignments and staffing, as well as to anyone who plans to work abroad.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a clever book and an easy read. It is highly entertaining, but also full of important lessons. I recommend this book for anyone traveling abroad, whether it be on business, for study abroad, or for vacation. This book warns readers of cultural misteps to be avoided when setting foot outside the U.S.
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