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Denmark - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture Paperback – September 5, 2006
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About the Author
MARK SALMON grew up in Ireland, and is a Jurist and Educator. After graduating from Trinity College, Dublin, he practiced company and commercial law for ten years, before resuming his studies at the National University of Ireland and earning an M.A. in English Literature. He immigrated to Denmark in 1998, where he works as a TEFL teacher specializing in Business English, and as a translator and cultural consultant. He has traveled extensively throughout Denmark and Europe.
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Also he seems to dwell a lot on Danes and alcohol. If Danes like craft beers, what's wrong with that? Weird that a Briton(!) would have so much issue with ale.
Denmark's most intriguing feature is that it's a very high-trust and creative society. This leads to a number of customs and institutions that are really unique, and which the author doesn't address. You can't really understand Denmark and Danish people or their vibrant society without accounting for and taking into account this fact.
The author just can't seem to abandon his Britishness long enough to be able to provide a real feel of the Danish way of life from the inside. He doesn't seem aware of or able to articulate the various drifts of Danish culture and why they matter.
The best part of this book may be his section on business meetings. Not sure however that many people buy this book to learn how to give Powerpoint slideshows to Danes.
This isn't to say Denmark is super-perfect. The flaws of the society are often noted by Danes themselves, but this book doesn't really describe them from the Danish point of view. As a result, what Danes talk or care about in their contemporary life won't be comprehensible to visitors.
Being now several years old, of course the book's out-dated in a number of important facts. The publisher should update this book, expand the business and social sections to be more detailed (and thus useful) for those actually on a business trip, and remove the prejudiced comments about Danish politics, the social welfare state, and alcohol.
The book should also offer more about the creative and technological aspects of Danish society, which really drive it: the giant design industry, international finance, environmentalism & the alternative energy industry, the new high-technology such as pharmaceutical engineering, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, film, fine art, dance, and agriculture combined with the foodie renaissance. Few societies have really molded themselves to the Internet and mobile technology the way Denmark has, but the book scarcely notes this at all.
I would not mind at all to reccomend it.
I purchased this book, and have read through it. It has proven an extreme disappointment. I anticipated an in-depth understanding of Danish culture and mannerisms. Instead, the book is pedantic; it glazes over topics with massive generalizations. Also, I was a bit surprised by a perceived political 'bent' in the book -- indeed, it appeared that the author was rather judgmental on a number of socio-economic aspects of Danish life.
This is the type of book that you would expect to find hyped in the 1950s -- short on content/information, short on a perceived, unbiased perspective. I found little useful information of use on "customs and etiquette." A travel book from a noteworthy company (such as Fodders, Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Frommers, etc.) would likely provide you as much, if not vastly more, relevant information for your trip to Denmark.
Again, this was not easy for me to write. Simply, I felt such disappointment with the book that I felt it necessitated a critical comment.