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Multicultural Manners: Essential Rules of Etiquette for the 21st Century 1st Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471684282
ISBN-10: 0471684287
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Your friend's mother-in-law is visiting from Korea. When greeting her, do you bow, shake hands, or kiss her on both cheeks?

The meeting with his international customers is going well for the corporate president—until he gives the thumbs-up sign. Why?

You welcome your new neighbors with a bouquet of your prizewinning daffodils. Yet your beautiful yellow blossoms are met with looks of shock and horror. Why?

Discover the answers in this incisive, award-winning guide to etiquette, now thoroughly revised to reflect today's truly multicultural society. Both highly informative and entertaining, Multicultural Manners gives you the understanding you need, the perfect words to say, and the correct behavior to use in a wide range of cross-cultural situations.

The book features completely updated etiquette guidelines with special emphasis on post–September 11 culture clashes as well as a brand-new section that demystifies unfamiliar cultures in the news. Norine Dresser identifies key cross-cultural hot spots and suggests methods that foster respect for diversity. You'll discover:

  • The dos and don'ts of successful business and social interaction with people from different cultures
  • Appropriate etiquette regarding body language, food, child rearing, clothing, word choices, colors, entertaining, romance, and gift giving
  • Detailed tips on avoiding embarrassment at work, in the classroom, in health care settings, on business trips, at meals, at weddings, at funerals, and on vacations and holidays
  • Amusing firsthand accounts of cultural gaffes that illustrate how miscues happen—and how to avoid them
  • A breakdown of customs, religions, languages, and ethnicities for seventy different countries

About the Author

NORINE DRESSER is a professional consultant, speaker, folklorist, and educator. From 1993 to 2001, she wrote the award-winning "Multicultural Manners" column for the Los Angeles Times. Dresser has been interviewed on the Voice of America and numerous other radio and TV shows.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471684287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471684282
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wish that everyone would read this book, just to be aware that different cultures have different mores, and if someone is "foreign" to you, their manners may seem very odd. It is necessary not to jump to conclusions. Of course, since so much of communication is non-verbal, it's also difficult not to.

Obviously, one cannot adopt a single set of manners that would suit all people since people often have opposite customs. I worked with one group of people that hated to have money left on the counter, and another that preferred to have money left on the counter, and it was hard to remember to switch. Dresser notes that not all people from one country have the same customs, and as people live in the US for a few generations, they may forget ethnic customs. She tells a story on herself: visiting Hmong-Americans, she insists on removing her shoes, only to find out that the family has dropped that custom. Fortunately, I think most people appreciate the attempt to be polite, even if one stumbles from time to time.

The book is told mainly in the form of anecdotes about cultural miscommunications, with explanations of customs of various societies. After this is a section listing many, although not all individual countries. This is followed by an extensive bibliography and an index.

The index is one of the weakest points of the book. If one wants to use the book to learn customs for a specific group of people, the cross-indexing is erratic. If one is looking for Iranian customs, one also needs to look up Muslim and Middle-Easterners, but there are no cross references for this, although there are for some entries.

A useful book, if one is going to be interacting with a known group of people. Otherwise, at least a reminder that customs vary.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book to have a major flaw in it's organization. There is a useful information about the customs and mannerisms of people from various cultures, but it is arranged by subject rather than by location. For instance, information about people from Taiwan might be located in several sections throughout the book, within sections such as "Greetings", "Holidays", etc. Each of these sections contains very brief information about the topic as it pertains to people from a few (not all) different countries. I find this layout to be very problematic. If I am in need of information about a different culture, most likely because I am either travelling to a certain country or will be interacting with a person from a certain country, it would be much easer to have information organized by location. One section on "Taiwan", etc., rather than having to look in multiple places throughout the book for what ends up being a sentence or two worth of limited information.
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I was rather disappointed with this book since i was expecting more of a reference for social interactions than what was discussed. It was also very west coast and spoke at length about Hispanics and Laotians. In our midwest area, we have a strong Arabic community, and others which were not even mentioned. It really did not give a basis for the cultural reasons for the difficult interactions and it seemed more of a personal reflection than anything like etiquette in the genre of Emily Post or Miss Manners which is what i wanted.
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Etiquette is strongly based on culture and even within a country, geographical differences will impact the local culture so what might been deemed acceptable in the south, may be quite different in the north. To lump multi-countries' culture into generic headings makes this book way too broad that it becomes totally useless!
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Format: Paperback
I am an Asian American living in New York City so I know a little about each culture. I grew with people of every culture. This book claims that Korean culture interprets smiling as shallow and thoughtless. "The man who smiles a lot is not a real man." I have worked at and been to a number of Korean establishments owned by tradition Koreans and they always encourage their employs to smile. Even the pop culture is the same. The book also says that Japanese women used to shave their eyebrows and blacken their teeth to hide their expressions, but in reality it was just the standard of beauty in that era. It also says that it is "perfectly acceptable for two women or two men to walk in public holding hands" and this applies to Asians, Latinos, French, etc... It implies that only in America is this viewed as a homosexual act. It says for Asians smiling can mean disagreement, anger, or frustration, confusion, or a substitute for "I'm sorry". Well I'm sorry but this book is ridiculous. If I told my parents this they would probably think it's a joke. My dad is Chinese and he has never smiled when he is angry or confused. This book totally misinterprets different cultures.
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I teach a cultural psychology class and this book is a wonderful reference for the class. I also read excerpts to the class as we discuss the various topics in their text. If you are a traveler to other countries, this book is a must.
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I'm learning a lot of cultural manners, this book is very informational enjoying it. I would recommend this book if you want to Learn cultural manners. I learned from when I went to Japan and was getting funny looks. No eating in public:( hence get the book if you want to learn.
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