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USA - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture Paperback – May 28, 2013
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Culture Smart! has come to the rescue of hapless travellers, Sunday Times Travel the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries, Global Travel - full of fascinating, as well as common sense,
About the Author
GINA TEAGUE is a trainer and writer on cross-cultural management, international relocation, and global career development. Born in the United Kingdom, she has lived and worked in France, Spain, Brazil, the USA, and Australia. During her sixteen years in America she developed a successful intercultural consultancy serving the corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors. She also gained an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and an Ed.M. in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, and produced two “native New Yorker” children. Gina has written extensively on expatriate adjustment and career management issues for industry journals and Web sites. A cofounder of Isis Group International, an intercultural training company, she has recently relocated to Sydney, Australia.
Alan Beechey was born in London and graduated from the University of Oxford with an M.A. in Psychology. His initial posting to New York nearly thirty years ago—as director of international communications for America’s largest bank—was intended to last two years. Since then he has specialized in business and marketing communications, both inside and outside Corporate America, working first for a leading human resources consulting firm, and then, for the last twenty years, as an independent consultant with blue-chip clients. He has also gained dual citizenship, three American children, and first-hand experience of life in central Manhattan and New York’s leafy suburbs. Alan runs workshops and is the author of the popular “Oliver Swithin” mystery series.
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Naturally, the USA is big, and we span quite an assortment of subcultures- all of whom are very good at misunderstanding each other as well as non-natives do! So while the generalizations are true in general, "patriotism" has vastly different nuances and behaviors depending on where you are and who you're with. Similarly manners: I grew up in the northern Midwest, and while we can come across as being rather stand-offish, especially compared to the South, I don't think there's a lot of inherent difference in meaning, just in how it's expressed- which can certainly be confusing! Like, Minnesotan for "Yes, yes PLEASE!!!" is something like "Well, I wouldn't mind." In other words, we and Southerners both have a lot of nuances, and these are frequently diametrically opposed!
The brief run-downs of both American history and our system of government were some of the clearest I've ever read, although the latter does not begin to cover the political strife that is escalating currently.
Likewise, while we tend to idealize rugged individualism, I'd bet almost all of us are not actually rugged individualists ourselves, and would not actually like it if we had to live thus.
One seeminly minor error that I do want to mention, which is especially important for guests to our country to know: Tipping. Tipping in various venues is utterly necessary. The book suggests for restaurants a 15% tip and says that the servers make minimum wge, which they do NOT. They make substantially BELOW minimum wage per hour, rely on tips to fill in the gaps, and this is why in general one needs to tip 20%- and not doing so will lead to prejudice against whatever country the guest hails from.
In general, though, this was a fun and educational summarizing of the USA and its people in 164 pages, from a very different perspective. I would love to read more such guidebooks!
All you need to know before arriving in the US. It is a perfect guide for all situations you may face in American soil.