Customer Review

May 20, 2007
I am grateful to Patrick Schmidt for having placed in my hands a copy of the third edition of his book on Understanding American and German Business Cultures: A Manager's Guide to the Cultural Context in which American and German Companies Operate. As is so often the case at SIETAR Congresses, we exchanged some goodies in the hotel lobby in Sofia, and I hope Patrick found mine as good as I found his.

While not a new publication, Patrick's book is nonetheless a very solid, simple, and useful expose of the cultural differences between the way we operate when working with each other and why, despite our best efforts we fall short of pleasing each other and fall into annoyances often over what often look like small matters.

Whether you are German or USian, you can get a good quick profile of your own culture to the degree that you subscribe to it--and most of us do at some level even when we want to rebel against it. This is not a comprehensive cultural study but a practical one, at the interface of how we work together, our sense of what work is, our work habits.

Schmidt addresses the most salient issues in how we communicate at work (and elsewhere, of course). What we understand and how we need to listen to understand as well as to present to each other in a way that we can understand are all dealt with in a matter of fact way with occasional excursions into the historical and psychologically whys. He provides an overview of such things as values, lawsuits and ethics across borders, and a discussion format about for exploring what it takes to be interculturally competent--and all this in less than 100 pages.

Appendixed to the manual are brief, incisive case studies from real life with analysis and likely interpretations. Like life itself, this treatment leaves the door open to engagement and learning on the part of those who use it. Updated several times, it shows the author's commitment to continued learning and exploration of the topic. I will find it an immediate resource for class work and training.
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