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Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- And Cold-Climate Cultures
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Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- And Cold-Climate Cultures

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  496 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Foreign to Familiar is a splendidly written, well researched work on cultures. Anyone traveling abroad should not leave home without this valuable resource! Sarah's love and sensitivity for people of all nations will touch your heart. This book creates within us a greater appreciation for our extended families around the world and an increased desire to better understand t ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by McDougal Publishing Company (first published 2000)
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Maggie Hong
It is a very good book to help people understand culture differences. The only thing that I'm not happy with is one of its examples of China as a nation with "hot climate culture." It says that in hot climate culture, people has less boundaries and less privacy too. It says that a Chinese international student lives in the dormitory in a nation with "cold climate culture." Since he was brought up in hot climate culture, he doesn't know about privacy, so he opens his roomate's closet and begins t ...more
Oct 15, 2011 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to travel or make foreign friends
Recommended to Kim by: Beth Decker
If you ever want to travel or just relate with people from different countries and cultures, I definitely recommend this book by Sarah A. Lanier. Miscommunication is a huge problem cross-culturally and Lanier delivers a simple, practical, clear guide to avoiding the common mistakes that foreigners make. Hot and cold climate cultures are somewhat generalized but the basic principles that guide her advice are logical and will save foreigners from a lot of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and lo ...more
Sydney Drinkwater
I'm very much from a cold-climate culture. I'm also pregnant in a hot-climate culture (my belly now belongs to all of Ecuador to touch & rub). While this book didn't give me a magic answer to making that just go away (I'm smiling while I type that), it reinforced all I know about our culture differences and eloquently explained it in ways I hadn't heard. I now have even more tools to help make the gap smaller between us and to avoid misunderstandings that I may cause in my own behaviors. The ...more
Great book and quick read on understanding hot-climate and cold-climate cultures? Being a cold-climate culture person myself and marrying a man who grew up in a hot-climate culture family, this book helped to explain a lot with the differences we already noticed. I also often have opportunities to interact with people of other cultures. This book is a great resource for someone going overseas, interacting with foreigners in their home country or understanding the cultural differences between nor ...more
As someone who has spent a lot of time overseas in both hot and cold climates, I completely identified with the ideas in Lanier's book. Although not true 100% of the time (as she points out, individuals can be different from the mass cultural stereotypes - for example, I was born and raised in the "hot south", but my personality is much more "cold northern"), she comes very close to the heart of cultural misunderstandings and issues in this book.

If you're considering moving overseas or even jus
A friend gave me this book as a guide for an upcoming trip to India. My biggest concern has been my lack of knowledge regarding the culture and fear that I will do something that won't translate across cultural lines. I do not want to unknowingly do something disrespectful. This book wasn't exactly focused on India, but for anyone who will be exposed to a multiplicity of cultures this is a great guide. Lanier has a ton of experience dealing with etiquette and customs, and her experiences show he ...more
This was required reading for a course I'm taking, Introduction to Cross-Cultural studies. I have a Master's in Intercultural Communication and am taking this class for review, so the material wasn't new to me and was a simplified version of other things I have studied.

This was a really easy read and gives a basic overview for someone wanting to understand how to navigate cultural differences. I'm not sure if I agree with all the concepts in the book but it serves as a good jumping off point for
This book was short and sweet with insightful anecdotes of cultural misunderstandings around the world. Regardless of the culture in focus, I found that each anecdote taught me more about myself and my own culture. I have often been offended by people's rude behavior and simply counted it off as rude. However, the author explains how offending or being offended can be greatly reduced if we inquired deeper into the cultural norms/values of the other. A great read, at times I could not sleep becau ...more
Cailyn Wheatley
As a cold-culture individual who has lived in hot-culture South America for nearly four years, I uttered so many, "Ohs," "wows," and, "Well dubs," while reading this short, phenomenal book. The chapters discussed the many aspects of hot-climate vs. cold-climate cultures, providing context for the many situations I have already encountered. The concepts discussed to not simply apply to one country or world region, but are truly universal, transcending borders. I am so thankful I have read this bo ...more
If I could give this book 6 starts, I would. It's such a great one to help understand different cultures, plus you can read it in about an hour. I have passed it on to many people. Anyone working with people of different cultures, and in all honesty, anyone should really read this book to help them understand different cultures in our world today!
Fantastic book! Excellent for anyone who travels to another culture, or who interacts with anyone from another ethnicity or cultural group. Sarah gives very helpful paradigms for the broad differences between different cultures, which helps us to understand, appreciate, and communicate much better. Highly recommended.
Pete van Genne
May 02, 2012 Pete van Genne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pete by: BC Vineyard Church Regional Retreat
A quick, high-level synopsis of differences between hot- and cold-climate cultures (or better put: hot/tribal- and cold/urban). I really liked the discussion on the differences between high-context an low-context cultures. A worthy read for travellers or those wanting to understand cultural differences.
Mari-liis Duglas
This book was very interesting to read, especially before going to live in another country in less than a month. I found that it gave me a much better perspective of what awaits me and I feel much more prepared to experience and understand all the new and different things that lie ahead of me.
Great synopsis on many of the vast differences between the varied countries of our ever shrinking world. I love how short the book is, yet in many ways quite comprehensive for the occasional traveler. I would highly recommend this to be read by anyone traveling abroad.
Shaun Liu
A valuable and easy read on understanding general cultural difference that often causes misunderstanding (what the author calls cold vs. hot climate cultures). I particular like the various personal anecdotes.
Ahmad Alkouh
I love the way the author has divided the world into hot or cold cultures. As a cold person living in a hot culture you can see the differences.

I personally live most of what is mintioned in the book.
Eye-opening book. Gave some great insight into dealing with different cultures. It also helped me better understand some of my own struggles as a Puerto Rican from Florida living in Ohio. Great resource!
Lisa Blair
An excellent book in helping one understand people from different regions and different cultures. Highly recommended!
I found this book a bit simplistic and makes some sweeping assurances which aren't sufficiently nuanced… but someone who has little experience crossing cultures, this is a very useful book because it exposes how cultures often different in ways that might not be immediately recognized. Given this book is intended as a gentle introduction, I have given it four stars. For someone who is already used to thinking about cultural differences, this is just three stars… there are a few gems, some good s ...more
Ashley Tetzlaff
Wow! Wow! Wow! A must-read for anyone going overseas OR anyone who is friends with people from another country or sub-culture. Sarah explains hot vs. cold and high vs. low cultures. Very eye-opening. Being from the south (a hot culture) and marrying a northerner (cold culture), this was actually helpful in understanding some of the ways we communicate in our marriage. Very helpful book! Quick read, too :) And it even has summaries of the chapter "lessons" for quick reference.
A quick, simple guide to general cultural differences, Foreign to Familiar conveniently summarizes some of the major roadblocks travelers can encounter when trying to adjust to another person's culture. Cultures are divided into two, extremely general categories- those stemming from hot climates, and those stemming from cold ones.
Basically, hot cultures are relationship oriented and indirect in their communication, while cold cultures are task-oriented and direct. This can lead to a variety of
Jenna Aycock
I started this book and I couldn't put it down!With a small background in missions, I was automatically interested in the cultural differences of nations around the world. It's very short and well written! The information is clear and shows the difference between "hot" and "cold" cultures! Plus, Lanier's stories are keep your attention and interest!! Overall, a great read for any traveler or missions-minded person!
It's certainly worthwhile to try to understand people from other cultures in our multicultural world, especially if we plan to spend time in other cultures. But I think the conclusions in this book are too broad and general to have much real-life application.
However, the practical tips in Chapter Nine seem sensible and helpful.
Ruth Jerome
I have spent a lot of my adult life overseas and this book provide insight to many relationships. I was with the military for most of it which the book points out has its own culture and expectations. I now work at a international school serving as a missionary to Japan and even working with other Americans this book provide insight to adjustments I need to make in my expectations and behaviors to br successful in building and maintaing relationships.

It was a quick read with many resources sited
My Guatemala team for summer 2012 read this in preparation for our trip. It was an easy read and very practical for preparing our team to visit and engage with another culture.

The premise is that there are some major differences culturally between hot and cold climates, one being more relational and then other more task oriented. It was true to my travels and she is quite qualified to make these observations having lived in multiple countries. She explores communication (direct/indirect), identi
I so enjoyed this one. It was short and sweet, but helped me better understand my Asian roommates and hopefully love them better as a result. I recommend to anyone who is involved in international relationships. I liked the stories the author shared to give depth to her examples.
Clair W
This is a book worth reading. The author wrote it more for those people who plan to go live somewhere else for an extended period of time, but if you work with people from a culture different than your own, it also for you. I think Lanier did a good job explaining intangible differences between different cultures. It is short (less than 150 pages) and easy to read.
A must read for anyone who has business with 'foreigners'. The important message is to realize that you can't take anything for granted. Well written with great anecdotes that make for a great read.
Although somewhat of a simplistic analysis, Foreign to Familiar provides a very practical set of questions to ask in any cross-cultural encounter. Distinguishing between hot and cold climate cultures, Lanier offers a key – mapped out through years of cross-cultural experiences – to understanding and navigating a variety of cultural traits: relationship or task oriented; direct or indirect communication; individual or group identity; inclusion or privacy; low and high context cultures. In additio ...more
Tim Weidlich
One of the best short books I've found for summarizing the different cultures for teams going to a foreign country.
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