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Germany: Unraveling an Enigma

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
So we think we know a lot about Germans? After all, more Germans have immigrated to the United States than any other ethnic group, and fifty million American citizens currently claim German heritage. The truth is, though, Germans are different from us-in more ways than we may know.

Greg Nees, in this new InterAct, Germany: Unraveling an Enigma, does an outstanding job of e
Paperback, 228 pages
Published July 27th 2000 by Nicholas Brealey (first published November 1st 1999)
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Barnaby Thieme
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was prepared primarily to introduce US businesspersons to German culture in the service of professional communication. There is some material on history and culture, but much more on what to expect in presentations, deliberation style, and professional etiquette. I was hoping for a work that dealt more with culture and worldview in its own terms and for its own sake, but nonetheless found it easy to read, enjoyable, thought-provoking, and interesting. I would recommend it to early stud ...more
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Germany: Unraveling an Enigma
© 2000 Paul Nees
236 pages

If you follow European news, chances are good that you’ve heard the name Angela Merkel in recent months. Chancellor of Germany, her nation is the economic heart of Europe and essential to the eventual resolution of its debt crisis. And yet, just a little over two decades ago, Germany was a divided nation…and a generation before, it lay in ruins, largely destroyed in a war which instigated, a war which casts a shadow over all Germans, even th
Emma Grace
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dated, especially with a lot that's happened over the past decade, but is especially helpful for understanding the mindset of older Germans and conservative families. Seems geared toward business relations, but I was assigned to read before studying abroad in Germany. Helpful to Americans who read with an open mind, and keep it open as they research more and travel.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think this book is fantastic. It was recommended to me by a German who spent his first 15 years in America and these last 40 in Germany, and said he felt at least 90% of it is right on. Any American who has German family members or plans on traveling, working or living in Germany should read this book. Excellent information about how the German mind thinks and why they do the things they do. It helped me understand my grandmother's behavior and her family's German influence on her.

Nee's begin
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This book offers reflections and insights on German culture, oriented in particular to businesspeople and others who would need to communicate effectively with Germans and thus need to a deeper, fuller understanding of German behavior. While by no means exhaustive, the book is a good overview based on experience and investigation. One weakness of the book is that it was published prior to 2000. With all the changes that have happened in Europe and Germany since then, it would be worth a reassess ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. Although it's a bit dated, and was written when Germany was still struggling to return to a whole country after reunification, it gives tremendous insight into German cultural norms and the German worldview. I have a much greater understanding now of why history is so important to them, their conversational style, and much more. Although much of the material was unfamiliar to me, it was presented clearly and was an easy read.
Chris Witt
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A nice, concise guide to German culture. The book really seems to be written for Americans who will have to do business in Germany or spend extended time there. It's not necessarily something you'd bring as, say, a travel guide.

Still, if you're interested in learning more about other cultures, it's a really interesting, quick read. Lots of focus on the differences that have come about through the democratization of the country and post-unification, both the positives and negatives.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great book, very clear and concise. This book explains all the reasons why I have always had a hard time interacting with Americans. Although I was born and raised here, I guess my mother and oma affected my mindset more than I thought, as I am so very German, according to this book, and so very not American. I think I need to have a few copies and hand them out to people who can't seem to understand me, haha.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily by: Julie Rowe
Shelves: non-fiction
Even though it's geared towards business people, this book gave me a fascinating look into German culture, language, communication styles. Also very interesting if you have German heritage (like I do) because it helps you to understand..."Oh, *that's* why I do that...I'm (part) German!" I would like to read more books like this about other countries.
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
my husband said this book would help me understand him better. i actually think it does. or at least it puts him in context.
Susan Levin
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book gives, for me, a new and fresh way of looking at the German culture and experience. Well worth the time and a book that one could return to many times.
Interesting, if somewhat dated, description of German culture, norms, and ways of thinking with contrast to Americans.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well written and well researched book.
Bradley Trull
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Great insight, though it seems dated at times. Very interesting insight on the german culture and how an American can expect Germany to be different.
Matthew Higham
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Aug 19, 2017
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Sam Cox
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Lynne Durham
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Andrea Alfonso
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Elizabeth Ng
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Matthew D. Becker
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Josef Renyi
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Amy Fuller
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read if you deal with the Germans for business, or even if you're just traveling there.
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Mar 10, 2016
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Greg Nees, Ph.D., is an interculturalist, coach, and consultant. He earned his B.A. in psychology from UCLA, worked and traveled in West Africa, and then took up residence in Europe. In Germany he worked as an English teacher, translator, and college instructor. While leading intercultural communication seminars at the Johannes Gutenberg University, he discovered the joy of promoting understanding ...more
More about Greg Nees