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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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,809 ratings  ·  234 reviews
Author Sarah Lanier explains how cultures around the world can fit into two basic categories and how these categories differ. Whether you are a cross-cultural worker or simply live in a cross-cultural neighborhood, you'll find this book to be a valuable resource for understanding and relating to others from a different climate. ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by McDougal Publishing Company (first published 2000)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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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 aut ...more
Connor Anderson
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sbts-textbooks
While short and not comprehensive, Lanier does a great job of outlining the differences in hot climate and cold climate cultures. It makes me miss the hot climate culture of Paraguay!
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Faith Spinks
A succinct, easy to read book about the difference in cultures and their approaches to life. A useful book for people beginning to think about cross cultural life. Having lived and worked in different ‘hot climate’ cultures but coming from a ‘cold-climate’ climate there was not much here I hadn’t observed myself. Although also some areas I felt were not explained well or didn’t have a complete understanding of the concept (high context/low context). For me it lacked the depth I was hoping for bu ...more
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-book-list
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
Rachel Bill
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is simple, relatively short, and easy to read. I felt like some of the information I already knew, but it was a good reminder for me. All of the examples used to illustrate the main ideas made it fun to read. It made me aware of just how many “cold culture” characteristics I have and how I will specifically need to adjust to living in a “warm culture.” I really appreciated the 10 practical tips at the end that summarized the book and provided helpful points to remember when entering a ...more
Monica Maldonado
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was recommended to me by one of my new friends from India to better understand her worldview and why life in Boston can be so confusing to her. found this to be a very easy, quick & helpful read to better understand the perspective of our neighbors & my own ignorances
Scott Hayden
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining and practical. Full of real-life examples, this book presents a general framework for understanding cultural differences. Lanier uses a lot of personal stories. This author is an experienced traveler, not just a theorist.

Quick and easy to read, but very useful. This now is part of my highly-recommended reads for those working or living across cultures. I had not even finished it before adding it to my basic seminar "Conflict, Allergies, and Motor Oil."
Maggie Hong
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2010 added it
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
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
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.
Mari-liis Duglas
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
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!
Ahmad Alkouh
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Lisa Blair
An excellent book in helping one understand people from different regions and different cultures. Highly recommended!
Andrew Yong
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great review of different cultures from an original respective.
Most of all, it is written with much respect and little judgment towards other cultures.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A simple and quick read on a complex topic. it does not come close to explaining everything, but is a very helpful starting point for people interested in cultural differences.
Esther B
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read on hot vs cold climate cultures especially suited for those looking to travel abroad for longer periods of time. Plenty of stereotypes, which Lanier admitted there would be, and plenty of country exceptions to these tendencies that I can think of. Still, a useful guide for good conduct in a culture different to your own.
Gladys Lopez
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Easy guide that include practical examples and a simple way of understanding Hofstede and Briggs Myers academic research.
I also enjoyed that she had lived in Amsterdam and in Chile, combining 2 cultures and relating to cultural challenges I have faced too, as a Latina living in Amsterdam.
Heather Kirkpatrick
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great reference book for anyone traveling internationally. Especially if you're changing climates, or planning to interact with locals. ...more
Julie Martinez
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that introduces the idea of hot and cold cultures and their primary differences. Excellent reading for any cross-cultural worker.
Amber Craft
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A game changer for interpersonal relationships
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for understanding how other cultures think and behave.
Donna Brown
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My friend sent this book to me. A great guide for everyone who travels internationally. Chapter 9's Practical Next Steps could help any traveler going into a different environment. I highly recommend to anyone who has had a misunderstanding with someone from another culture. She explains the root of misunderstandings in a way that can help facilitate change in the way we think and feel about other people. ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
So short and so readable! I learned a lot about myself, my culture, and the adaptation to other cultures! A great read.
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Sarah Lanier, author of Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Hot and Cold Climate Cultures, which has been published in eleven languages, grew up in the Middle East and has served in Europe for 20 years as a trainer and consultant with NGOs and other cross-cultural workers. She currently serves as a consultant and trainer for the University of the Nations.

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