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The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

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An international business expert helps you understand and navigate cultural differences in this insightful and practical guide, perfect for both your work and personal life.

Americans precede anything negative with three nice comments; French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans get straight to the point; Latin Americans and Asians are steeped in hierarchy; Scandinavians think the best boss is just one of the crowd. It's no surprise that when they try and talk to each other, chaos breaks out.

In The Culture Map , INSEAD professor Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain in which people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together. She provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business, and combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice.

290 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 27, 2014

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About the author

Erin Meyer

71 books328 followers
Erin Meyer (born August 22, 1971) is an American author and professor based in Paris.[1] She is most known for writing the 2014 book, The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business a study that analyzes how national cultural differences impact business.

Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, an international business school with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. She regularly speaks about cross cultural management and global teamwork.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,752 reviews
Profile Image for Adina ( On hiatus until next week) .
827 reviews3,228 followers
January 25, 2018
This book can be an excellent tool for any person that works or even just interacts with different cultures.

The author has an extensive experience as a cultural trainer and she shares interesting and educational events from her many years working with different people from all over the world. The focus is on European countries (UK, France, Scandinavia, Russia, Germany), USA and Asia (Japan, India, China, South Korea) and South America (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico) and Oceania. Africa is not covered, probably because of her lack of experience on that continent.

Each chapters covers a specific aspect of the business interaction: Communication, persuasion, leadership, performance evaluation and negative feedback, decision making, trust, disagreement and scheduling. We are given plenty of example to illustrate cultural misunderstandings and ways to deal with them.

Moreover, in each chapter there is a figure who show on a line, from one extreme to other, where each main country stands from a variable point of view. For example, in terms of communication there are two extremes: low-context cultures and High Context ones. In low-context countries such as the US, Australia, people usually say what they think whereas in high-context ones, China and Japan, people tend to only suggest between the lines the real meaning of what they are saying.

As I work almost exclusively with clients from outside Europe, the differences between what we consider normal business behavior and theirs are quite significant. I recognized myself in many of the situations presented in the book and maybe I would have dealt better with some problems if I had read this book in advance.

I highly recommend this book, I find it extremely useful and enjoyable to consult from time to time.
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews100 followers
February 1, 2018
A practical guide for navigating cultural complexity while conducting global business. Interesting examples of everyday failures to communicate and work around solutions. Implements personal changes sounds like a challenge, but that is the way things are.

While strong cultural expression makes for good stories, it can impede effective communication with people from different traditions.
Of course, downgraders are used in every world culture, but some cultures use them more than others. The British are masters of the art, with the result that their communications often leave the rest of us quite bewildered. Take the announcement made by British Airways pilot Eric Moody in 1982, after flying through a cloud of volcanic ash over Indonesia: “Good evening again, ladies and gentlemen. This is Captain Eric Moody here. We have a small problem in that all four engines have failed. We’re doing our utmost to get them going, and I trust you’re not in too much distress, and would the chief steward please come to the flight deck?”
Fortunately, the plane was able to glide far enough to exit the ash cloud, and the engines were restarted, allowing the aircraft to land safely at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta with no casualties. Moody’s recorded announcement has since been widely hailed as a classic example of understatement.
The “Anglo-Dutch Translation Guide” (Figure 2.1), which has been anonymously circulating in various versions on the Internet, amusingly illustrates how the British use downgraders and the resulting confusion this can create among listeners from another culture (in this case, the Dutch).

Awareness should be a step in the right direction.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,734 reviews648 followers
June 19, 2021
There is a minefield out there for anyone who steps from their own familiar territory into foreign turf. The consequences might only be embarrassment or a lost client or you might never know what you did or did not do.

“Cultural patterns of behavior and belief frequently impact our perceptions (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do).” If Meyer’s goal is “to help you improve your ability to decode these three facets of culture and to enhance your effectiveness in dealing with them”, the book definitely falls a bit short.

However, the book, and Meyer’s methodology is a great success at raising the reader’s level of consciousness, and thus better able to perceive where an issue may arise.
Meyers sees “eight scales” as defining any specific culture’s dimensions:
- Communicating: “low-context vs. high context”
- Evaluating: “direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback”
- Persuading: “principles-first vs. applications first”
- Leading: “egalitarian vs. hierarchical”
- Deciding: “consensual vs. top-down”
- Trusting: “task-based vs. relationship-based”
- Disagreeing: “confrontational vs. avoids confrontation”
- Scheduling: “linear-time vs. flexible-time”
Aside from the anthropological-speak, the distinctions are easy to perceive. But are they always evident? Are they useful?
Fortunately, if you are like me, you don’t have to answer the questions. Just go for the gestalt. Meyer provides anecdotes. (In fact, one could argue that the book is not much more than a collection of anecdotes.)
- Read the anecdote.
- Ask yourself what you would do.
- Try to recall if you have ever been in a similar situation.
- Repeat.

For me that was a methodology that got me out the other side feeling that I had learned something of value and had also preserved most of my self-esteem. I will save those eight “scales” for another day.
Profile Image for Tarek Amr.
Author 2 books187 followers
March 18, 2017
Being a person who is born and raised in Egypt, then moved to work in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, this book is an eyeopener for me regarding cultural differences I used to notice but wasn't able to articulate very well. Erin Meyer's books focuses on 8 aspects where cultures differ; how are people from different cultures communicate, evaluate, persuade, lead, decide, trust, disagree and schedule. The author maps culture differences onto those 8 scales, and funny enough, the Middle East and the Netherlands fall almost always on the two opposite ends of each scale.

When it comes to communication, the scale goes between low context vs hight context cultures. Anglophones and Dutch/Germans are on one end, while Japanese are on the other end. Arabs and Indians slightly lower context than Japanese, and French among other Latin cultures are in the middle. High context read between the lines, looks for layers and hidden meanings. They use irony and don't need to explicitly say "just kidding" after joking. Brits are higher context compared to Americans, thus the latter seldom get the former's humour. Low context cultures tend to have broader vocabulary in their languages. And, I understand, high context ones use metaphors more. Low context culture tend to have stuff written while high context tend to express things verbally. Thinking of Egyptian Arabic, we have just one word for leg and foot; however we have different word for each in traditional Arabic, and maybe we move to a slightly lower context when we write, as we write in traditional Arabic most of the time.

When evaluation each other, Dutch are direct and low context, Americans/Brits are indirect and while still having low context. Israelis and Russians direct and high context. Arabs indirect and high context. The French stress on negative feedback and give positive feedback subtly, while Americans are just the opposite.

I wouldn't go on and summarise all 8 aspects, of course. I recommend you read the book, but let me mention some things I notices.

I used to think Germans and Dutch should be very similar in everything, especially after seeing them showing close to each other on many scales, then later on, I discovered that when it comes to leadership, the Dutch are more egalitarian and the Germans and hierarchal.

When I stumbled upon the term, egalitarian, I didn't know exactly its meaning, but since I know what the national motto of France (liberté, égalité, fraternité) means, I could easily deduct its meaning in English, then came the irony that the French are more hierarchal than egalitarian.

Imagine being in a queue, and the person in front of you is asking a teller a question that sparks a 30 minutes discussion, while you just have a 2 seconds question, should I go from this gate or that one. In Egypt, it is understandable that you can interrupt their discussion to ask your question, and when I came to Europe, one of the shocking moments to me was that in linear-time cultures, that's a big no no!

Similar to my initial perception of German and Dutch cultures, I also thought Israelis would be very similar to Arabs, in the end of the day, they all are Middle-Easterns, till I read that people Israel, Germany, France and the Netherlands are confrontational; while Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Ghana and Peru avoid confrontation. Arabs and Israelis are kinda similar on 50% of the scales here, and dissimilar on the other 50%.

Societies may base their trust on relations, or be task-oriented. Societies with relationship-oriented business attitude are most likely ones with weak legal systems, where relationships provide better safety nets than contracts.

In the end, I am not a big fan of the post modernist approach of seeing all cultures are equal, and considering any criticism to be a form of racism. I see empirical evidences that some cultures are more economically successful that the others, and I think it is good for individuals and societies to learn about those differences and learn to adapt to what is best.
Profile Image for Hyperion.
11 reviews
June 7, 2016
The book was OK. It offers a good overview of differences between cultures. Sometimes we may assume that 2 cultures are similar, but in the end there is a possibility of conflict, because they have different "mentality" on a certain point (trust or time perception, for instance).
But Erin often limits herself to personal stories and doesn't cite almost any researcher or study. Where did she take her scales from? What indicators did she use? Hunch? Gut feeling? Statistical analysis? Sometimes stories end at the most interesting point, do not specify essential details, and serve just to act as a "proof" for the previous idea to give it credibility that it was lacking.
"The Culture Map" is a collection of interesting points on different cultures, but I wouldn't say that it is a best cross-cultural book out there.
If you want fundamental research - Hofstede. If you want to work with a particular nation, try looking precisely at books relevant to that nation.
Nevertheless, this book is an interesting introduction to cross-cultural management so if you are a novice in the field it might interest you.
Profile Image for Jake Goretzki.
729 reviews114 followers
October 20, 2018
This one came heavy with praise from various colleagues. Strong concept, but profoundly tedious and slow-going in its execution. As per the form with very many business books (this happens nearly every time), it's making points that could easily be condensed into a short essay.

Somewhere in there, there are a handful of useful dimensions to think about (e.g. high context vs low context communication). But successive dimensions feel narrower and narrower - to the extent where I'm not sure 'giving negative feedback' deserves its own axis. As with a lot of it, you could probably make some more universal, multi-behavioural generalisations (I'd probably start by looking again at Hofstede actually).

What I found most grinding about it though was the high corporate tone of it all, and the heavy reliance on dreary anecdote populated by dreary business lounge dullards - being, no doubt, ultimately pitched at Americans, who buy 97% of the world's business books. Every faithfully named and job-titled character is slightly wet behind the ears and in for a big surprise that the half self-aware reader has seen a mile off. And then you start to notice the writer's tic of picking out one element of an appearance ('a lady with a neat bob', 'with smiley eyes', 'with snowy white hair').

At intervals I wanted to yell "Look, sod Geoff Tipple. Just sum the point you're making up in two lines". And as with many a business book too, we're never far away from a pitch for consultancy work or conference speech opportunities. Thus:

'While providing leading edge consultancy for a lot of money at a range of major businesses across Western Europe, I was approached recently by Jens Kugelschreiber, a London-based VP from Amsterdam who was working with a team across Indonesia and Legoland. Kugelschreiber, who sported a jet black moustache, explained that he had been experiencing tensions with Chinese colleagues after exposing his private parts during meetings. 'I don't understand it. I do this all the time at HQ'. I told him to read my book, and stop exposing his private parts during meetings. 'It worked! Now I only expose them to Germans', said Jens. Lesson: don't expose your private parts during meetings in China. And maybe everywhere else. Actually, just don't be a prick'.

Profile Image for عبدالرحمن عقاب.
680 reviews767 followers
March 19, 2023
نعم! نحن مختلفون! كذلك ولذلك خُلقنا.‏
تناقش الكاتبة بأسلوب جميل الاختلافات بين الشعوب وذلك بدراسة 8 مواضيع يهتمّ بها عالم الأعمال والإدارة، وهي : ‏‏(الوضوح في التخاطب- الإعلام بالتقييم السلبي- الإقناع والاقتناع- الهرمية في ال��يادة- طرق اتخاذ القرار- آلية الاختلاف- ‏وآلية بناء الثقة- التعامل مع الوقت والتخطيط).‏
وعلى الرغم من أنّ الخطوط العريضة للاختلافات بين الأمم قد سبق دراستها؛ مثل دراسات (نسيبيت)، إلا أنّ ما يميز ‏هذه عن تلك أنّ هذه الأبحاث قد بحثت في الفروق "النسبية" بين شعوب الأمّة الواحدة. فمثلاً تجد الفرق بين الأمريكي ‏والبريطاني و بين الصيني والياباني، و بين العربي والتركي وبين البرازيلي والمكسيكي أو الإيطالي والألماني.‏
تكمن أهمية الكتاب في أنه سبيلٌ لفهم الذات وكذلك لفهم الآخر وتقبّله. وهذا يصلح للتوفيق وربّما للتطوير أيضًا. ‏
ومن جميل ما في الكتاب محاولة الكاتبة أن تصل إلى أسباب تاريخية لبعض الظواهر التي تحدّثت عنها. وكذلك طرح كثير ‏من الأمثلة بشكلٍ قصصي مميّز.‏
ثمة ملاحظة أظنّ أنّ الكاتبة قد أضافتها في غير موقعها، ولعلّ الأولى كان في جعلها بُعدًا تاسعًا خاصًا ومنفصلاً. وذلك في ‏استخدامها لمفهوم الشمولية والتخصيص (وهو أحد نتائج أبحاث وتجارب نسيبيت) كمحاولة لتفسير آلية الاقتناع عند ‏العرب والآسيويين كمقابل لآلية الفاعلية في التطبيق (كيف؟) أو الصواب في المبدأ النظري عند الغرب والروس (لماذا؟). ‏
Profile Image for Lisa.
124 reviews54 followers
November 28, 2021
I wish I had read this book sooner!! It’s an extremely useful guide for navigating cultural differences and understanding how the culture we grow up in has a profound impact on how we interact with others and how we see the world. Most of my prior leadership training has been focused on understanding human nature and adapting to personality differences (which are both very important!), but this book helped me better understand the additional dimension of cultural differences that are also impacting team dynamics.

We’ve all had perceptions about other cultures, but the author goes deeper to explain what historical or economic factors have made certain cultures act the way that they do. She uses an eight-scale model (each scale representing a key area a manager must be aware of) and shows where different cultures vary along a spectrum from one extreme to the opposite. Since the model is a spectrum, it doesn’t really matter where a culture falls, it only matters where that one culture is positioned relative to other cultures to decode the cultural differences. The model is really easy to use, and the book is chock full of interesting examples and really practical advice.

I started reading this book because I recently accepted a position where I will be managing a large team across North America, Europe, and Asia. I was looking for some new ideas on how to effectively manage such a diverse team, and the book did not disappoint. I came away with a lot of helpful advice, but I also learned so much about myself. I hadn’t really questioned the leadership traits I have been practicing throughout my career to become a “good leader,” but I am much more aware now that my leadership tendencies are decidedly American. Which isn’t a bad thing, as the author makes apparent that there is no right or wrong across the eight scales, just differences. It just means my natural tendencies probably won’t be as effective (and possibly misunderstood) by people from other cultures, and I need to find ways to adapt to be more effective.

This book also got me re-thinking past interactions I’ve had with international colleagues and even just people I have met while traveling internationally. I’m able to see those miscommunications and frustrations through a different lens now, and I can’t wait to put some of the advice from the book into practice! If you manage or work with international team members, if you like to travel internationally, or even if you’re just interested in understanding the idea of cultural differences a little better, I highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Sebastian Gebski.
952 reviews840 followers
April 24, 2021
I had it on my recommendations list for a long time, but my impression was always like: "damn, I don't need a book on cultural differences; I've worked in many international enterprises, I have been trained, I have practical experience - it would be just a waste of time".

In the end, it wasn't (a waste of time).

I really appreciate that the book is something much more than a collection of bias and anecdotes. Meyer proposes her own classification of cultures that in fact is very reasonable and intuitively matches my experience. There are plenty of viable examples - some of them really stellar (my fav one: peach culture VS coconut culture).

I think that the biggest value out of this book is NOT about memorizing the differences between the actual cultures (actually, that brings biases). The real value is all about acknowledging that there ARE differences and one has to live with them. No single culture is superior, no single approach is the right one. You need to be flexible and understand the root causes of some behaviors to adapt and reap most of the particular situation.

Solid 4.5-4.7 stars. Prolly the best book on that topic I've read. Not affected by the virus of political correctness.
Profile Image for Camie.
899 reviews186 followers
July 4, 2017
I picked up this book at Schiphol airport while traveling in Holland, on a vacation that included London, Germany, and a cruise of the Baltic Sea to Russia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Denmark. It was highlighted as a " must read" and though it is a book written about the complexity of people from different cultures working together in the business world, I found it a very interesting read which maps out the general social customs of people from different countries. I kept thinking of my brother-in -law who is Dutch but working in Shanghai, China as these two countries are almost diametrically opposite in all 8 mapped areas the book discusses in the way the people communicate, react to authority, and approach business situations. 4.5 stars for me, even though I'm a very non-business oriented person these days.
January 11, 2020
Possibly the worst book I've ever read.

It's a huge collection of biases for all the possible countries and cultures. The whole book is structured with examples like: if you are working with Chinese people, you should take this approach, instead if your team is composed by German people you should do this etc....

While I can't possibily verify all the claimings for every culture mentioned (since there are no references about all these claiming. No studies mentioned. Nothing. All based on author own experience), I can at least say that everything I've read about Italians is based on bias. To give you an example, I'm Italian and this doesn't mean (like the author says) that if the appointment is at 10:00 I will arrive at 10:15 or 10:20.
I will possibly arrive at 9:55 and wait 5 minutes and I would be quite annoyed if the other person arrived late.

There is also a very bold statement about diversity: the author says that if what we are looking for is diversity of opinions and ideas, then a multi cultural team is what we need but if the most important thing is the productivity then we should have a mono cultural team.

Excuse me, what?! You are basically saying that a multi cultural team won't be productive?! This simply disgusted me.
Profile Image for Maciej Kuczyński.
63 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2019
Cool, cool. Now I just need to become a manager of an international team in order to see if all this is true. :D
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,624 reviews239 followers
September 14, 2021
Do you have books that you have been sort-of-reading for ages? They are not really gripping and you read or skim a chapter here or there, but you never seem to make real progress and you don‘t want to DNF the book either?
This is the book that probably has been hanging out on my currently-reading shelf the longest — since September 2018!

A work colleague recommended this to me. I generally struggle with non-fiction, unless it is a topic that really, really interests me. Work-related literature is even worse. However, if you work in an international field and frequently deal with other countries and cultures, this book offers some eye-opening insights.

It‘s not just about your communication partner at the opposite end of the cultural scale, but also about recognizing yourself and understanding, how your own culture operates.

“When interacting with someone from another culture, try to watch more, listen more, and speak less. Listen before you speak and learn before you act. Before picking up the phone to negotiate with your suppliers in China, […] use all the available resources to understand how the cultural framework you are working with is different from your own—and only then react.”

 “As with so many challenges related to cross-cultural collaboration, awareness and open communication go a long way toward defusing conflict.“

Each chapter follows a very set structure. It starts with the chapter’s overarching topic and the author offers a memory of her own life, private or business, relating to it and thus explaining what specific issue the chapter tackles.

This is followed by an actual business example of one person dealing with the issue well and one person dealing with it in their own cultural context and failing. This might be combined with some historical references, showing why a certain culture behaves in a specific way. The reader is given views of different scales and where cultures land on that scale. Quiet interesting and probably a good reason to get this book in paper or to read it on a large display. Here is an example:




This scale was explained via a business meeting with Germans and US Americans…

“ If you think of your Germanic European business associates as stolid, silent types, you may be surprised when a matter of controversy arises. You are likely to find them eager to jump into the fray, since they regard disagreement not as a matter of personal emotion, but rather as a valuable intellectual exercise from which truth emerges.

Oh yes, we will grill you from all angles in a very Spock-like manner! It doesn‘t mean that we don‘t like you, we just cherish debate and confrontation as a tool to find the best answers…

Still, this book generalizes with a broad brush and very wide strokes. Believe me, there are plenty of Germans that bruise easily and will take personal offense, if you disagree with their opinion. Or maybe you simply overshot your goal on that Disagreement Scale…

I have been picking up this book every now and then to finally write a short review and then DNF it. Instead I usually ended up reading or skimming another short chapter and finding worthwhile tips for my working life. But I am calling it a day now. Management books of this type are just too dry and feel too much like work. Maybe one of these days I will browse through the last 40% of this…
Profile Image for Ieva Gr.
175 reviews29 followers
August 7, 2021
Why I read it: Someone at work suggested to read it and have a book club to discuss it, as we are expanding to work in other countries and understanding potential culture differences would be beneficial.

What I liked about it:
I am currently working in lithuanians-only team, so the culture aspects of the book were not as important to me. But I think the same framework can be used to understand interpersonal differences. The chapter ‘little d or big D’ was most interesting to me (aside of the curiously phrased title) as I think most of my frustration at work arises because I like to work in the ‘big D’ style – talk out ideas with team until we reach common understanding and discover all edge cases and then implement it. But the dominant style in the team is ‘little d’ - briefly discuss things and run to experiment on your own.

Some time ago I watched a lot of online courses about professional communication. It was interesting to retrospect on those while reading this book as now I understand the advice there was very fitting for UK/USA style work culture and worked well enough working with Danes, but could have failed me terribly in other countries.

As I often fantasise about going to live and work in Denmark it was also interesting to see where Denmark lies on different aspects of work culture. Sadly though, none of the Baltic countries were there so couldn’t compare the potential cultural differences.

The book helped me to understand that my aversion to chit chat and informal relationship building at work is a serious deficiency. As many cultures and people need that relationship to be able to trust you in professional matters.

What I disliked:
In general I dislike books written by American authors, as I feel they are over-explaining things and repeating themselves extensively. I often want to shout ‘enough already!!!’ at the third explanation of the exact same thing. And this book had a little bit of that. But it was also interesting that it helped me to understand it is an example of a cultural difference. Apparently, Americans are well known for being very explicit in their communication and making sure the point really gets through.
Profile Image for Fatemeh.
238 reviews56 followers
June 11, 2021
من از خوندن کتاب لذت بردم. برام فرصتی بود که اصلا یه دور نگاه کنم ببینم فرهنگ ما برای هرکدوم از مباحثی که مطرح شد کجای نمودار قرار می‌تونه بگیره. به نظرم برای کار کردن با مردمان فرهنگ‌های دیگه خیلییی می‌تونه توجه به این مطلب که خودمون چطوری‌ایم و دونستن اینکه چه تفاوت‌هایی با فرهنگ دیگه داریم کمک کنه.
چیزی که در مورد کتاب خیلی پسندیدم این بود که همه‌ی مسایل و مباحث با مثال‌های واقعی از تجربیات خود نویسنده نوشته شده و توضیح داده شده بود. برای من این مدل نوشتن باعث میشه ارتباط بیشتری با مطالب برقرار کنم و علاوه بر اون از خوندن صرفا یه سری حرف تئوری خسته نشم.
116 reviews40 followers
December 5, 2017
When you offer a drink to a guest, and she says “no, thank you”. Would she be expecting you to ask her again or she really meant what she said? The answer depends on if she’s from a “high-context” culture like China or a “low-context” culture like America.
Erin Meyer used many enlightening real-life examples like this to illustrate the cultural differences around the world.
I particularly like Erin Meyer’s approach of using 8 self-standing yet interconnected scales, communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, and scheduling, to map cultural differences. She position each country on the scales for visual comparison. This systematic method and the abundant real-life examples together made the book very easy to follow.
The book mainly targets business managers leading multi-cultural teams. I think some of the examples and conclusions are also enlightening to an everyday reader enjoying international travel and curious about different cultures.
Being an immigrant from China who lives and works in the U.S, I experienced a number of aha moments in the book. Remember when my very first U.S boss told someone I was her life saver after I finished , to myself, a trivial task, I felt being put on the spot. People in America do ten to over-use words like “excellent” and “thrilled” (chapter 2), which strikes people from some other cultures as fake and insincere. Indeed It took me a while to recalibrate and adapt., Luckily for me, Americans and Chinese are both confrontation-averse chapter 7).
Putting accounting standard in the cultural context as Meyer described in chapter 3 Why versus How, I came to a realization why IFRS is principle-based, and U.S GAAP is rule/application-based.
That said, I had my reservations in seeing America and China as single cultures. Meyer did include some qualifiers regarding to this point, however with only moderate conviction. For example, she pegged American leadership approach as egalitarian (chapter 4) , but to me the financial and public sectors are leaning more toward hierarchical. As Chinese major cities increasingly westernized, linear time (chapter 8) has become more of a norm in both corporate and social settings.
There are plenty of funny moments; I found myself chuckling from time to time.
Overall a wonderful read; the best culture self-help book I have read so far.

Profile Image for Asif.
126 reviews31 followers
February 5, 2016
Candidate for the best book I have read in 2016 unless another one can beat it. The author made is fun to read with great examples that I could easily relate to.
Profile Image for Denis Vasilev.
631 reviews92 followers
March 10, 2020
Дельная книга, даже если не вести бизнес с другими культурами. Работа с психотипами важна и внутри одной культуры. Хорошее объяснение различий в восприятии разных «норм»
Profile Image for All My Friends  Are Fictional.
285 reviews15 followers
June 23, 2019
A book full of oversimplifications, generalisations and self-contradiction. Plus many of the examples felt simply made up. Although it had one or two good ideas thrown in there, I am honestly not sure if this book can hardly help anyone. I guess if one has never heard words "culture" or "team" before?
Profile Image for Tom Koolen.
10 reviews1 follower
May 19, 2020
A practical and comprehensive guide to how different cultures should be approached regarding business relations, but it can also be used outside of that.

If you've read multiple books about cultural differences already, some parts might already be known. However, the way all the information is combined makes it really good.

The quote that really fits (and which is used several times in the book) is "once you identify your sickness you are halfway cured". This book helps you identify the gaps between cultures and brings practical examples of how to overcome them.
Profile Image for Daniëlle Van den Brink.
355 reviews3 followers
February 27, 2022
(3 stars are mostly for the scales) Though my frustrations only mounted in reading this, I do want to give Meyer some credit for the work she has done on the behaviour pattern scales. As far as I could tell, these were all quite accurate and could absolutely help people working in a multi-cultural work enviroment figure out where exactly communication patterns do not align and how to work on that.

That said, it was quite honestly irrelevant reading for a course, which made it incredibly frustrating to read. I also think Meyer repeats herself a little too much from about chapter 3 onwards. Some things are made very clear but then she seems to think she has to go on about it some more. Again, frustrating. I am honestly glad I finished it.
Profile Image for Aayla.
218 reviews20 followers
January 16, 2016
I found this book to be fascinating, enlightening, important, and highly relevant. Erin Meyer talks about culture in a way that is respectful and also relative, so that we can understand cultural differences by contrast and comparison.

Even though this book is designed to help business-people, I would argue that it is relevant and useful to all people. Everyone could benefit from reading it.

Even if you don't agree with everything she has to say (though I personally can't say that I found her to be wrong), she brings up many great points that will probably get you thinking, and that's an important start.
Profile Image for Dina.
99 reviews5 followers
May 29, 2022
This has to be a must read for anyone entering a multinational group project. Now I know why my personality adores typical Dutch habits but always had hard time in Russia. If you ever heard a row between the Dutch and the Indians about coming late for meetings and being chaotic, a preventative reading of this book clearly would spare much pain in that situations.
Profile Image for Mindaugas Mozūras.
293 reviews158 followers
August 4, 2021
Think carefully about your larger objectives before you mix cultures up.

I found "The Culture Map" to be a very practical guide to decoding cultural differences. I was most positively surprised by the practicality of this book. Some other books on this topic include a lot of fluff. Not the case here.

Each chapter covers a specific aspect: communication, evaluation, persuasion, leading, decision-making, trust, disagreement, and scheduling. There is plenty of examples to illustrate cultural differences and ways to deal with them.

There's a lot of focus on countries, but the author also recognizes that country of origin is not end-all-be-all. We should not assume that we can determine anything specific about how a person behaves from what we know about their cultural background.

I've long been a proponent of diverse teams. But I've used to think of diversity more simply. This book opened my eyes to the scales of diversity, and the number of ways cultures can be different. I now understand the challenges of building diverse teams better. Some of those challenges are not easy to solve - and it's worth considering how not to end up in a situation where they need to be solved.

Let me share a real example to illustrate my last point. I remember a situation where a foreign company opened an office in Lithuania (where I live). The country from which this company was from has a very different business culture (which was confirmed through The Culture Map) than we do in Lithuania. They've tried to build cross-office teams and do a lot of collaboration between locations. They've ended up closing the office less than a year after opening it. They might've been better served if they chose not to try to mix the two very different cultures.

Overall, I found The Cultural Map to be an excellent book. I would recommend it strongly for anyone who works in culturally diverse contexts. And these days that's a lot of us.
Profile Image for Katie ♡.
237 reviews93 followers
August 25, 2022
A very much insightful and thought-provoking book. I would highly recommend this one to people with interests or backgrounds in diverse cultures. A great read, indeed.

Actual rating: 4.7/5☆
Profile Image for Grace.
110 reviews5 followers
August 22, 2020
This should be mandatory reading for all ex-pats and folks working at multicultural/international companies. It's given me so much more language for what I've experienced in Rwanda, whose culture is nearly the exact opposite that in America. I'm really looking forward to employing Meyer's strategies in my new and upcoming professional experience, with colleagues and students alike.
Profile Image for Radu Pirlog.
2 reviews2 followers
May 3, 2021
The best book I read on the topic of intercultural cooperation for business.

highgly recommended for people working in international environments (business or academic).
Profile Image for J.
536 reviews
October 25, 2021
I read this for work because I will be teaching an adjacent subject soon. I started out loving it, but two significant problems emerged.

First and most importantly, the author relies, almost entirely, on anecdotes. There are very, very few actual scientific studies mentioned and they do not specifically relate to the larger claims the author was making. As I read, I constantly wondered whether these observations could all be chalked up to confirmation bias. Meyer highlighted example after example of cases where she talked to someone and her culture map had the right solution. But, what about the cases when it didn't work at all? Because of this fundamental bias, it is entirely possible that nothing in this book is truly an accurate representation of these cultural differences.

I do not think Meyer was intending to mislead, or that she was sloppy in her research or efforts. I just want to point out that there is nothing in this book that demonstrates the measurable validity of her claims. The whole purpose of science is to understand reality by removing human bias as best as possible. Cultural differences can be (and have been) studied scientifically. This book doesn't show that. It is Meyer's personal opinion, based on her personal experiences, without any indication of any effort to control for her biases. That's fine, but I doubt most readers are fully aware of what "confirmation bias" actually means. Meyer should have been much more clear and upfront about the non-scientific nature of this book and the weaknesses of her methodology. As it is, I strongly suspect readers will come away with an impression that these dimensions are more solid than they may actually be.

The second problem is chapter 7. I mean chapter 2. No, wait, chapter 7. Hang on... they are basically the same. These two dimensions are so similar that Meyer literally repeats herself (ex. pages 72 and 216 give the exact same advice for the same exact problem). If you looked at an example from either chapter and had to guess which one it came from, you'd probably struggle. Chapter 2 was about "Providing Negative Feedback" and talked about how people express criticism and disagreement differently. Chapter 7 was about "Disagreeing Productively" and talked about how people express criticism and disagreement differently.

When I got to chapter 7, I couldn't help feeling like Meyer had forgotten she wrote chapter 2 and thought she was expressing the idea for the first time. Overall I do appreciate the nuance and careful distinctions she makes in this book, but this case just did not seem warranted. Criticism of 'actions and ideas' and criticism of 'ideas and actions' are not distinct enough to separate into two categories. If I use this in teaching, I will certainly combine the two together because teaching them apart just doesn't make sense.

Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy this book and do genuinely think it can be very useful. Taxonomies and frameworks for thinking are immensely useful (unless they are objectively erroneous) and this book certainly provides some practically useful ways to navigate and resolve cultural differences. Even if Meyer's evidence turned out to be shaky (which it may not be), these concepts can be applied to start conversations that actually help to address apparently irreconcilable differences between people of different cultures. Her nuanced perspective is totally appropriate and it is very likely that I will be purchasing copies for my all students very soon (we will of course address the issue of anecdotal evidence in our discussions, if we do use this book).
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