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Book review: The Culture Map

Book review of The Culture Map

This is a book review of “The Culture Map – Decoding how people think, lead, and get things done across cultures” by Erin Meyer. This is one of those books I picked up in the personal development section at an airport. Because naturally I had run out of reading material already.

If you want to have a look at what I am currently reading, feel free to find me on Goodreads.

Summary

“Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together.

Even with English as a global language, it’s easy to fall into cultural traps that endanger careers and sink deals. In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world.”

This summary is kindly borrowed from the back of the book.

The Culture Map – a travel guide?

I did not know of this book, before buying it. Even though it’s been a hot minute since I read it, I still don’t really see it mentioned in the book community. Maybe I should follow more personal development youtubers?

Anyway, I like these types of books, if they are well written. I’ve read a few that missed the mark, but this one is actually well worth reading in my opinion, and here’s why.

This book is actionable. It really is straightforward applicable into my worksetting and my life in general. Which I really appreciate. There is no fun in reading a book about workplaces, that’s boring, too academic or too into its own world. Sure, some of Meyer’s examples are from quite a different worksetting than what I’m used to. But that doesn’t matter, because it translates so well. At least for me.

Meyer shifts the focus between theory and anecdotes and mixes it with simple illustrations. Basically, it’s graphs, lines and circles. It’s simple yet effective. Meyer basically maps out their experiences from working in different contexts. Meanwhile, making it fun and educational to read.

Contexts and stories in The Culture Map

While Meyer uses anecdotes sprinkled inbetween educational illustrations, it’s easy to follow the overall arch of the book. The Culture Map is genuinely a solid tool in learning about the importance of context. But it’s not definitive and doesn’t claim to be!

One thing really got me with this book. It’s also the main reason I want to recommend it to anyone with an interest in people and cultures. It’s the fact that everything is relative to your own context(-s). Where you grew up and how you were trained. The school you went to and the stories you heard growing up. All this and so much more, all impact how you work. The values you uphold and the work ethics you swear by.

Relative to others, you might be more or less informal. You might be more or less direct. And Meyer includes quite a few spectres of contexts and relative values in The Culture Map. This might make it easier to understand how nationality/business sector plays in, when you’re talking to someone from overseas.

Many misunderstandings can be avoided and lots of respect can be gained, if you know and value others’ starting point. And that is exactly what I feel this book has taught me. It definitely framed it in a way that made sense to me!

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer is an accessible and widely appliccable handbook for understanding and working with other people. Do you ever read books like this, for fun?

If you’re curious and want to browse through other book reviews on this page, feel free to have a look at my collection of book reviews right here>>

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