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Building Cultural Awareness with Lisa Velázquez

Feature Article: Must-Read Books for Intercultural Understanding

Compiled by "Intercultural Insights"


Country-, Culture- or Region-Specific

Afghanistan

  • "Bookseller of Kabul" by Asne Seierstad.

Africa

  • "Disgrace" by J.M. Coetzee
  • "The Fate of Africa" by Martin Meredith

Asia

  • "The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why" by Richard E. Nisbett

Australia

  • "Holy Cow!" by Sarah MacDonald.
  • "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts.

Canada

  • "Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language" by Eva Hoffman.
  • "Oba-san" by Joy Kogawa

China

  • "Beyond the Chinese Face: Insights from Psychology" by Michael Harris Bond
  • "China's New Culture of Cool" by Yu, Chan and Ireland
  • "Coming Home Crazy" by Bill Holm
  • "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan

England

  • "Bloody Foreigners" by Robert Winder
  • "The English" by Jeremy Paxman
  • "Watching the English" by Kate Fox

Europe

  • "The Europeans" by Luigi Barzini

France

  • "Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris" by Sara Turnbull
  • "Divisadero" by Michael Ondaatje
  • "Paris to the Moon" by Adam Gopnick
  • "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong" by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

Hmong

  • "The Spirit Catches You and You fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures" by Anne Faiman

India

  • "Holy Cow!" by Sarah Macdonald
  • "Ilija Tojanow"
  • "The Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • "Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts
  • "Speaking of India" by Craig Storti

Indonesia

  • "Dreams from My Father" by Barack Obama
  • "Tales of a Female Nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman
  • Japan
  • "My Year of Meat" by Ruth L. Ozeki
  • "Oba-san" by Joy Kogawa
  • "Turning Japanese" by David Mura

Latino/Hispanic

  • "Caramelo" by Sandra Cisneros
  • "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents" by Julia Alvarez
  • "Latin America: Its Place in the World" by Samuel Guy Inman
  • "When I was Puertorican" by Esmeralda Santiago

LGBT

  • "A Soul Has No Gender: Love and Acceptance through the Eyes of a Mother of Sexual and Gender Minority Children" by Denise M. Ajeto

Men

  • "Why Men Are the Way They Are" by Warren Farrell

Mexico

  • "Caramelo" by Sandra Cisneros
  • "Good Neighbors" by Jack Condon
  • "El Labyrinth de la Soledad" (Laberynth of Solitude) by Octavio Paz
  • "Management in Two Cultures" by Eva S. Kras
  • "Mexicans and Americans: Cracking the Cultural Code" by Ned Crouch

Middle East

  • "The Arab Mind" by R. Patai
  • "Ilija Tojanow"
  • "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East" by Sandy Tolan
  • "Through Arab Eyes" (Les Croisades vues par les Arabes, 1986) ISBN 0-8052-0898-4
  • "Understanding Arabs: a Guide for Modern Times" by Margaret Nydell
  • The Netherlands
  • "Help ik ben blank geworden" (Help, I turned white) by A Bram Vermeulen
  • "The Undutchables" by C. White & Boucke

Poland

  • "Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language" by Eva Hoffman
  • "Nowy Jork. Przewodnik niepraktyczny" by Kamila Slawinska
  • "Polactwo" by Rafal A. Ziemkiewcz

Roma

  • "Divisadero" by Michael Ondaatje
  • Sri Lanka
  • "Anil's Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje

USA

  • "America" by Allistair Cooke
  • "American Against the World: How We are Different and Why We Are Disliked" by Andrew Kohut
  • "American Cultural Patterns: A Cross-Cultural Perspective" by E. Stewart and M. Bennett
  • "Caramelo" by Sandra Cisneros
  • "Corporate Tribalism" by Tom Kochman and Jean Mavrelis
  • "A Different Mirror: A Multicultural History of America" by Ronald Takaki
  • "Divisadero" by Michael Ondaatje
  • "Dreams from My Father" by Barack Obama
  • "Good Neighbors" by Jack Condon
  • "The Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • "the Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan
  • "Management in Two Cultures" by Eva S. Kra
  • "Mexicans and Americans: Cracking the Cultural Code" by Ned Crouch
  • "My Year of Meat" by Ruth L. Ozeki
  • "Nowy Jork. Przewodnik niepraktyczny" by Kamila Slawinska
  • "The Post American World" by Fareed Zakaria
  • "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures" by Anne Fadiman
  • "Tales of a Female Nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman
  • "The Ugly American" by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick
  • "We Hold These Truths to be Self-evident: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Roots of Racism and Slavery in America" by Kenneth Addison
  • "What's Up, America?" by Diane Asitimbay

The West

  • "The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently ... and Why" by Richard E. Nisbett

Women

  • "Tales of a Female Nomad" by Rita Golden Gelman

Topic-Specific

Alternative Approaches/Tools to Intercultural Understanding

  • "Seeing Through Maps: Many Ways to See the World" by Denis Wood, Ward L. Kaiser and Bob Abramms
  • "Storytelling, la machine a fabriquer des histories et a formater les esprits" by Christian Salmon
  • "Understanding Global Culturas" by Martin Gannon

Business and Management

  • "Corporate Tribalims" by Tom Kochman and Jean Maverlis
  • "Cross-Cultural Management, a Knowledge Management Perspective" by Nigel Holden
  • "The Cultural Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as they Do" Clotaire Rapaille
  • "Culture, Leadership and Organizations: the GLOBE Study of 62 Societies" edited by RJ House et. al.
  • "Culture and Organization: Software of the Mind" by Geert Hofstede and Gert Jan Hofstede
  • "My Year of Meat" by Ruth L. Ozeki
  • "Riding the Waves of Culture" by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-turner
  • "Successful Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances" Bu C. Gancel, I. Rodgers and M. Raynaud
  • Coaching
  • "Coaching Across Cultures" by Philippe Rosinski

Communication Skills

  • "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life" by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • Development
  • "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Education

  • "Race, Culture and Education: the selected works of James A. Banks" by James A. Banks
  • "When Teachers Face themselves" by Arthur Thomas Jersild
  • Food
  • "Food and Culture" by Pamela Goyan Kittler and Kathryn P. Sucher

General Intercultural

  • "Beyond Culture" by Edward T. Hall
  • "Communication Across Cultures" by Stella Ting-Toomey
  • "The Cultural Imperative" by Richard Lewis
  • "Dreams from My Father" by Barack Obama
  • "Essais" by Michel de Montaigne
  • "Gifts and Strangers" Meeting the Challenge of Inculturation" by Anthony J. Gittins
  • "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents" by Julia Alvarez
  • "Human Beliefs and Value" edited by R. Ingelhart et. al.
  • "In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong"
  • "The Inner Game of Tennis" by tim Gallwey
  • "Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language" by Eva Hoffman
  • "Making a World of Difference: Personal Leadership" by Barbara Schaetti, Sheila Ramsey, and Gordon Watanabe
  • "Othello" by Williams Shakespeare
  • "Us and Them: Understanding our Tribal Mind" by David Berreby
  • "War and Peace" by Tolstoi

Global/International

  • "Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance, and Why They Fall" by Amy Chua
  • "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner
  • "A Geography of Time" by Robert Levine
  • "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond
  • "The Post American World" by Fareed Zakaria
  • "Revolution or Renaissance: Making the Transition from an Economic Age to a Cultural Age" by D. Paul Shafer
  • "When Cultures Collide" by Richard Lewis
  • "the World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman
  • "The World is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V.S. Naipaul" by Patrick French
  • "World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnis Hatred and Global Instability" by Amy Chua

Healthcare

  • "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures" by Anne Fadiman

Language and Culture

  • "Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language" by Eva Hoffman
  • "The Unfolding of Language" by Guy Deutscher

Love and Sex

  • "Intimacies: Love and Sex Across Cultures" by William Jakowiak

If you have a favorite book that gave you insight into another culture and you didn’t find it on this list, I’d love to hear about it. Just drop me a note at lisa@lisavel.com and I'll share the suggestions next month.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in this reading list, please forward the entire newsletter including my contact information.

Thank you and happy reading  

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