MINI REVIEW: THE CULTURE MAP
The eight scales...
A bunch of my coworkers and I decided to do a group read along of this book, partly because of the good things others (both on the team and outside it) have said about it and also because we happen to be made up of people from different parts of the world.
HOW I RATED IT
5/5 A comprehensive and constructive look at how different cultures fall on the "eight scales" as well as what that means in terms of doing business across them.
The contents of this book are broken down into a Prologue, eight main chapters, and then an epilogue that wraps everything up. Immediately after reading the Prologue (which was as long as the main chapters), I was hooked and things only got better from there. Meyer gives some real life examples of where cultural differences created misunderstandings among people in professional settings and prevented both parties from doing their best work. She breaks down cultural differences into eight "scales," and dedicates one chapter to delving into each one. The scales themselves ranged from things like whether a particular culture is more hierarchical or egalitarian in their management structure to how different countries perceive time. Each section demonstrates what it means to fall on one extreme or the other, but also explores all the nuances in between and stresses the importance of relativity when it comes to considering how one country compares to another on the scales. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on how different cultures handle debate and disagreement because of how it breaks down why certain countries do not align to what you might expect based on where they fell on previously covered scales. I also appreciated how Meyers points out that an individual will still be unique and that there are certain things that are common among all human beings while still explaining how cultural norms will shape one's behavior and expectations (even if we are not conscious of how our own culture affects us). I think there was also a lot of concrete and constructive advice on how to navigate professional situations with people from cultures that differ from your own.
Generally, I like to pick professional development books up in a trade paperback edition, but for some reason I was able to get this hardcover for less and I found the eBook to be absurdly overpriced at just one dollar cheaper than the hardcover. Overall, I think this is a nice edition with comfortable interior fonts/formatting. I also appreciated the simple, but effective diagrams that illustrated key concepts as well as the eight scales. While the book itself is nicely made and the cover has a clean design, the dust jacket itself is a bit flimsy and mine wasn't folded quite right. I usually just set it aside because it was in the way when reading.
THE CULTURE MAP is a must-read for anyone who works in a multi-cultural environment (regardless of how long you've been working internationally) or just have an interest in international business engagements. I've loved reading this and discussing the content with my coworkers and am so glad that we picked this.
(+) Thoughtful advice on understanding cultural differences and navigating what to do about them
(+) Insightful real-life examples that speak to the content of each chapter
(+) Nicely laid out interior with some helpful diagrams
(+) Strikes a balance between factoring both the individual and the culture
(-) A flimsy and cumbersome dust jacket