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Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot - And Cold - Climate Cultures [Anglais] [Broché]

Sarah A. Lanier

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Foreign to Familiar Foreign to Familiar is a splendidly written, well researched work on cultures. Anyone traveling abroad should not leave home without this valuable resource! Sarah's love and sensitivity for people of all nations will touch your heart. This book creates within us a greater appreciation for our extended families around the world and an increased desire to better understand them. Full description

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  65 commentaires
59 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A clear, brief, practical introduction 9 janvier 2005
Par Russ Reaves - Publié sur Amazon.com
Sarah A. Lanier, Foreign to Familiar (Hagerstown, MD: McDougal Publishing,

2000), 128pp.

In her book Foreign to Familiar, Sarah Lanier seeks to aid the reader in

cross-cultural communication and relationships by highlighting the differences

between hot- and cold-climate cultures. While these concepts are unfamiliar to

most readers, Lanier quickly introduces and defines the categories before

discussing them in detail. Having lived in the Middle East, South America, Africa,

Europe, and New Zealand, Lanier (who is American) is certainly qualified to

address the issue. The reader gets the impression while reading that this book is

the fruit of her own experiences and frequent lectures on the subject in

different settings.

According to Lanier, "the population of the entire world can roughly be

divided into two parts. The two groups represented are 'hot-climate'

(relationship-based) cultures and 'cold-climate' (task-oriented) cultures" (15-16). Lanier

recognizes there may some overlap in the two categories, and cites one unnamed

person who suggested that she use the terms "hot/tribal" and "cold/urban"

(127). She also recognizes that personalities differ within each culture (128).

The primary distinction between the two cultures is that of relational focus as

opposed to task focus. Those in the warm-climates tend to emphasize the

relationships involved between individuals while those in cold-climates focus on the

efficient performance of tasks.

After defining the groups and explaining the primary relationship/task

distinction, Lanier spends the next six chapters explaining further manifestations

of the cultural differences. In Chapter Three, the focus is on direct versus

indirect communication. Chapter Four emphasizes the individualism of the

cold-climates over against the group-identity of the hot-climates. Privacy, highly

valued in the cold, is contrasted with inclusion as the norm in the cold-climate

in Chapter Five.

Chapters Six and Eight discuss two elements of society in which the

differences between hot- and cold-climates are very evident: hospitality and time.

Those with international travel experience will find themselves laughing with

familiarity as they read of Lanier's experiences. Of course, the hot-climates

demonstrate much more warm hospitality, while the cold-climates are extremely

conscious of time and planning.

In Chapter Seven, Lanier introduces a different distinction between cultures

which sometimes clouds the distinction between hot- and cold-climate cultures.

This distinction is between high- and low-context cultures. Drawing from

Edward T. Hall's Beyond Culture, Lanier defines the high-context culture as the

one which has a long history wherein traditions have become very formalized.

Low-context cultures are those whose history is briefer, whose population is more

diverse, and in which very few traditions have developed.

Some of the strongest points of Lanier's book are its brevity, clarity, and

engaging tone of Lanier's style. The reader is aware that Lanier is not writing

an academic treatise. Her aim is pragmatic. She delivers fully in Chapter

Nine, entitled "Practical Next Steps". Here simple steps are outlined to aid the

international traveler or other person who finds himself or herself developing

cross-cultural relationships. Perhaps the most beneficial element of the book

(whether Lanier or her publisher deserves this praise, the reviewer is not

sure) is the summary found at the end of each chapter. It is not as if the

chapters are so lengthy that this is a necessity, but the brief outline form of the

summaries makes relocating information very easy.

Unfortunately, Lanier does not point the reader to further information with

the exception of the brief mention of two sources. This is partly

understandable, in that the bulk of the book's content is based on lessons learned through

Lanier's experiences. Certainly since the time that she developed her ideas on

this subject, she has found other sources to which she could point those with

a hunger for further study. An annotated bibliography would be extremely

helpful in future editions.

This shortcoming notwithstanding, the book has made a positive contribution

to the field of cross-cultural communication. In Foreign to Familiar, Sarah

Lanier has provided a clear, brief, practical introduction to several key issues.

The book is written on the popular level, making it accessible to a wide

audience. This reviewer enjoyed the book and recommends it as a primer for anyone

involved in cross-cultural communication.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Short and helpful 28 mai 2004
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
"Foreign to Familiar" is a short very easy to read book that really is far more helpful than I could have ever imagined. As an anglo who has had relationships with hispanics my entire life I thought I understood hispanic people pretty well. After reading the book I now understand why some of the most important people in my life have made such stinging criticisms of me. They believe I am selfish and egotistical, I believed that they couldn't make decisions, were foolish with thier money, and let their family take advantage of them. I now understand why my friends act the way they do and can begin to see myself through their eyes. I wish someone could have taught me this stuff 20 years ago.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Learn how to communicate cross-culturally 7 juin 2002
Par Louise Leopold - Publié sur Amazon.com
As a college Professor, I have been using this book as a textbook to help my students learn how to communicate cross-culturally for almost 2 years now. It is a real eye openner both for students from Mid-America and for students from Latin America and Asia. It is so easy to be mis-understood. This study can heal the wounds and rejection that many people feel when they try to relate at work and in the community. Better yet, it can help us to prevent the hurts in the first place. I give it an A+.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book for real life situations! 3 août 2001
Par "jeanette_b" - Publié sur Amazon.com
This book really opened my eyes to the differences in various cultures groups and why communications were sometimes muddied or difficult. My job often requires communicating by mail or email with professionals in other countries, so this book has been a tremendous help in learning how to understand people in other cultures. The author breaks down the world's cultures into two basic categories: hot climate and cold climate. She then discusses the cultural differences in these two groups including the ways they communicate. The explanations on how time is perceived differently by each group and on indirect versus direct communications were so valuable! The book has changed the way I correspond with Africans, Hispanics, and Asians totally! Thanks so much, Sarah, for knowing how important this information was and for putting it into a book!
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 best cultural adjustment handbook 8 février 2007
Par L. S. Cox - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a succinct and accurate guidebook on the basic differences between cultures. The author has personal experience of many different cultures and offers a practical framework from which the reader can evaluate experiences in differing cultures. My husband and I use it much in our international work/travel situations, give it away often, and lend our own copy out frequently to those traveling in or moving to new cultures. Great resource.
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