Cultural Survival Kit Book Review

Survival Kit Book CoverStephanie Rexroth, a friend of mine recommended this book after her overseas trip to Russia. Since I have moved a lot (unfortunately not overseas though) and I work with companies on their cultures I was interested to see what it was about.

Pros: It is a great place to start if you will be traveling or working overseas, or if you are just looking to understand why other people or religions do things that seem wrong to you. It is very practical in how it approaches these different topics. Kohls is also amazing talented at saying without saying that we all prejudge—whether you are aware of it or not. He also justifies culture-shock and reverse-culture shock in a way that tells you it’s OK when you feel this, it too will pass. It's part of the process.

Cons: It is very basic. Anyone who has culture training or experience may find the book redundant and elementary. Those without this training will find it extremely eye-opening (possibly offending if you don’t feel you have ever prejudged someone). I would like to see an updated version that talks about travel and living overseas post 9/11 and perhaps include specific case studies. Also, Kohls does a very good job of profiling Americans and how they may be different throughout the country, but he seems to ignore or gloss-over this same fact when it comes to other countries. Just because you experience one way/thing in this part of a country, doesn’t mean you will experience the exact same thing in another. Like America, other countries have subcultures.

All in all, it is a great book, and I do highly recommend it as a starting place not just for overseas work and travel but for day-to-day living within your home country. We come across so many differences in people that if you recognize them as 'different' instead of 'right or wrong' it will make your own life much easier.

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