What these books are about

A set of studies about the deep meanings of culture. Edward T. Hall has lead a unique study in order to understand the consequences in our lives of our education. These books are not the latest available on the subject. Authors like Hofstede, Trompenaars or Lewis have produced more recent and maybe thorough studies. But T. Hall work is still worth reading if you are interested in the field of cross-cultural communication. These were the first books I read on the topic of cross-cultural communication. And I must say, they have saved me from a lot of frustration!

beyond-cultureSilentLanguage

The Hidden DimensionThe Dance of Life

The Review

Edward T. hall has studied in a unique way the impact of culture in your daily life. Culture, doesn’t mean books or movies or even songs but is defining the part of yourself that you don’t really master anymore. All these reflex that you consider as natural are specific to each culture. They make you behave and think differently in front of the same situation if you are German, French, American or Japanese. It sounds obvious but it is not and Hall has driven an impressive study over the years which should be read by everybody living in a multi-cultural environment.
Once you have read these books you will never react the same way in front of your colleagues or friends coming from another culture. It should help you to avoid useless conflicts mainly caused by misunderstanding. Not that Hall is giving the explanation to everything but he is studying generic questions as: What is being late?; Are we doing one thing at a time like the Germans and the Americans or several at a time like the Arabs or the French? How do we live and organise our space? Why is it so hard for a German to accept living in an american open space and why are Americans getting mad in front of closed doors? What is the good space between you and the person you are speaking with? Not close enough to touch the other one or close enough to smell his breath? Why?

The books are about different dimensions of culture: space, time, non-verbal communication. They are together building the bigger picture.

These books are a mandatory reading for managers and team leaders dealing with people coming from different origins. At Liemur, we integrate these studies in our way of working as we aim to work in multi-cultural environments.

Maybe the reading experience is not the easiest one can have. Geert Hofstede is easier to read and so is Trompenaars. But it is worth the little effort required. And the books are small anyway.

 

I do recommend to read these books from Edward T. Hall.