A handy, practical manual for understanding cultural differences from a business perspective.



An exploration of the unique aspects of the Japanese business world.

Western executives who attempt to do business in Japan without reading this excellent guidebook do so at their own risk. This updated edition of a 2005 work comprises just five chapters, but each comprehensively covers its subject, helpfully segmenting the material into small, digestible chunks. The first chapter’s general description of Japanese culture demonstrates an intimate understanding of the country’s hierarchical society and the importance that its citizens place on work. Chapter 2, “Japanese Social Etiquette,” should prove a vital safety net for any foreign businessperson, offering helpful pointers about such basics as bowing and presenting business cards. Just as importantly, Takei (Sociology/Nihon Univ.) and Alston (co-author: Flock of Dodos, 2007, etc.), a professor emeritus of sociology at Texas A&M University, provide insider information about Japanese etiquette regarding eating and drinking, including common courtesies that differ from American conventions. They even show how to craft an email properly: “the normal U.S. American way of writing emails will be interpreted by Japanese as too direct, impersonal, and even unfriendly.” Readers will likely find the book’s third and fourth chapters to be particularly useful, as they deal with “Work in Japan” and “Negotiations.” The former contains insightful information about how decisions are made and meetings are run: “From the Japanese perspective, there is never an acceptable excuse allowing a participant to show anger or lose his temper. Meetings are also not the places to argue vehemently.” The latter chapter offers on-target advice on how to negotiate with Japanese businessmen, warning that a failure of negotiations is “primarily the result of cultural misunderstandings rather than a lack of attractive economic offers.” It bears mentioning that the text is occasionally a bit repetitive, and the final chapter may have a more limited audience, as it concerns working directly for Japanese executives. After each chapter, the authors suggest additional readings, and an aptly titled “Glossary of Useful Words” explains the complexity of several Japanese terms.

A handy, practical manual for understanding cultural differences from a business perspective.

Pub Date: May 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-4818-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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