A detailed, helpful, and well-written guide to developing and sustaining cross-cultural partnerships.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A manual focuses on making successful professional connections in the Arab world.

In this book, Hornok draws on a long experience working in Arab countries to counsel readers on the most effective ways to deal with businesses in the region. The guide begins with a psychological approach to establishing interpersonal connections, urging readers from other cultures to understand their own mindsets and enter into interactions from an open and nonjudgmental perspective. (Problematic emotions are personified throughout the volume; examples of what Hornok calls “Emotional Hinderers”—“Relentless Judgment,” “Aggressive Inner Critic,” and “Incensed Anger Rascal,” among others—appear in several places, occasionally accompanied by Sung’s illustrations.) The author explores the role of small talk, the importance of family loyalty and bonds, and methods of coming to agreement, with numerous examples provided for each topic. Hornok also addresses cultural taboos and the appropriate use of humor in business settings. Anecdotes from international and Arab businesspeople—some named and some anonymous, with each speaker identified by country of origin and industry—make up much of the narrative. They serve as inspiration for the author’s methodical and persuasive analysis of what was done right and wrong in each situation as well as how the underlying principles of these specific incidents can be more broadly applied. The volume also encourages readers to adopt key strategies like the “From Inside to Outside technique” (fostering a “positive inner attitude”) and “the Gas-Shift-Brake technique” (calculating how much pressure to exert and when to pull back) in their interactions, with Hornok making frequent mention of the concepts throughout the work. Taken together, the book’s elements offer a step-by-step guide to establishing the relationships that make business transactions succeed.

From the manual’s opening pages, the author presents a convincing case for developing cross-cultural understanding as a crucial business skill and a minimum qualification for working internationally. Readers will not be left wondering about the value of the volume’s advice, as the anecdotes provide many stories of deals and sales achieved through understanding local norms and methods. Overgeneralization is always a risk in books that attribute traits to an entire region or culture, but Hornok does much to mitigate this by including a wide range of first-person accounts from Arab professionals throughout the region (“The personal relationship is equally as important as the business relationship itself,” an Omani reports), demonstrating that the values dissected in these pages are more shared reality than stereotype. The “Emotional Hinderers,” which are further discussed in an appendix, can feel overused, especially when Hornok encourages readers to address them directly (“So, dear ‘Relentless Judgment,’ I’m asking you, politely, to relax”). But the anthropomorphizing of emotions detracts little from the volume’s overall effectiveness. The author is knowledgeable about the realities of working in Arab countries and does a good job of transmitting that expertise in an authoritative and straightforward way, acknowledging cultural differences without making value judgments. The section examining small talk as an essential feature of business conversations is particularly well done, showing how extensive preparations for minor discussions can deliver substantial results. On the whole, the book is comprehensive, well organized, and skillfully crafted, a useful tool for Westerners looking to attain a professional win in a different part of the world.

A detailed, helpful, and well-written guide to developing and sustaining cross-cultural partnerships.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-367-26502-1

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Routledge

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2020


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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011


A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

Close Quickview