Monday, May 6, 2013

Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer

book cover
Cross-Cultural Connections
by Duane Elmer

ISBN-13: 9780830823093
Trade Paperback: 215 pages
Publisher: IVP Academic
Released: August 29, 2002

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Experienced cross-cultural specialist Duane Elmer provides a compass for navigating through different cultures. He shows us how to avoid pitfalls and cultural faux pas, as well as how to make the most of opportunities to build cross-cultural relationships. Filled with real-life illustrations and practical exercises, this guide offers the tools needed to reduce apprehension, communicate effectively, and establish genuine trust and acceptance.

Above all, Elmer demonstrates how we can avoid being cultural imperialists and instead become authentic ambassadors for Christ. Whether you are embarking on a short-term mission trip or traveling for business or pleasure, this book is both an ideal preparation and a handy companion for your journey.

My Review:
Cross-Cultural Connections is intended for missionaries or others who want to better understand and communicate with people from other cultures--including with people in our own country. It's like a class or workbook format, but it's easy to read and understand. The author covered some differences between various cultures, gave real life examples of those differences, and explained some of the "whys" behind the differences.

The book started by explaining why we should study other cultures and how to deal with culture shock. It then discussed several different cultural values: time vs event focus, relationship vs task focus, individual vs group priority, category vs holistic thinking, roundabout or straight forward or other discussion styles, achieved or assigned status, honor/shame or guilt, and outgoing or quiet worship styles.

Though the author separated out and explained the different concepts in different chapters, many cultural behaviors seemed tied together and perhaps could have been discussed together. Still, I felt he did a good job explaining differences to look out for and preparing people for culture shock.

I liked that he noted that cultures aren't necessarily going to be one extreme or another and that individuals within a culture can be different than "the norm." Another book I've read recently on a similar topic implied that all cultures were one extreme or another, which isn't been true in my experience.

I got this book because it was suggested as "further reading" to better understand other cultures because this can also help Christians understand some things in the Bible. I do think it has helped me in that way. I'd recommend this book to those going on international trips or who otherwise would like to understand other cultures better. This is a "starter book," though, so frequent travelers who feel at home in other cultures probably won't get so much out of it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

No comments: