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Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working with Indians Paperback – Dec 12 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Intercultural Press; 1 edition (Dec 12 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931930341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931930345
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.7 x 23.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #425,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9c862750) out of 5 stars 27 reviews
88 of 92 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c7b375c) out of 5 stars Good mostly, outrageous at times Sept. 15 2008
By PG - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am an Indian and I read this book with great interest. I was amazed how he captured some of the things which we Indians do (especially the way we conduct meetings) but never realize.

What I don't like is when he starts discussing the reasoning behind the behaviour. At one point, he says that the reasons why Indians don't speak up has something to do with the fact that they have been ruled for years so they developed that awe for westerners. That is so funny.

The true reason behind the behaviour is not what he describes. The fact is that most of the western people face Indians when they outsource their IT work. In India, customer is god. Thats what Gandhi told us and thats what we are told from childhood. And in most interactions western people are customers, so Indians tend to respect them. Also, in India, respect for older people is a given thing. And most westerns are old as comparison to young IT people working on their projects. These are two prime reasons that Indian people don't openly oppose western people. It is so unfortunate to see author's reasons behind this behavior.

I have lived and travelled to different countries and studied culture out of my passion and am amazed by the differences in the culture. I always check with local people about the reasons behind their behavior. I wish the author had done more research with the local people before he gave his reasons for different cultural traits. At times it appears he is writing reasons that he thinks his typical readers would like to hear. Can I ever tell you better than you can tell me why you behave like you do?

So readers, do read his book to understand different cultural and behavior traits. However, take his reasoning with a pinch of salt. My belief is that reasoning behind cultural traits can by hypothesized only after thorough research of history and culture of a place. It is difficult to get a credible hypothesis after a superficial interaction with a small sample size of people of that place.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dcbad44) out of 5 stars Finally Hearing India! May 2 2008
By Emilie - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a project manager for a US-based software and web development company, I had some apprehension about working with a new off-shore programming team in India. As a second-generation American, paired with my experience teaching English and citizenship classes to refugees from around the world, I've come to know first-hand how challenging, and disastrous, culture misunderstandings can be. Now, with regular cross-cultural global communication also becoming a part of my career, I felt the pressure to make sure my misunderstanding did not interfere with business and project success.

Craig Storti comes to the rescue in a quick, yet comprehensive, read. I kept this book with in my laptop case to read a chapter whenever I had a free moment. I was able to absorb the content, even in short reading sessions. I found the introduction of the book helpful in expressing the crucial importance of cross-cultural communication in today's business world.

There are many features that set this book apart from others in its category. I really appreciated the scripted examples of conversations between an Indian and a Westerner that are included with the chapters. These examples really helped to make a connection in my mind between the lesson of the text and real world application. Storti points out the missteps in each of the example conversations, and how it could have been prevented. The extensive section of the book devoted singly to the "Indian Yes" and other agreements is especially invaluable and a must to any Western individual seeking to prevent the biggest road-block for Westerners in Indian communication. Non-verbal communication is also included, seasoned with rich content regarding cultural and familial backgrounds which create the foundation of differences in our communication styles, both of which give a comprehensive understanding.
The end of chapter summaries give you the necessary points for your own comprehension check and review.

I recommend this book specifically for Canadians, Americans, British, and Western Europeans working with East Indians in the business world. Although the book is written in a business context, teachers, volunteers, and vacation travelers would also benefit from the communication elements of this book, for a richer experience in India.

I shared this book with some Indian colleagues here in the US, who are quite Western. They found the book quite humorous, but said the accuracy and truth of it all is right on. Speaking of India has expanded my cultural understanding, and the effectiveness of my communicational understanding, with both East Indians here as "Westernized" long-time Americans, and Indians completely outside of my Western-centric experience.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9caa9390) out of 5 stars A short bridge across a long communication gap May 1 2008
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Format: Paperback
Craig Storti provides a straightforward, fact-based and eminently useful guide to culture and communication issues that complicate business between Westerners and Indians. Much of the literature on culture and business is vague and theoretical - so this book stands apart. The author targets the problems that are most likely to arise in commerce, offers detailed real-life examples and shows what practical solutions businesspeople can implement. He is evenhanded in his advice, offering tips to both Westerners and Indians. Most importantly, getAbstract finds that he is businesslike in his approach, focused, practical and realistic about what is achievable.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cc05df8) out of 5 stars Bridges the Gap Nov. 10 2012
By Suin - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I work state side (USA) with a diverse group of Indian software developers. Great people but it was obvious that there were gaps in business practices (missed deadlines, meanings lost in translation, absence of yes). A friend recommended this book. i had many "aha" moments while gaining invaluable insight into business cultural practices. The outcome was that I was able to be more effective in managing the overall project and improve relationships! The author provides several examples of practices between "USA/Northern Europe" and "India".
HASH(0x9c82bcfc) out of 5 stars Excellent insights to intercultural working relationships Jan. 9 2015
By J. Callen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book navigates a very difficult/sensitive subject - how one culture interacts with another without having either one come off as weird or calloused. Provides a great background for the social make-up which forms the mindset and then delicately illustrates how misunderstandings can develop as a result and how to best work together to gain a common appreciation and working relationship. A valuable read for any technologist in today's setting. Wish I had had this 20 years ago ...