Living Among the Swiss

( 4 )

Overview

This book describes the author's experiences during eight years of living and working among the Swiss. It examines several aspects of the Swiss banking system from the viewpoints of consumers, investors, and employees. It depicts cultural differences as well as the practical difficulties confronting the new immigrant as he seeks to put down roots. It seeks to edify the vicarious traveler as well as those seriously considering relocation here. Finally, it celebrates in some detail the beauty of this relatively ...
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Overview

This book describes the author's experiences during eight years of living and working among the Swiss. It examines several aspects of the Swiss banking system from the viewpoints of consumers, investors, and employees. It depicts cultural differences as well as the practical difficulties confronting the new immigrant as he seeks to put down roots. It seeks to edify the vicarious traveler as well as those seriously considering relocation here. Finally, it celebrates in some detail the beauty of this relatively simple and honest land, with especial emphasis on the cantons of Berner Oberland, Graubünden and Wallis, as well as the environs of Zürich. While the observations focus on the German-Swiss, they are surprisingly applicable to the French- and Italian-speaking cantons as well.

This book falls somewhere between a travel guide and a book of reflections and memoirs, and thus is an unashamedly open and frank reaction to a foreign way of life. Michael Wells Glueck's gaze falls on many aspects of Swiss existence, and it never loses its particular, unique focus. Living Among The Swiss will provide much information for the reader, who will learn from its pages a great deal about the world of Switzerland and beyond, and also be privileged to form a distinct picture of Mr. Glueck himself: a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow who taught English and Classics at Columbia and other U.S. universities for several years before entering the investment business in 1969. His biography is sketched in the 2001 and subsequent editions of Who's Who In America.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595241712
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Edition description: Fouth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 1,218,685
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Even if you are not especially fastidious, some Swiss cultural traditions will certainly appall you. Swiss employers are reluctant to hire single women who, they suspect, are likely to get married and raise a family. Male chauvinism is rampant here; women cater to men and to male tastes and preferences. You may be struck by the sight of wives following rather than preceding their husbands. For example, at a concert, as often as not, a long-legged Swiss male will step into a row, take the nearer of the two seats for which he has purchased tickets, and sit down, thus forcing his wife to push past him to the next seat. Even the obese concertmaster of the Zürich "Kammerorchester" or Chamber Orchestra invariably exhibits this discourtesy towards his female colleagues in the string section. Or, again, when you go to a swimming area you will see topless women, some wearing thongs, some not even that much. Ah, you think, how nice! (Ne "tush" pas!) Then the object of your admiration raises her arm. Ugh! Shaving of body hair is not universal here. And there are lots of Hängetitten, or pendulous breasts, as aerobic exercises are virtually unknown. Jane Fonda, the Swiss need your videocassettes! In the course of a summer, with women changing into and out of bathing suits all around me without benefit of a towel, I see perhaps three truly beautiful female bodies, perhaps one face hinting at a compassionate soul within. Occasionally, you will see someone whom you know, perhaps a neighbor and his topless wife. The first time this happens, you will have to summon all your savoir-faire not to blush or be nervous and to look the woman in the eyes, not the nipples - unless, of course, you come from California or Florida, or perhaps Vermont or Martha's Vineyard.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2006

    Definitely not a whitewash

    Are you considering a job offer in Switzerland? This work provides fair warning about the obstacles that you and your spouse will face as an immigrant: a chauvinistic, closed society of incomprehensible, dialect-speaking burghers obsessed with money and reluctant to trust foreigners even after years of acquaintanceship high rents and prices for inferior food -- especially beef and chicken -- clothing, and automobiles undisguised resentment that you are denying a job opportunity to a Swiss citizen discrimination in career advancement and promotion. Most expatriates leave after a year in order to preserve their marriages. Take these caveats to heart before succumbing to the temptations of Alpine skiing and clean, fresh-water swimming. And read this book before deciding whether to accept the job offer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2005

    An honest, unsparing, accurate assessment of the Swiss

    This work touches a sensitive nerve for Swiss readers like myself, because it captures the natives' xenophobia, chauvinism, insularity, fear of assimilation by their German neighbors to the north, and general feelings of inferiority and prejudice. The Swiss are not known for great works of art or music or for educational accomplishments outside the fields of medicine and biochemistry/pharmacology or for feminism or even sensitivity to women, and so a book by an American author that pokes fun at these deficiencies serves only to aggravate its subjects' phobias. The surprising popularity of this work in Switzerland should be taken as testimony to this volume's trenchant effectiveness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    Living Among the Swiss

    The author is highly educated and remarkably articulate, which as a German who taught forestry at Arizona State University I find quite unusual for an American. He clearly has a strong background in Latin. I learned many new English words, and I also found a great deal of new information about places in Switzerland that I thought I had known. Finally, I found the book extremely witty and humorous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2002

    Living Among the Swiss

    A gem of a memoir that captures the beauty and peacefulness of Switzerland as well as the glacial stolidity of many of its inhabitants. Discusses everything Swiss from age and sex discrimination to xenophobia. Combines a travel guide to the cantons of Zurich, the Bernese Alps, Central Switzerland, Wallis or Valais, and Graubunden or Grisons - with emphasis on skiing, hiking, and fine dining - with an analysis of questionable Swiss banking and investment practices, some of which could be construed as illegal in the U.S. Provides a primer for those seeking actually or vicariously to adapt to Swiss society and culture. Written in a spirit of satire with wit, humor, and a tincture of scholarship by a highly educated American, whose factual impressions of a foreign way of life are far more entertaining than many recently introduced works of fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2000

    Informative, witty, and humorous

    The author is remarkably articulate, which as a German I find quite unusual for an American. He clearly has a strong background in Latin. I learned many new English words, and I also found new information about places in Switzerland which I thought I had known. Finally, I found the book extremely witty and humorous.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 1999

    Living among the Swiss

    A gem of a memoir that captures the beauty and peacefulness of Switzerland as well as the glacial stolidity of many of its inhabitants. Discusses everything Swiss from age and sex discrimination to xenophobia. Combines a travel guide to the cantons of Zurich, the Bernese Alps, Central Switzerland, Wallis or Valais, and Graubunden or Grisons - with emphasis on skiing, hiking, and fine dining - with an analysis of questionable Swiss banking and investment practices, some of which could be construed as illegal in the U.S. Provides a primer for those seeking actually or vicariously to adapt to Swiss society and culture. Written in a spirit of satire with wit, humor, and a tincture of scholarship by a highly educated American, whose factual impressions of a foreign way of life are far more entertaining than many recently introduced works of fiction.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 1999

    Living among the Swiss

    A jewel of a memoir that captures the beauty and peacefulness of Switzerland as well as the glacial stolidity of its inhabitants. Provides a travel guide to the cantons of Zurich, the Bernese Alps, Central Switzerland, Graubunden or Grisons, and Wallis or Valais, with emphasis on skiing, hiking, and fine dining. Discusses everything Swiss from age and sex discrimination to xenophobia. Analyzes questionable Swiss banking and investment practices, including some which would be illegal in the U.S. Documents the educational deficiencies and cultural prejudices of Swiss business professionals. Provides a primer for those seeking actually or vicariously to adjust to Swiss society. Written by a highly educated American in a spirit of satire with wit, humor, and a tincture of scholarship.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 1999

    A jewel of a memoir that captures the beauty and peacefulness of Switzerland.

    A jewel of a memoir that captures the beauty and peacefulness of Switzerland as well as the glacial stolidity of its inhabitants. Provides a travel guide to the cantons of Zurich, Central Switzerland, the Bernese Alps, Wallis or Valais, and Graubunden or Grisons. Describes questionable Swiss banking and investment practices, some of which would be illegal in the U.S. Documents the educational deficiencies and chauvinistic prejudices of Swiss business professionals. Discusses everything Swiss from age and sex discrimination to xenophobia. Written in a spirit of satire with wit, humor, and a tincture of scholarship by a highly educated American. Offers a primer for those seeking actually or vicariously to adapt to Swiss culture and society.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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