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Posted July 23, 2007
Wearing Chinese Glasses: How (Not) to Go Broke in Chinese Asia is a clever treatise on how to see the business world the way Chinese people do. It is apparent from author Greg Bissky¿s painfully funny stories that he learned this valuable lesson through much trial and error at the cultural school of hard knocks. His business culture book is part biography, part reflection, and part reference tool for cross-cultural communication. Wearing Chinese Glasses presents Bissky¿s 20 years of experience in business as a Westerner immersed in the Asian culture beginning with his first disastrous forays into Asian society with his myopic Western glasses firmly in place. The culmination of his experiences and insights into this culture, so foreign from his own, is creatively presented in this his debut work. Bissky wittily depicts the good, the bad, and the ugly American from the Chinese perspective. In each instructional segment of the work he manages to weave in some tidbits of wisdom and humor. It is easy to see oneself, so worried about how to use chopsticks or to know some other Chinese habit that we fail to even recognize we are completely ignorant of the customs of communication. Fluency in the language and knowledge of an obscure dialect will never seal the deal! Grammar and vocabulary are not going to be the source of business problems in Chinese Asian business deals. Instead, the ¿way the language is used¿ will be the epicenter of ruin according to the author. The Western Rules of Communication are very different from the Chinese Rules. Violating these rules can mean the difference between the success and the failure of the Westerner in the Chinese business community. Understanding the rules of Chinese communication comes from understanding Chinese culture and its origins. What makes Westerners uniquely different from our Chinese counterparts culturally is not our family values, our history, or even our Judeo-Christian religions it is our philosophy that keeps us apart. Bissky maintains our philosophical origins are so vastly different that it is like comparing an apple to an orange. Western culture has a Hellenic philosophy, influenced by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle based on learning and discovery. Chinese culture, heavily influenced by Confucius, has a philosophy based on relationships and rules. No wonder they think we are barbarians we are the proverbial Venus and Mars when it comes to philosophy! Wearing Chinese Glasses will be an important guidebook for anyone brave enough to venture into the complicated business world of Chinese Asia. Fear not! With this book in hand, you too can attempt to master the ways of the Good Westerner by educating yourself and embracing the fact that the Chinese do things in a different way. Success will come through study, practice, adapting and trying to be a good, sensitive barbarian.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.