Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: Culture Smart! Korea: a quick guide to customs and etiquette

Title: Culture Smart! Korea: A Quick Guide to Customs & Etiquette
Author: James E Hoare 
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company (January 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1558687912
ISBN-13: 978-1558687912

For being so small, this little book is the best book on Korean culture I have read in a long time. It contains so much, so quickly that I read it twice in just one week. It provides an insight not just as a traveler, but as someone who interacts with Koreans. It provides bits of knowledge, trivia, and tips that is well worth the modest cover price. There are several "crash course" books like this, and take it from someone who owns them all practically, this one is the by far the best.

Seeing as how it is designed as an overview, you get more than your money's worth (less than ten bucks including shipping). Want to give a friend something to read on the airplane ride over before they meet you in Korea? This book fits the bill quite nicely.

I'm honestly surprised that this book gets over-shadowed by the "Lonely Planet" series. Ignore the hype and pick up this book.
Certainly not the best book on the planet but respectable for such a small little text. Although the amount of history is negligible, the simplicity of the book for the everyman is what I envy. I love how plainly it's written. It appeals to a wide audience. Hopefully, this inspires others to pick up academic texts later as it did for me. For a small culture book, it gets the job done.


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