Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review: Korean Business Etiquette: The Cultural Values And Attitudes That Make Up The Korean Business Personality

Title: Korean Business Etiquette: The Cultural Values And Attitudes That Make Up The Korean Business Personality
Author: Boye Lafayette De Mente
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (September 15, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0804835829
ISBN-13: 978-0804835824

Not bad at all. Chapters are broken up into sizeable chunks that are insightful and easy to read. My biggest complaint stems from the fact that despite the author's extensive knowledge of the Korean language, he refrains from using any 한글 in the book - only romanization of key terms. This makes for a sloppy glossary.

Don't let this questionable editing mistake steer you away from this book - not only does it contain nugget after nugget of valuable information, it also contains a fantastic summary of ancient and modern Korea wrapped up in about 12 pages.

The author does well to tie in his knowledge of Japanese culture and business as it plays a big role in Korea. However, I would have liked more taboos and "do-not-do-this-you-impatient-foreign-businessperson" tidbits - although the book has plenty. I suppose the best feature of the book is it's instant pick-up-and-read aspect however, if the proper context isn't taken into account, I'm afraid that some of this book might be forgettable - which is a shame.

Perhaps it goes without saying that this book is applicable to anyone living in Korea and has thousands of applications outside the business world. A great read.

- - -

My first business culture book and certainly a memorable one. I've always been told of the mystery and enigma that is Korean business etiquette. Although it's still a frustrating business culture, this book certainly does demystify it and put it in an approachable manner.

The author is no lightweight to commercial media on all things Korea and he does what does quite well. He's a respectable pioneer and has made some progress for countless foreign businesspeople. This book isn't the answer to everything but it does prepare you for a typical Korean work environment, although first hand experience will undoubtedly make what the book is trying to convey more clearly. All in all, if you would like to avoid most misunderstandings and misinterpretations, this book is a great introduction. Cheap, concise and widely available, there's no reason to have read this at least once.


Post a Comment