The Culture Smart! series has only been made possible thanks to efforts of our worldwide team. We would like to acknowledge our authors, editors, designers, proof-readers, booksellers, distributors and all those involved, for their contributions.
Having moved to the United Kingdom in my late twenties, I have always been acutely aware of the need for a certain amount of cultural literacy in order to really 'get' what is going on around me.
Of course, I learned the hard way; turns of phrase, body language and local customs are not all things that are necessarily learned overnight. In some cases, years of experience is what it took to become really fluent. I vividly remember how, during those first months, I often wished there were some way I could read from the same rulebook that everyone else seemed to have access to, the 'crib sheet' of unspoken gestures and social dynamic.
These experiences were my inspiration for creating a range of guidebooks that would give visitors to foreign lands a key to understanding the expectations and unwritten rules of the local culture, a relatively quick and painless way to acquire a good level of understanding and practical know-how.
In an age of global travel, Culture Smart! guides are something I feel can make a real contribution to people all over world who are going to spend time abroad and who have a desire to understand what is going on around them – for me, it was the difference between night and day.
Today, I see the range as my small contribution to building cross-cultural bridges in a world that is always in need of a little more patience and understanding, especially if we want to be truly successful in becoming a functional global community.
When Joshua Kuperard invited me to join him in creating a new kind of cultural guide, I leapt at the chance. It was a perfect fit.
Having lived in three countries myself, I’ve had first-hand experience of the cultural learning curve, a process that goes from the shock of the new to the rediscovery of what’s universally human. Settling into a publishing career in London, I became a glutton for information and happily involved in the business of passing on knowledge to the general reader.
I’ve been lucky enough to work for three major English publishing houses and some interesting minor ones, in a stimulating time in British publishing. With every book I learned something new, from general reference, history, archaeology, and comparative religion to the fine and applied arts and popular science. Working in publishing has been rather like living in the university of the first, second, and third ages, with one’s authors as interesting teachers and, often, friends. Also, for years, through my wife’s work I’ve watched a steady stream of first-time visitors from abroad learning to cope with life in the UK.
All this was an excellent preparation for the launch of the Culture Smart! guides, which we created for travelers looking for a rich and rewarding cultural experience and a deeper understanding of the people they will meet. At present there are nearly a hundred titles in the series, and there are many more to come. Our journey of discovery continues.
As a book designer for more than twenty-five years, being able to work on a wide variety of books has always been a thrill, as each project is different. Whether it is cookery, natural history, photography, or travel, I have each time learned something new during the process.
Having designed hundreds of titles, those involving travel have been particular favorites. One of the first was Full Circle, by Michael Palin, in which he mixed travel, anecdotes, and humor. It opened the door to different countries and cultures, just as Culture Smart! does. Designing travel books allowed me to be somewhere else while remaining tied to my desk, trying to meet the latest deadline.
I have been involved with Culture Smart! since the start of the series and it has been a very rewarding, informative, and enjoyable experience, partly due to the great team we have.
My early travel experiences date back to the seventies, traveling by car through France and Spain. There was little help available then for the traveler, so we had to learn through our own mistakes. Lately my traveling has been fairly limited, but working on these books means that I’m well prepared for my next big adventure . . . whenever it comes.
Formerly chief executive of CultureSmart! Consulting and now an independent cross cultural specialist, I have been appointed cultural consultant to a number of leading management consultancies in Europe and the US. My expertise is in delivering a uniquely holistic approach to all aspects of cross cultural orientation and international management training for corporates, public bodies, NGO’s and charitable institutions globally.
Born and raised in England, my background is in behavioural psychology as well as training and business. Having lived, worked and run organizations in the U.S., The Middle East, Spain, France and the U.K., I am fluent in four languages. I am an approved speaker for The U.S. Speaker’s Bureau and The Gordon Poole Agency, and also trained as a psychotherapist.
As a leading expert on Cultural Intelligence, I deliver papers, lectures and speeches on cross cultural and human understanding throughout the world, and have been a regular speaker at the world renowned Conference for World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado.
I deliver courses on Cultural Intelligence at a number of International Business Schools, including Bologna University’s Faculty of Political Science & International Affairs as visiting Professor. I work for a number of NGO’s in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Poland, Lithuania and Israel/Palestine and in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. I was also the official Cultural Intelligence trainer to the British Olympic Committee.
My work in the media includes co-writing and presenting the ‘Crossing Cultures’ feature in BBC World TV’s weekly travel programme ‘FastTrack’. I regularly write columns for publications around the world and have recently published a book – ‘The ‘I’ Factor’, a simple solution to harmonious cross cultural relationships.