这本书名为《魅力增添之道》（A Personal Guide to Effective Etiquette in Today’s Global Business World），由北京磨铁图书有限公司（Xiron Books Company Ltd.）出版，作者是资深的国际商务精英、作家伊登•科林斯沃斯女士（Eden Collinsworth）。科林斯沃斯女士来自纽约，拥有在多个国家生活、旅行和从商的经验，其中也包括中国。这些经历使她成为撰写本书的不二人选。
New Guide for Chinese Going Global
I once mildly scolded an American colleague of mine in Beijing for inappropriate behavior. Although she possessed good Chinese language skills and an Asian studies degree from a top US university, she was young and lacking in cross-cultural experience and finesse.
Frustrated because a Chinese executive failed to show up for a scheduled meeting, she had reacted with aggressive words and gestures, pointing her finger in his face, creating embarrassment in a very public setting.
Cross-cultural skills, like language, are the stuff of lifetime learning. For one thing, they are moving targets, constantly changing over time, from one place to another, between one generation and another.
In the 1980s, while accompanying a Chinese delegation on their first overseas trip, I had to intervene for the safety of three delegates who were walking in a very relaxed manner down the middle of a golf course fairway while a group of American golfers were teeing off in their direction. They had no idea what the game of golf was about, let alone why these crazy Americans were shouting at them and waving metal sticks.
The catalog of foreigners and Chinese making cultural blunders in each other’s worlds is long and ever growing.
With wealthier Chinese, as well as companies and students going abroad in record numbers, a new book due to be published in April in Chinese should be a welcome addition to the bookshelf.
Called “A Personal Guide to Effective Etiquette in Today’s Global Business World”, the book was written by veteran global businesswoman and author Eden Collinsworth, and is published by Xiron Books Company Ltd. of China. A New Yorker with extensive experience living, travelling and doing business internationally, including China, Ms. Collinsworth is very well qualified to address the subject.
(Full disclosure: I have not read the full manuscript, but I have perused the chapter headings and selected parts of the text, and it looks good.)
The author rightly starts with the basics of how to make a good first impression — attitude, personal space, handshake and greeting protocol, body language, etc. She goes on to another important subject in the next section: what westerners consider rude.
(This section, of course, deserves a chapter in a similar volume aimed at westerners: namely, what Chinese people consider rude. However, the author’s immediate concern is to serve the audience in China.)
Other sections of the book are devoted to applying and interviewing for a job, deportment and communication in the office, electronic communications etiquette, western table manners, customs related to travelling, etc., with a concluding section aptly devoted to making a lasting impression.
Since most of these topics are not intuitive, whether for Chinese heading out or westerners heading into China, a process of learning is required. For many people who have the chance to live and work abroad, this takes place through a combination of life experience, learning the hard way (ie by making mistakes) and some degree of mentoring.
Smart companies provide cross-cultural training to executives and their families before a first posting abroad, ideally tailored to the local culture of their new home.
I would venture that this book will be a valuable read for many in China who are considering living, studying or working abroad; for executives tasked with leading their companies into new international markets; and for those who find the subject of cross-cultural learning an interesting and invigorating one, against the backdrop of our ever-shrinking world.
I hope the book sells well and would encourage the author to write another book helping Westerners acclimatize to Chinese culture. After nearly 38 years here, I’m still working on it; and I wish someone had given me a book like this, way back when.