7 Books For Understanding People Of Different Cultures

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Indeed, if you wish to succeed within a society, especially in such a multicultural world, you need more than an understanding of general human nature. You need to understand the cultural differences of people from different countries and cultures.

Andrey Sharonov, the President of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, picked the following books to broaden your perspective on society as a whole, as well as cultures and societies you’re already familiar with. This list aims to help identify the similarities and differences between us and help us understand the way these individual differences shape entire communities. This includes the laws they choose to abide by and the reasons they flourish or fail.

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#1 Paul Heyne. The Economic Way of Thinking

One prominent economist once admitted to me that economics is not a science but a behavioural and thinking pattern. This book is along these lines and will be of particular interest for those who are not economists yet seek to expand their way of thinking, as well as for anyone trying to get a better grasp of the economic principles our society is based on.

#2 Jane Jacobs. The Death and Life of Great American Cities

The Bible of modern urban science. Explains in plain language the key concepts behind the development of metropolises, the mistakes designers make, and the main characteristics that make the difference between a city full of life and prospects and one that is lifeless and self-defeating.

#3 Steven DeKrey. Learning from Leaders in Asia

Asia blazes its own path when it comes to management style and goal-achievement approaches, and provides a lot to learn from. One of the professors from our new EMBA for Eurasia programme, designed to educate business leaders on how to do business in China and CIS successfully, shares the secrets of leadership and offers practical advice on how to come out on top in the region.

#4 Jonathan Littell. The Kindly Ones: A Novel

A magnificent novel that will change your conception of the human mind. Awarded the Prix Goncourt and Le Grand Prix du Roman by the Academie Francaise, the story, narrated by an SS officer, is about the process that led a people brought up on Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Beethoven, to execute women and children.

#5 Friedrich Hayek. The Fatal Conceit

The Austrian economist wrote this book to show why we should not attempt to manage natural processes and why communism, a system based on something outside of the balance of needs, responsibilities, and the natural instincts of man, cannot be achieved.

#6 Hermann Hesse. Siddhartha

A legend of plain and poetic manner. Siddhartha is a story about the key values and temptations in life, admitting your own mistakes and misconceptions, and revisiting and revising goals in order to become a better version of one’s self in the end. A deep and profound story that helps one understand the Eastern philosophy.

#7 Deepak Lal. Unintended Consequences

This book tells of the influence of historical and cultural events of different peoples on the economic structure and raises the question of whether societal development has always been accompanied by westernization, and what “unique paths” different countries have taken.

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Written by Dmitry Komarov

Communications manager at EMBA for Eurasia program by SKOLKOVO Business School & HKUST