CultureSmart!India (Review)

CultureSmart!India (Review)

ust barely in time for our India trip, the CultureSmart! series book on India. Where I am going. Right now. Sitting in JFK writing this review. Finished the book on the first leg.

The book isn’t a “go see this, check this out” guild book. No, it’s actually a small guide to the people and customs of India. It gives a brief history, a layout of the place, its geography and weather, before explaining what makes Indians tick.

Very interesting insights on these diverse people. It explains their traditional culture and how it’s manifested given their urban, emigration and technology explosions. As you read it you’ll appreciate who Indians are, how they’ve changed, and how they haven’t. It will prove (I believe) critical in our trip, teaching me how to great people, how to tip people, how to (God hopes) avoid being the victim of crime.

Not only did I get all sorts of information of how to eat and what to avoid (and what to do if I get sick anyway), there was an absolutely interesting section at the end about doing business in India and the impediments you will find. I had to laugh – many of these I already knew, like how Indians will not tell you there are problems ahead and not forward ideas in open meetings. The author even mentioned the curious bit while, when you are talking, they shake their head no (it doesn’t mean no, it means they are indicating they are listening. Damned strange).  I even winched at the bit about not pointing at them with a finger, no, use your whole hand. And I think of my scrum meetings where I point with a damning finger, calling out “Amit, go! What have you achieved?” No more of that.

So it you are going to the sub-continent anytime soon, you might wish to pick this up (along with all the run-of-the-mill guide books). I think it’s going to work out well (but by the time this is posted, I’ll know more about how things went). Check out my reports under the Places we’ve been sidebar to see how it turned out.