J. Byrne Murphy’s riveting new book, LE DEAL (St. Martin’s Press, August 2008), is a business guide wrapped in the skin of an adventure story. Whether working in Europe, Asia, or anywhere else overseas, readers will learn the secrets that Murphy discovered during his fifteen years of doing business abroad.
Understanding context is key, Murphy reveals. Knowing a country’s character and culture, not just the vital statistics, can mean the difference between success and failure. “Though you should not over-generalize about a country,” he says, “I’ve learned, for example, that Italians tend to be warm-hearted and say ‘yes’ to new ideas quite quickly. The difficult part is turning that ‘yes’ into reality. The French, on the other-hand, are quite cautious, and want to reflect on the concept from all angles before taking action. For Americans, who like to move quickly, it’s easy - and dangerous - to become impatient with the pace of the French culture. In Germany, it’s important to realize that Germans insist on strictly following the rules, even if they are outdated and need revising. The lesson I’ve learned is that if you ignore the context in any given situation in a foreign country, surprises are headed your way — and almost all of them will be unpleasant.” [more]