Friday, March 7, 2014

Be Shocked

I have been a big fan of the Culture Shock book series, ever since my husband introduced me to it. I've already read the ones about Spain, Germany, and the UAE. But the most interesting one has been the one about the USA. The author, Esther Warning, does a fabulous job of explaining the way that the US and Americans work.

Here are some of the things she wrote:

It does seem that Americans often lack the capacity to enjoy their achievements. We find more satisfaction in acquiring the trappings of the leisure life than in leisure itself. Activity-rather than family or community-gives us our identities, and very few people are able to rest on their laurels.

Our sense of self does not come from being a sister, a brother, or part of the community, but from being a long distance runner or the Vice President of Sales at the office. Thus we must have the latest and best running shoes or a fancy watch to show how important we are. When we meet someone for the first time, after we learn their name, we ask "What do you do?" This isn't true for ever American, but it is for most.

Loneliness is very common. Many people live by themselves and a great many spend nearly every evening alone. Telephones, televisions, and computers ease the isolation, but a sense of belonging to a group is largely absent.
Many people also suffer from a sense of failure. No success is good enough. Not everybody can reach the top, and those who don't blame themselves.

So, if you are coming to the United States in the future, or just want to learn a little more about what Americans are like, I highly recommend this book.

Note: Although the author is American, the publisher is British, so the book is written in British English. It
was a little annoying to this American reader, but I got over it.

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