What Foreigners Need to Know About America from A to Z: How to Understand Crazy American Culture, People, Government, Business, Language and More (英語) ペーパーバック – 2012/5/30
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This unique book paints a revealing picture of America and its people for those foreigners who will benefit from a better understanding of America. It will also inform Americans who want to learn more about the U.S. and how it compares to other countries around the world. World traveler and teacher Lance Johnson studies cultural differences and the difficulties foreigners have understanding crazy America, as some call it. Foreigners might come to the U.S. to work for American employers, to open branch offices or factories for their homeland employers, to start their own businesses, or go to school. Others might work for American organizations in their homelands or have American teachers there. An understanding of American culture and language will contribute to their success. As the title suggests, this book is for foreigners. Dictionaries say they are people who are not citizens of a country. For this book they are defined as anyone who is not sufficiently familiar with American culture to achieve success. This includes the multitudes of foreign-born, naturalized citizens who have lived in the U.S. for years and still struggle with the ways and the language. A foreigner could also be a first-generation American whose immigrant parents did not fully expose their children to American culture and they now pay the price in mainstream U.S. There are lots of other examples, too. FORMAT Each of the 26 chapters brush strokes contributes to the final painting of what America is all about. For ease of understanding, the chapters are grouped into four sections. (The sections are available as individual books as well.) Section I America's Heritage. This defines the historical background of why America and its people became who and what they are today. Section II America's Culture. This section describes everyday life in America, ranging from customs and etiquette, to whats on the minds of Americans, to education. Practical advice is provided for the one million foreign applicants who seek and gain admission to U.S. colleges and universities each year. Pointers are provided on the cultural differences students should expect, and how to get the most from their education. Section III America's Business. This explains the complex business environment, operations, and people-related customs and why the U.S. is an economic juggernaut. Information is provided for starting a business of your own in the U.S. as well as how to increase the chances of your getting hired by an American firm in the U.S. or abroad. Section IV America's Language. These chapters discuss practical ways to improve English grammar, speech, writing, communication skills, and reducing accents. Common English grammar and speech errors made by foreigners are identified and simple tips are provided for overcoming them. ENDORSEMENTS I congratulate you on writing this timely work. This will promote better mutual understanding between America and Asia." - Tommy Koh, Singapore Ambassador to the U.N. and U.S. Your book covers a broad range of topics that I am sure many will find very useful. - Clark T. Randt, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to China. I greatly appreciate your efforts in sharing with other people your opinion and experience on the exchanges between different peoples and cultures. It is so important for us to better understand each other while striving to build a better world for all. - Zhou Wenzhong, China Ambassador to U.S. I found this book refreshingly different from the general run of books in this genre. - Mohammad Vazeeruddin, India journalist. The A to Z chapters are nicely written and...the language is simple and lucid. - Jay Gajjar, India language professor. I love this books generous use of helpful hints. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about America like I did." - Sarah Kim, Korean American business owner.
Born and raised in America, Lance Johnson has long been fascinated with the history and culture of America and foreign countries and how they differ. Having visited 49 of the 50 U.S. states and traveled in 81 countries, he's learned among other things that the Black Sea, Red Sea, and the Blue Danube do not reflect those colors, and that Iceland might better be called Greenland and vice versa. He's also learned how America and its people are perceived abroad both correctly and incorrectly. And how America's perception of the rest of the world can vary, too. A student of cultural differences, his travels also allow him to explore the difficulties foreigners face understanding American ways and language, and how that affects their success in dealing with us. He consults, teaches, and conducts seminars about the subjects in this book. He has an Ivy League graduate business degree and has studied at Oxford University in England. The author and lecturer was a manager with an international management consulting firm and a corporate president for 26 years before taking up acting and writing. He now volunteers his services to nonprofit organizations and immigrants. He has appeared in movies, stage plays, national commercials, and TV dramas, including a lead American role in a 28-part China TV production. As a second-generation American, he shares his love of history and culture with visitors at a leading museum of history where he is a docent. He also golfs and skis, adores his grandchildren, and plays with Malibu Barbie, his third Great Dane, and Max, his Bulldog-Pug mix. He has also mentored underprivileged youth. His American heroes include American visionary presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, and inventor Thomas Edison, all of whom had significant roles in the development of America and its culture as we know it today. Equally important on his list are those foreigners who came to America and despite overwhelming discrimination, sacrifice, and deprivation contributed to the rich history of the early settlement of America. The legacy of all these immigrants resides throughout America today. Equation of life: Knowledge + Understanding + Acceptance = A Better World for All. - Lance Johnson
I found it an informative read as an American. The facts and figures included were a good refresher for me and I did learn many things. Probably many people could review the citizenship test and find they might find they have forgotten a few things. He explained viewpoints both ways. He emphasizes the minority beliefs don’t represent the thoughts of the majority.
I really like the hints as many were vignettes which drove home points the author was making. I enjoyed the stories, as I did the facts. It was like looking in a mirror about the USA and seeing ourselves. Quite an interesting experience. I have not read a similar book that examined our country in quite this way.
The movie recommendations were good, and I think I’ll consult the book again and again when I can’t find a movie to watch. It is full of ideas.
There is a book website, and there is information for purchasing quantity discounts if teaching an ESL class, perhaps.
The chapters cover our history, grammar, how to improve English, linguistics, culture, and popular culture.
Definitions and explanations within the text were helpful. The index was thorough. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was included. There were lists of colleges ranked different ways.
He explains the spirit of America, our independence, the population in general, and specific age groups are described. Typical family life is described. Income levels are listed, and there are even trivia questions in this helpful book. I have purchased four copies myself!
I'll also add that the nature of a book like this is to become outdated fairly quickly. I hope the publisher plans to do another reprinting of this book, preferably with an extensive review to the text.
You may find any subject of your interest in this book. Though there are some parts that are so obvious even to foreigners, there's no doubt that this book is very much helpful.
If you are already quite knowledgeable about English language and America in general, don't read from cover to cover. Nevertheless, this is something definitely worth reading.