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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The fourth and the last volume in the Cultural Code series, Babel: A Guide to the East-West Encounter by Dr. Ofer Grosbard puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. This culminating volume is the result of Grosbard’s professional maturing process where he presents four pairs of principles for outwardly and inwardly directed thinking vectors that we can use for successful encounters with other persons. Simply put, it teaches people with a Western thinking paradigm how to improve their communication with those employing an Eastern paradigm and vice versa. Why is this important? Because intercultural communication offers an array of possibilities to develop friendships, nurture peace, and sustain interdependence and cooperation. It shows that in understanding those with a different tongue, you do not have to operate under the restrictive and fearful atmosphere of excessive political correctness. Through constructive engagement, our interactions can yield better outcomes.
What an apt title for a book that touches on how individualism and collectivism influence our self-concept and relational assumptions. Babel is cross-cultural literature that provides a consistent and systematic approach to communication and takes into account the cultural factors that impact our interaction. Grosbard’s purpose to bridge the emotional and cognitive gaps between the West and East is well-supplemented by examples of diplomatic negotiations and questionnaires so that you can deal with the subject productively and make diversity a resource rather than an obstacle. This book builds upon a total approach to effective multicultural communication by examining the individualist and collectivist tendencies to better know yourself and how to facilitate thinking paradigms for better cross-cultural relationships.