I’m currently perusing Mary Murray Bosrock’s Put Your Best Foot Forward USA: A Fearless Guide to Understanding the United States of America. The first part of the book outlines 14 American Values (Opportunity, Independence, Individualism, Equality, Freedom, to name a few), gives 10 Commandments of Visiting the USA (Be sincere, Be flexible, etc.) as well as the Tope Ten Blunders of Visiting the USA (ignoring No-Smoking signs, calling women “girls,” thinking what you’ve seen on TV is real, etc.). It goes on to give rules on meeting and greeting, language, conversation, use of the telephone, tipping, body language and much, much more. The final part goes through the various regions and then a state-by-state analysis which I found very interesting because I haven’t been to all 50 states yet.
Overall the book is an excellent intercultural guide for both international visitors (the book advises to never call them “foreigners”) and Americans who want to learn more about their own country and culture. Many people say that the best way to learn about another culture is to first learn about your own. Some of the rules and advice were things I instinctively knew but never thought twice about. I’d love to have a copy in my permanent library as a reference because it’s packed with useful information which is presented in a straight-forward, easy to read (and browse) manner. Bosrock has also written Best Foot Forward guides on South America, Mexico/Canada, Asia, Europe and Russia, the latter I can’t wait to read next!
Have you read any of these guides? Did you find them useful? Can you recommend other cultural guides/resources?