Summary of Understanding Arabs

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Understanding Arabs book summary


9 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


Margaret K. Nydell has recast this cross-cultural guide to getting along with Arabs in a new light in the midst of the war on terror. In so doing, she navigates sensitive territory, a no-man’s land stuck between understanding another culture, and becoming an apologist for its negative behaviors. Properly executed, cross-cultural guides enhance one’s awareness of the vast cultural gap between social norms and customs. Occasionally this volume lapses into cultural generalities, but that’s inevitable when you’re trying to explain norms of some 20 diverse Arab countries. Understanding Arabs will help you do just that, and although it may not shed a lot of light on the current conflict, it’s very timely. getAbstract highly recommends it to anyone who wants a better understanding of Islam and Arabs. As Nydell says in her introduction, seeking understanding should not be confused with appeasement.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Some social and philosophical concepts that govern Arab society;
  • How these shape Arab attitudes toward the West and, by extrapolation, toward you; and
  • How to function effectively in an Arab country’s business and social climate.

About the Author

A teacher of Arabic at Georgetown University, Margaret K. (Omar) Nydell is an experienced trainer, teacher and Arabist, who consults with private and public organizations. Her posts have included director of Arabic language training at the Foreign Service Institute and its School of Arabic Language and Area Studies in Tunis. This book has been used to teach U.S. military academy cadets.



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