To celebrate the new year and to continue building he community of Chinese learners, I started up a page on Facebook! I'm planning on posting a variety of things there, including learning tips, cultural articles and news about the Chinese-speaking world. If the page has enough followers, we might have polls, games and prize giveaways! Check it out here, and like the page for daily updates on news and learning!
(From my older blog, but worth reposting)
If you've ever been to China or other East-Asian countries for a longer time, I'm sure you've realized that things just don't work the same way as in the "West". Decisions and priority choices that would be obvious for you seem to go without anyone even considering them, and problem solving methods can simply shock you.
How you react to such a different world around you depends on your personality. Some people get frustrated, some constantly try and "educate" people who think differently, some try hard to ignore, and some work hard to understand it. This book can help you a lot if you choose try to understand.
When I first read this book, I have already spent a year in China and some time in Taiwan, so I had personal experience about the differences. As I was reading the book, many of those experiences started to make sense, as I gained a deeper understanding of the structure of the society that formed people's world view.
The main argument of the book is that different geographical circumstances affected the early Eastern and Western societies, so they developed different values that helped them to survive and grow, and those values are the roots of the differences in observing the world and thinking.
I'm aware that categorizing as "East" and "West" can be problematic, and can be seen as oversimplifying, but if you take these clear, almost-opposite polarities as models and remember that personal diversity is not taken into account in this discussion, then you can enjoy the clarity and simplicity of the explanation.
I believe this book can be very helpful to those Westerners who want to learn Chinese and also learn how to function in a Chinese-speaking society. In my experience, these two can be equally challenging to master. But what you gain from them is very valuable, as though learning about different cultures and world views, you learn about your own, and learn to challenge things that you used to take as unquestionable axioms of life. That mental flexibility can greatly affect every aspect of your life and take you on trails you've never thought of.
On Amazon, you can read some parts of the book.
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