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154 Pages - $13.95 US
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Independent Professional Book Reviewers
Sit Crooked and Speak Straight: Doing Business on the Arabian Peninsula
Stephen McGrane - Non Fiction
Llumina Press - 2008
ISBN: 978-1-60594-031-1
Soft cover - 154 pages

Sit Crooked and Speak Straight is an in depth look into doing business with the nations that make up the Arabian Peninsula including Saudi Arabia. Author Stephen McGrane is direct and challenging in his discussion about the art of conducting business in Arabia: “What responsibilities must we accept for the privilege of doing business in Arab countries (5)?” The book reveals many interesting facts about the Arab culture and offers foreign businesses guidelines for balancing the professional and personal demands of making deals in any of the seven Arab nations.

McGrane addresses the history of European visitors to the Arabian Peninsula. He also incorporates information about the Arab people, their religion, family, and business practices. Early in the text, McGrane offers warnings to those seeking opportunities in the region that extend to their travel companions. “Family members of business travelers should also plan for their visit by taking note of appropriate public behavior and rules of conduct…(6)” The book also reveals information about how to dress and behave in the conservative Arab culture.

Examples of the order of meetings and negotiations are provided. McGrane’s education and business background includes years working in the Arabian Peninsula and teaching International Management. He is explicit in his descriptions of what could possibly happen when dealing with Arab counterparts. Cultural dimensions are outlined (collectivism and hierarchical structures). The Arab people’s non-conformance to time, which leads to frequent delays and family interruptions, is also explored. Because of the vast cultural difference, foreign professionals will need to adjust to nonverbal/elaborate communication styles, slow negotiations, and the importance of developing personal relationships before business can be conducted. Some interesting tidbits are also revealed, like the culture’s avoidance of confrontation and the acceptance of poor posture. “Slouching while sitting is acceptable. According to an Arab proverb, you should ‘sit crooked and speak straight’ (34).”

In addition to walking the reader through the steps of hiring an interpreter and an agent to assist with contract negotiations, McGrane offers an appendix that outlines the differences in doing business in each of the Arabian Peninsula nations and a chart of dos and don’ts that can be quickly reviewed for immediate reference.

Sit Crooked and Speak Straight is informative, enlightening, and should be required reading for all businesses considering or actively involved in doing business in the Arabian Peninsula.

Melissa Levine, for
Independent Professional Book Reviewers



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