Doing business in the New Latin America
a guide to cultures, practices and opportunities
by Thomas Becker- 2004
The title of the book is self explanatory. I finished the book(230 pages) in two sittings today. The reason is obvius. The subject is dear to my mind and heart. While many conclusions of the author are similiar to mine, I learnt some new things particularly on the historical roots of Latino business culture.
It is meant for the Americans, who have stereotyped vision about Latin America.
It is useful for the Indian businessmen too.
The author brings out the emerging new Latin America breaking free from its forgettable past.
He is optimistic about the new latino mindset driving politics and business of the region.
The author has dug into the historical reasons for the difference in business approach of Latinos from those of Americans. he has traced it to the Iberian colonial mindset, vertical hierarchy, influence of the sword and cross, unrealistic and rigid royal rules to be flouted in practice and the civil law deriving from the Romans and Napoleonic code. The last is important since it limits what is permissible as those predefined. But in the common law followed in Anglo American world, the right to act exists unless otherwise specified.
The author has vividly portrayed the cultural dimension of latino business. some highlights:
- language of latinos has two more forms besides the verbal. watch out for silence and the body language.
-manana does not mean tomorrow. It means not today.
-Negocios ( business) in spanish means denial of leisure (nego- denial, ocios-leisure).
-trust and face saving more important than a piece of paper called as contract.
- time is construed as cyclical ( another opportunity might come!) by latinos while Americans take it as linear.
- negotiations are spontaneous and impulsive.
I will recommend this book for the Indian businessmen pursuing opportunities in Latin America.