I’ve just read – ‘If only they didn’t speak English’ by Jon Sopel

I am often reading business related books and thought I’d start sharing what I’ve just read and invite recommendations of what to read next.

First up, this is not strictly a business book but for those of us who work closely with our American cousins, it’s a good read.


Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America correspondent, has produced an interesting book based on the premise that we Brits presume to know America. We share the same language, we watch the same movies, eat the same fast food… but, his premises is that when you dig deeper our cultures, values and belief systems are very different. If we didn’t speak the same language we would treat America like a foreign country and perhaps get to know it better.

For those of us well-travelled and with friends and business contacts across the pond this book isn’t a revelation but it collates and explores the differences between the UK and the US in a fresh and highly readable way. From the big topics around attitudes towards race, religion, patriotism and guns to the role of government, it shines a light on how the sometimes paradoxical cultural belief systems on which America operates have formed through its history. Of course, the US is not a mono-culture as evidenced by the discord we see and the widely varying attitudes towards Trump. Sopel brings his reporting skills to bear as he draws attention to these divisions and how these different attitudes are shaping the political landscape today.

Two of the things I’ve found in my travels around the world on business are that, ultimately, we human beings have far more in common with each other than we have differences and, secondly, that the more I learn about other cultures the more I learn about my own. Jon Sopel’s book, in exploring these cultural differences, shines a sometimes critical light back on us in the UK too and that’s no bad thing.

Worth a read? Yes

Buy now from Amazon: If Only They Didn’t Speak English: Notes From Trump’s America

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