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Modern-Day Vikings

A Practical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes

Christina Johansson Robinowitz, Lisa Werner Carr

Publisher: Intercultural Press, 2001 , 197 pages

ISBN: 1-877864-88-9

Keywords: Culture

Synopsis:

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Modern-Day Vikings provides a window into what one world traveler called the most American of European countries: Sweden. Yet, surface similarities between the two nations conceal essential differences. Christina Robinowitz and Lisa Werner Carr provides insights and strategies for successful interactions with Sweden, whether business or social.

True to its title, Modern-Day Vikings trace some of Sweden's most ingrained cultural traits back to its Viking heritage: self-sufficiency, fairness, egalitarianism and democracy. The authors also examine Sweden's famous "cradle-to-grave" social model and explore the values underlying modern Swedish culture, such as lagom (moderation), the law of Jante (personal modesty), communication styles and business practices.

Table of Contents:

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  • Chapter 1: From the Vikings to the Welfare State: A Millennium in Sweden
    • The Viking Age: Prehistory to 1050
    • The Middle Ages: 1066-1500
    • The Foundation of Sweden: 1500-1600
    • Sweden as a World Power: 1618-1717
    • The Age of Enlightenment: The 1700s
    • A Fresh Start for Sweden: The 1800s
    • Making Connections
  • Chapter 2: The Rise of the Swedish Model
    • The History
    • Springboard to the Welfare State
    • The Values of Folkhemmet
    • Social and Economic Challenges
    • Moving Forward
  • Chapter 3: The S's: Sex, Suicide, Socialism, and Spirits
    • Spirits
    • Sex
    • Suicide
    • Socialism
    • Spirits
  • Chapter 4: National Pride: A Matter of Romance
    • The Model Society
    • Pride in the Monarchy
    • Quality and Technology
    • The Swedish Nationalromantik
    • Popular Exports
    • The Blue and Yellow
    • An Idyll Shattered
  • Chapter 5: The Individual and the Group: Self-Sufficiency and Solidarity
    • Insistence on Self-Sufficiency
    • Squaring Up
    • "Organized" Sweden
    • "Feminine" versus "Masculine"
    • Individualism versus Conformity
    • Socialistic Individualism
  • Chapter 6: The Lagom Phenomenon
    • Lagom at Work
    • Lagom and Society
  • Chapter 7: Jantelagen: Who Do You Think You Are?
    • Impact on Individuals
    • The Fear of Failure
    • The "Royal Swedish Envy"
    • Jantelagen and Business
    • The "Anti-Jante" Movement
  • Chapter 8: Equality above All
    • No One Is above Another
    • Quest for Gender Equality
    • Family-Friendly Policies
    • Equality within the Family
    • Equality and Relationships
  • Chapter 9: The Seasons and Their Power: Summer, Winter, and Holiday Swedes
    • The Signs of Nature
    • Winter Traditions
    • The Rebirth of Spring
    • Finally: It's Summer!
    • The Sanctity of Semester (Vacation)
  • Chapter 10: Communication: The Sound of Silence
    • Silence Is Golden
    • Nonverbal Communication
    • Blunt Talk
    • Retreat from Conflict
    • Natural Language
    • Building Social Competence
  • Chapter 11: Manners: Swedish Customs Simplified
    • The Rules of Shoes
    • Managing Social Occasions
    • The Honor of Toasting
    • Time for More Coffee
    • The Clean Plate Club
  • Chapter 12: Doing Business in Sweden: Competition versus Consensus
    • Noncompetitive Spirit
    • Competition at Work
    • Consensus Rules
    • Getting Things Done
    • Flat Organizational Structure
    • The "Collaborative" Manager
    • Open Communication Channels
    • The Language of Business
  • Conclusion: Full Speed Ahead

Reviews:

Modern-Day Vikings

by Roland Buresund last modified 2007-12-13 23:58

Rating: ******* (Good)

A good description of the Swedes, if you're an American.

Of course, you may gain some value otherwise, but the whole book is geared to a U.S. audience.

As a Swede, I appreciated it, it was funny and in some parts enlightning (to understand the U.S. views of Swedish culture). You could read this (as a Swede) if you're on your way to the U.S., as it helps your understanding of the American psyche as well.


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