This British Linguist Has Figured Out How World Cultures Really Work

Richard d lewis

Gus Lubin’s articles published in collaboration with Richard Lewis [oncommunication,leadership, andculture] have created such a buzz, drawing about a million views and going viral, that people may well ask who is this Richard Lewis and what is his background.

To begin with, his seminal book on intercultural issues, “When Cultures Collide,” which won the US Book of the Month in 1999, now approaches a million sales in all languages and sells more strongly each year. It is regarded as a basic cross-cultural manual in a large number of American, European and Asian universities, with foreign language editions in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and most major languages.

Behind the book is the man. The grandson of a miner, he started to learn foreign languages at the age of 9.He is fluent or has a good working knowledge in 10 major languages, including two Asian (Japanese and Finnish) and can understand and read a dozen others. His multilingual mind gives him an uncanny insight into other nationalities’ attitudes and perspectives — a familiarity bolstered by extensive exposure to foreign environments — he has visited 136 countries and lectured in 50 of these.

He has given linguistic or cultural advice to hundreds of firms and individuals, including the Emperor and Empress of Japan, two German Chancellors, 4 Prime Ministers of Finland, the Head of NATO, two chairmen of Nokia and currently is advisor to the World Bank.

Richard lewis model
Click image to learn more about the Lewis Model for cultures.

Many of the diagrams published by Business Insider are excerpts from his books, “When Cultures Collide,” “When Teams Collide,” “Fish Can’t See Water” etc., as well as from The Lewis Model of Cross-culture and his National Cultural Profiles.

Richard Lewis has introduced a variety of entirely new concepts to the cross-culture field. Among them stand out:

  • Total Immersion (devised in 1964)
  • the tripartite categorisation of cultures: linear-active, multi-active, reactive
  • cultural black holes
  • cultural traction
  • monochromatic and polychromatic cultures
  • data-oriented and dialogue-oriented cultures
  • left-and-right-hand-brain cognitive processes
  • Americanisation v Asianisation
  • roots and routes of culture

In 1970 in Japan, he studied the effects of stress on language acquisition and went on to found the Executive Residential Concept, in which he buried Japanese executives in a rural 14th Century Mediaeval Great Hall at Riversdown in Hampshire, UK, where a 12-hour-a-day study and leisure combination flourishes still today, experienced by 25,000 executives of 65 different nationalities.

Further articles will deal with such subjects as:

  • The Pacific Rim — the Fourth Cultural Ecology
  • Concept of Space
  • Cultural Spectacles
  • Culture & Globalisation

and a variety of cross-cultural incidents from over fifty lands.

Read articles by and about Richard Lewis on Business Insider and read more in his book, “When Cultures Collide.” Look up his services for businesses and individuals at Richard Lewis Communications.