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25 Great Books on Working Across Cultures

Here you go: Here’s our updated list of book recommendations for those of you who deal with cross-cultural communication, collaboration, management or leadership as part of everyday life.

We’ve been working hard over several months to complete the list.

But it’s not been a solo effort. Because we asked our network for help. And we’re overwhelmed and grateful for all the help we received! Many thanks to all of you who submitted your favorite intercultural book recommendations.

At the top of the blog post you’ll see the 25 books that we believe are most relevant to those of you who deal with cross-cultural or global collaboration as part of your work day.

Some of the books are a quick read, while others are more time consuming. And there are classic titles as well as brand-new books to get started on!

The 25 books are divided into the following topics:

  • Cultural intelligence and tools for working across cultures
  • National culture: Country profiles and comparisons
  • Global leadership
  • Collaboration in global and complex teams
  • Virtual and hybrid collaboration
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion.

If you have an appetite to keep on reading, you’ll find a wider range of books at the bottom of the blog post that we’ve either read ourselves or that have been recommended to us.

There are more books about living and working across cultures – as well as books that do not have a cross-cultural focus as such, but can still be useful in your cross-cultural work. Our Danish-speaking readers can also find a selection of books in Danish.

Once again: A big thank you to all of you who provided input. To make things a bit more manageable, we’ve not included all the input in this blog post. But it’s not been easy to choose between all the extremely exciting books you’ve suggested!

Cultural intelligence and tools for working across cultures

Global Perspectives: A Practical Guide to Navigating Across Cultures

By Annette Dahl, Granhof & Juhl, 2019.

We can’t leave out C3's own book "Global Perspectives", written by our CEO and head trainer, Annette Dahl. The book is full of practical advice and simple tools that you can use to navigate cross-cultural work situations – and see new perspectives that can strengthen your cross-cultural collaboration. And the book is packed with case stories and interviews with managers, project managers and employees who work globally.

CI: Cultural Intelligence - The art of leading cultural complexity 

By Elisabeth Plum (main author), Middlesex University Press, 2008.

It was Plum, who herself has many decades of experience with the development of organizations and teams, who introduced the concept of cultural intelligence (CI) in Denmark. As Plum sees it, culture is not just about national cultures. For example, there are also professional cultures and organizational cultures – the latter often becomes apparent when companies merge. The book gives you strategies and tools to act in a culturally intelligent way in all work situations where there are different cultures at play.

The book was originally published in Danish under the title "KI: Kulturel Intelligens", Børsens Forlag, 2007. A 2nd edition is available from Akademisk Forlag, 2019.

Bridge the Culture Gaps: A toolkit for effective collaboration in the diverse, global workplace

By Robert Gibson, John Murray Press, 2021.

In this book, interculturalist Robert Gibson explores the interface between culture, diversity and neuroscience. "Bridge the Culture Gaps" is a practical, pragmatic and easily accessible handbook, with just over 200 pages covering a wide range of topics such as the value of diversity, inclusive management, global change processes and international postings.

Build Your Cultural Agility: The Nine Competencies of Successful Global Professionals

By Paula Caligiuri, Kogan Page, 2021.

In the book, occupational psychologist Paula Caligiuri looks at how you can become "culturally agile" by developing nine different competencies. It’s packed with research-based, practical advice for those who work in the intercultural field, on how to best work with diversity not just across national borders, but also generations, industries, organizations and regions.

Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior Across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process

By Andy Molinsky, Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.

If you want to be successful in your cross-cultural work, it typically requires that you adapt to different cultural contexts. But how can you adapt while maintaining your "authentic self"? This is what the organizational psychologist Andy Molinsky, who has many years’ experience of training global leaders, explores in his book.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling, Flatiron Books, 2018.

When we’re asked simple questions about global trends, we typically give wrong answers. That’s what the authors behind "Factfulness" want to put right. The book describes 10 basic human instincts that are responsible for typical misunderstandings – and provides simple methods on how we can get a more fact-based view of the world.

The book is also available in Danish: "Factfulness: 10 grunde til at vi misforstår verden – og hvorfor den er bedre end vi tror", Lindhardt and Ringhof, 2018. The book has also been translated into several other languages.

National culture: Country profiles and comparisons

THE CULTURE MAP – Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

By Erin Meyer, Public Affairs, 2014.

Erin Meyer, who is affiliated with the international business school INSEAD, introduces THE CULTURE MAP model in this book. The model has eight scales, which show how people from countries around the world typically prefer to communicate, give feedback, make decisions, etc. In this way, you can compare the preferences of your own culture with those of other national cultures and become aware of the similarities and differences.

The book has been translated into a wide range of languages, including Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Turkish, Russian, Dutch, German, and French.

Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business

By Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, McGraw Hill, 4th edition, 2020.

If you’re a fan of Erin Meyer's "The Culture Map" you’ll probably like this book too. It provides evidence-based knowledge about specific cultures and in-depth insights about cultural understanding in general. Written by the well-respected cultural trainers and management consultants Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, it is with good reason that "Riding the Waves of Culture" is known as a classic in the intercultural field.

Expand Your Borders: Discover Ten Cultural Clusters

By David Livermore, Cultural Intelligence Center, 2013.

With this book, you get a quick introduction to 10 "cultural clusters", into which the countries of the world can be roughly divided (e.g., Northern Europe, Latin America and South Asia). Historical background is provided about each cluster as well as information about the most important cultural dimensions – plus tips on how to best collaborate with people from the cluster. Livermore paints with a very wide brush here and therefore the book must be used with care, which is emphasized by the author himself.

Global leadership

Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success

By David Livermore, AMACOM, 2nd edition, 2015.

David Livermore is co-founder of "The Cultural Intelligence Center" and one of C3’s favorite authors. In this book, Livermore demonstrates how you can become a more culturally intelligent leader by strengthening your competencies in the following four areas: CQ Drive (the motivation to adjust your behavior in cross-cultural situations), CQ Knowledge (the understanding of cultural similarities and differences), CQ Strategy (the ability to plan cross-cultural interactions) and CQ Action (the ability to adjust your behavior in cross-cultural situations).

Fish Can’t See Water: How National Culture Can Make or Break Your Corporate Strategy

By Kai Hammerich and Richard D. Lewis, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2013.

Just as fish do not see the water that surrounds them, we humans do not see the culture that surrounds us. That’s the premise behind the title of Hammerich and Lewis' book, which examines the interplay between national culture and corporate culture. Based on case studies about the development of several multinational companies, the authors provide advice on how to make national culture a partner rather than an opponent in your company’s strategy.

Collaboration in global and complex teams

Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity

By David Livermore, AMACOM, 2016.

You may have heard that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones. But as Livermore points out in this book, it doesn’t happen automatically. In fact, diverse teams perform worse than homogeneous ones if they don’t have a high level of cultural intelligence. Based on extensive research across 72 countries, Livermore shows you how to succeed in using diversity to strengthen innovation and growth.

Extreme Teaming: Lessons in Complex, Cross-Sector Leadership

By Amy C. Edmondson and Jean-François Harvey, Emerald Publishing, 2017.

Team management and collaboration in projects across organizations, departments and disciplines is the main theme of this book, which includes theory review, case stories and guidelines. Edmondson, a professor of management at Harvard Business School, and Harvey, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at HEC Montréal, introduce us to the word "teaming". They see teaming as a process where you, as a manager, build a bridge between professional and organizational boundaries in the complex collaborations that are becoming more commonplace today.

Virtual and hybrid collaboration

Virtual Teams Across Cultures: Create Successful Teams Around the World

By Theresa Sigillito Hollema, Interact Global, 2020.

Compared to many other books about virtual teams, this book differs in its focus on cross-cultural collaboration. Hollema, who is a consultant in the field of cultural diversity and a team facilitator, provides insights into group dynamics – along with examples, stories, models and good advice on virtual management of culturally diverse teams.

Remote Work Revolution: Succeeding from Anywhere

By Tsedal Neeley, Harper Business, 2021.

A book on remote working with a focus on building relationships, trust and inclusion written by Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School. The book contains concrete suggestions for best practice within virtual collaboration, and a description of case studies and challenges in the form of collaboration and action-oriented guides. One of the book’s chapters specifically focuses on collaboration across differences in global teams.

Work Together Anywhere: A Handbook on Working Remotely—Successfully—for Individuals, Teams, and Managers

By Lisette Sutherland and Kirsten Janene-Nelson, Collaboration Superpowers, 2018 / Wiley, 2020.

This book was written before the COVID pandemic shut the world down in 2020. Perhaps that’s why it offers an aspect that other books on the same subject don’t necessarily touch on, namely the benefits of actively opting to work virtually. In addition, the book is packed with good advice on how you, as an employee, a team leader and an organization, can succeed with virtual collaboration.

Redesigning Work: How to Transform Your Organisation and Make Hybrid Work for Everyone

By Lynda Gratton, Penguin Business, 2022.

Lynda Gratton, a professor of management at London Business School, describes how you can create a hybrid workplace with a focus on productivity and employee well-being. The book is based on Gratton’s research in technological, demographic, cultural and societal trends over the last 30 years, supplemented by experience from the COVID pandemic. As such, the book isn’t about cross-cultural collaboration, but Gratton includes lots of examples from multinational companies around the world.

The book is also available in Danish: "Den hybride arbejdsplads - En guide til at redesigne arbejdet i organisationer", Djøf Forlag, 2022.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Blind Spot – Hidden Biases of Good People

By Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald, Delacorte Press, 2013.

At the time of writing (2022), unconscious bias is something most people have heard of. But that was far from the case when Banaji and Greenwald published the research-based book "Blind Spot" in 2013. The authors' goal is to bring to light the hidden biases we all carry with us. Because by being aware of our own unconscious bias, we can better act in accordance with our positive intentions.

Inclusive Intelligence: How to be a Role Model for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

By Furkan Karayel, Panoma Press, 2021.

How do you implement inclusion in your day-to-day work as a manager? You get a practical guide to this with this book. After 10 years as a software engineer, the author founded her own Diversity & Inclusion consulting business. Today, she’s a recognized management consultant and keynote speaker in the D&I field. The book is well written and easily accessible, and you get lots of concrete examples and anecdotes that can help you develop as an inclusive manager and open your eyes to the biases you may have yourself.

The Inclusion Nudges Guidebook: 100 how-to behavioral designs to de-bias and make inclusive behavior, culture, and systems the default and norm

By Tinna C. Nielsen and Lena Kepinski, ‎Independently published, 3rd edition, 2020.

Perhaps your company wants to promote inclusion but you’re unsure how to translate words into action. There’s help to be found in Nielsen and Kepinski’s "Inclusion Nudges" – a concept that the authors have developed, which includes small "behavioral designs" that you can use to promote inclusion in everyday life.

In addition to the full "Inclusion Nudges Guidebook", Nielsen and Kepinski have published three short "Action Guides" each with 30 examples of inclusion-promoting actions:

  • Inclusion Nudges for Leaders
  • Inclusion Nudges for Motivating Allies
  • Inclusion Nudges for Talent Selection

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking

By Matthew Syed, John Murray Press, 2019.

In his book "Rebel Ideas", Matthew Syed argues that "cognitive diversity" in organizations creates fertile ground for problem solving and innovative ideas. Syed, a renowned thinker and journalist with several bestsellers to his name, explains why cognitive diversity in organizations is a necessity and a strategic advantage. Several readers point out that the book provides an original and thoughtful angle on the topic of diversity.

Neuroscience of Inclusion: New Skills for New Times

By Mary E. Casey and Shannon Murphy Robinson, Outskirts Press in 2017.

If you’re interested in neuroscience and inclusion, then this is the book for you. The authors, who are acclaimed coaches and trainers in D&I management, explain how our brains automatically steer us towards "them-versus-us" thinking – and how we need to constantly train our brains to override those instincts and relate curiously to people who are different from ourselves.

What are your favorite books?

What about you? Do you have some favorite titles that can help strengthen cross-cultural communication, collaboration or management?

We’d love to hear about them.

Feel free to recommend books you have written yourself.

Email your book recommendations to Anne Katrine Skovenborg at We’d be extremely happy to receive them!

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On our LinkedIn company page, we highlight a book each month that you might find useful in your cross-cultural work and we explain why we’ve chosen it.

More interesting books …

Books in English

Books that don’t have a cross-cultural focus, but are nevertheless useful in your cross-cultural work

  • "Leading Without Authority: How the New Power of Co-Elevation Can Break Down Silos, Transform Teams, and Reinvent Collaboration". By Keith Ferrazzi, Currency, 2020.
  • "Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart". By Shane Snow, Portfolio, 2018.
  • "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable". By Patrick Lencioni, Jossey-Bass, 1st edition, 2002.
  • "The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth". By Amy Edmondson, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2018.
  • "BrainSmart Leadership". By Anette Prehn, Reframe Publishing, 2022 (English edition).
  • "Neuroscience for Leadership - Harnessing the Brain Gain Advantage". By Tara Swart, Kitty Chisholm and Paul Brown, Springer, 2015.
  • "Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results". By Judith E. Glaser, Routledge, 2016.
  • "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success". By Carol S. Dweck, Ballantine Books, 2013.
  • "Thinking, Fast and Slow". By Daniel Kahneman, Penguin Books, 2nd edition, 2022.

More books on living and working across cultures that we’ve been recommended

  • "Diversity Competence: Cultures Don’t Meet, People Do". By Edwin Hoffman and Arjan Verdooren, CABI, 2019.
  • "Cultural Chemistry: Simple Strategies for Bridging Cultural Gaps". By Patti McCarthy, Cultural Chemistry, 2016.
  • "Reflections on Intercultural Craftsmanship". By Yvonne van der Pol, Brave New Books, 2017.
  • "Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization". By Gurnek Bains, Wiley, 1st edition, 2015.
  • "When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures". By Richard D. Lewis, Nicholas Brealey, 4th edition, 2018.
  • "Closeness at a Distance: Leading Virtual Groups to High Performance". By Marcus Hildebrandt, Line Jehle, Stefan Meister and Susanne Skoruppa, Libri Publishing, 2014.
  • "Virtually Disastrous: What you really need to know about leadership across distance”. By Gary Thomas, assist Publishing, 2017.
  • "The End of Bias: A Beginning: The Science and Practice of Overcoming Unconscious Bias". By Jessica Nordell, Metropolitan Books, 2021.
  • "The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation". By Timothy R. Clark, ReadHowYouWant, 2020.
  • "Which Two Heads Are Better Than One?: How diverse teams create breakthrough ideas and make smarter decisions". By Juliet Bourke, Australian Institute of Company Directors, 2017.
  • "The Art of Crossing Cultures". By Craig Storti, Nicholas Brealey, 3rd edition, 2021.
  • "The Art of Coming Home". By Craig Storti, Mobius, 2nd edition, 2022.
  • "Being a Distance Grandparent : A Book for ALL Generations". By Helen Ellis, Summertime Publishing, 2021. (The first part of a three-book series).
  • "Why Doesn't He Use a Spoon?: A Guide to International Business Negotiation". By Søren Hilligsøe and Richard Pooley, Gyldendal Akademisk, 2016.
  • "Intercultural Readiness: Four Competences for Working Across Cultures". By Ursula Brinkmann and Oscar van Weerdenburg, Springer, 2014.
  • "Building Cultural Competence: Innovative Activities and Models". By Kate Berardo and Darla K. Deardorff, Stylus Publishing, 2012.
  • "Handbook of Intercultural Training". By Dan Landis, Janet Bennett and Milton Bennett, SAGE Publications, 3rd edition, 2003.
  • "Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies". By Robert J. House, Paul J. Hanges, Mansour Javidan, Peter W. Dorfman and Vipin Gupta, SAGE Publications, 2013.
  • "Global Collaboration: Intercultural Experiences and Learning". By Martine Cardel Gertsen, Anne-Marie Søderberg and Mette Zølner, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  • "Methods and Assessment in Culture and Psychology". By Cambridge University Press, 2021. (Edited by Michael Bender and Byron Adams).
  • "Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership for the 21st Century". By Neil Remington Abramson and Robert T. Moran, Routledge, 10th edition, 2017.
  • "Understanding Cross-Cultural Management". By Marie-Joelle Browaeys and Roger Price, Pearson, 4th Edition, 2019.
  • "Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Resource Book for Students". By Adrian Holliday, Taylor & Francis Ltd, 3rd edition, 2016.

Books in Danish

Books that don’t have a cross-cultural focus, but are nevertheless useful in your cross-cultural work

  • "Den frygtløse organisation: Skab psykologisk tryghed på arbejdspladsen og styrk læring, innovation og vækst". By Amy Edmondson, DJØF Forlag, 2020.
  • "Hjernesmart ledelse: Guide til hjernens spilleregler". By Anette Prehn, People'sPress, 2018.
  • "AT TÆNKE - hurtigt og langsomt". By Daniel Kahneman, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 3rd edition, 2018.

More books on living and working across cultures that we’ve been recommended

  • "Biasbevidst ledelse: Sæt diversitet i spil og træf bedre beslutninger". By Sara Louise Muhr and Christina Lundsgaard Ottsen, DJØF Forlag, 2021.
  • "Samarbejde lokalt og globalt: Forskelle er vitale". By Elisabeth Plum, Gyldendal, 2013 (ePub).
  • "Grundbog i kulturforståelse". By Iben Jensen, Samfundslitteratur, 3rd edition, 2018.
  • "Kulturforståelse for stenalderhjerner: Hvordan vi samarbejder med dem, der ikke er som os selv". By Dennis Nørmark, Gyldendal Business, 2013 (e-book).
  • "Håndbog i høflighed: Kulturelle koder i 11 EU-lande". By Ulla Gjedde Palmgren, Multivers, 2007.
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