This selective directory of
books on foreign relations and cross-cultural topics for international
business is provided in association with Amazon.com as a convenient
source of books which may be of interest. The search tool at left enables you to look
up any books, magazines, videos or DVD's directly on their website, rather than by following our own
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Marcel was the founder of Plant
Location International in Brussels, and has assisted many leading
corporations with their expansion plans around the world.
Exporting America : Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American
This highly respected business news anchor attracted a lot of
attention during the 2003-2004 period leading up to the US elections through
his criticism of business outsourcing in a very popular feature series,
Whether one agrees with all his
analysis and conclusions or not, it is an important contribution to the need
for a more informed debate on not only the public policy and long-term
social and economic impacts of outsourcing and globalization in general, but
also the role of corporate leaders and their business and social
The basic premise is that outsourcing jobs to other
countries will ultimately be harmful to American interests despite any
short-term business cost savings.
Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor of CNN "Lou Dobbs
tonight", with popular feature stories on "Exporting America"
Whatever the show ratings
were, this special
feature resonated with many viewers as a very hot topic
during the US election in particular.
This book also attracted many very
thoughtful Amazon.com reviewer comments.
It's interesting that the ones which agreed with Dobbs'
basic premise and analysis seemed to give more thoughtful reviews, while
some of his critics just bashed his position or the book without much
substance. That is, frankly, consistent with what he already reported
from viewer and business editor reactions to his programs.
Investing in Peace : How Development Aid Can Prevent or
Retired USAID officer with experience in various countries
and with UN programs looks at the role of development programs in places
which are prone to conflicts - both where they have happened or have been
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil : How to Oust the World's Last
Dictators by 2025
By a retired career diplomat and Vice Chairman of Freedom
House. Advocates efforts to spread democracy as a foreign policy
objective to help people replace their tyrants. A few down already,
but many left to go.
Ambassador Mark Palmer
A Journey through the Cold War : A Memoir of Containment and
Career diplomat looks back at the events of a long career
inside the policy-making circles since the 1950's
Voice of America : A History
Insights into an organization which ties diplomacy and
journalism together as a publicly funded media channel reaching millions of
people worldwide despite being unknown to most Americans.
Alan Heil Jr.
Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, the Foreign
Service, and Intelligence
abstract / comment
Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and
How It Changed the World
The Paradox of American Power : Why the World's Only
Superpower Can't Go It Alone
Joseph Nye Jr.
Turbulent Peace : The Challenges of Managing International
Essays by many analysts about dealing with conflicts, edited
by a former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs in the US State Dept
Edited by Chester Crocker et al
Democracy, Morality, and the Search for Peace in America's
Collection of thoughts by many leaders, compiled by former US
Senator David Boren and a former US Ambassador, Edward Perkins, both now at
the University of Oklahoma. See their prior work below, and for the
Middle East, above.
Edited by David Boren and Edward Perkins
Preparing America's Foreign Policy for the 21st Century
Earlier work, companion to the above.
Edited by David Boren and Edward Perkins
Worth reviewing the history of Theodore Roosevelt's impact on
US foreign policy and the world, which is still important a century later
Founding Brothers : The Revolutionary Generation
Few things in history are inevitable. Individuals still
transform the world through their decisions. Overview of a remarkable
period of US history and issues which still shape the country more than two
More insights into the revolutionary era of the US
Breakthrough International Negotiation : How Great
Negotiators Transformed the World's Toughest Post-Cold War Conflicts
Outcomes of negotiations are not always what they seem, or as
conclusive, as the current events show regarding prior negotiations with
North Korea and others. Even so, and even if one might dispute who the
"great" negotiators really are, it is worth reviewing this analysis of such
important work, and the process.
Michael Watkins and Susan Rosegrant
Negotiating Globally : How to Negotiate Deals, Resolve
Disputes, and Make Decisions Across Cultures
Applicable to business, rather than just government.
Pax Democratica : A Strategy for the 21st Century
Argues that the leading western democracies share common
interests which they need to pursue jointly rather than separately as a sort
of one world vision (but not world government). Realistic or not, it's
another contribution to the debate about the way forward.
A Strategy for Stable Peace : Toward a Euroatlantic Security
Another work envisioning collaboration between the US,
Europe, and Russia as the way forward, published by the US Institute of
Ambassador James Goodby et al
Digital Diplomacy : US Foreign Policy in the Information
Rejects thesis about "telediplomacy" from a knowledgeable
perspective, favoring how technology can be used instead to enhance the work
Wilson Dizard Jr.
Why Peacekeeping Fails
Comparison of experiences in Angola and Mozambique by a
retired Ambassador with a long Foreign Service career who has been openly
critical of the State Dept and the Bush administration policies in
Ambassador Dennis Jett
Does America Need a Foreign Policy?
Not always, for every issue, as other Secretaries of State
have indicated before him. This is a useful overview of current issues
around the world.
American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It
Interesting review of key US political figures in history
with more balance than some interpretations, and recognition of the
constraints or environment they faced at the time, rather than judgment with
First Great Triumph : How Five Americans Made Their Country a
Account of the late 19th century era, sometimes referred to
as the era of "Manifest Destiny", when the US took more of a proactive,
expansionist stance under President Theodore Roosevelt. Although a
fairly brief period in history, it had a dramatic impact, and still shapes
some foreign perceptions about our policies and responses to global
challenges a century later.
A Pretty Good Club : The Founding Fathers of the US Foreign
Insights into how the US Foreign Service became what it is
today, and perceived as obstructive by President Roosevelt in the period
before WW II, which has been a hard image to shake over the subsequent
A collection of real life stories by members of the Foreign
Service who found themselves in the middle of dramatic events during their
careers. The various scenarios help to understand life in the Foreign
The China Hands : America's Foreign Service Officers and What
As US interest in China picks up again, it is worth
remembering what happened in the McCarthy era to the Foreign Service
Officers who foresaw before and during World War II the changes in China
which others refused to believe, and then were blamed for their insights in
the superficial "who lost China?" debate in the US, as though it had somehow
been ours in the first place, or within their ability to alter the course of
events in China.
Consider the implications
throughout Asia for the damage that was done to US relations with China
during that era (impact on the Korean War, Vietnam, etc.), and the loss of
some of our best experts. Never again? Some of the best experts
in the Foreign Service have been driven into early retirement in recent
years, too, at what cost to our capabilities and interests today? It
is probably far too early to judge the consequences, but we are back in
another cycle of trying to rebuild the base of expertise through recruitment
of new officers, after disrespecting the talent in which we had invested.
China Scapegoat : The Diplomatic Ordeal of John Carter
See the China section, above, for background on this and
other books about the "China hands" who were driven out of the Foreign
Service for their very accurate reporting and analysis during the Revolution
in China. There are still lessons in that McCarthy era experience for
those who aspire to Foreign Service careers, because this "who made the
mistake?" mentality still persists in the public, media, and Congress
whenever international events do not develop as we might wish.
The Diplomats : The real people behind the events in an
This is an interesting analysis of more than just the US
Foreign Service, as the author interviewed many diplomats of various
countries about their work through research involving over 600 interviews in
20 countries over a period of 5 years. One of the interesting opening
comments was that there were less than 75,000 people in the diplomatic
services of all the countries in the world put together (at that time),
which is smaller than some of the leading professional service firms which
support the interests of global corporations today.
Imagine the impact if all those professionals in public and private service
could work together better for mutual benefit as they pursue their
respective self-interests. A first step is to better understand each
Overtime in Heaven
This one isn't even listed on Amazon.com, but you may find it
gathering dust in some libraries. Written by respected journalists,
the premise behind the title was the old saying that Foreign Service
Officers will have to hope that they get their overtime in heaven, because
they'll never see it paid in this world. Basically another collection
of some really compelling "war stories" about the challenges of Foreign
I guess there was never a further update
to this book, which was in the 10th edition in 1980 by Prentice-Hall
publishers, but it remains an excellent overview of US diplomatic policies and activities
from the start of the country to the present times. If there is an
update, perhaps by a new name, I would like to find it.
Many Americans are completely unaware of much of this
history, but leading officials and businesspeople in other countries are
more likely to be aware of how this history has played out in their areas.
It can therefore be useful background to get the US perspective on actions
which may often be perceived (or taught) in other countries quite
differently, or as directly contrary to their own national interests,
especially as those with political or other agendas try to distort our
history and criticize our policies and actions for own purposes.
This is a good, objective historical overview, warts and all,
which can help executives to respond in a knowledgeable way to questions or
criticism by foreign contacts, whether defending the history or not, and can
help to understand why people in other countries do not always perceive our
policies and actions in the same context as we do. They often remember
the impact of decisions on their own countries which Americans have never
even learned about, or have long since forgotten or dismissed as an anomaly
or mistake from another era, or a different political party. They are
also sometimes far more uninformed, or misinformed, about US policy and
history than they believe themselves to be, since they may have been taught
by very biased sources.
Foreign Relations of the United States
Historical collections of original documents from diplomatic
correspondence, selected and organized by the Office of the Historian at the
US Dept of State after most such items are finally declassified, typically
after 30 or more years. The books are available through the US
Government Printing Office, which has a bibliography of all the available
This can be a fascinating resource for researchers or
anyone else who is interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how major world
events and our policies and interests were perceived at the time by top
diplomatic officers. They are generally organized by the years which
they cover (as documents are declassified) and the region of the world.
For example, recent works typically cover the late 1960's. Hopefully
the US GPO will someday make current and past publications in this series
available electronically for research purposes.
Electronic intelligence is very important to national
security, as events have repeatedly demonstrated. The capability needs
to be protected and supported. This work illustrates the value with
The Puzzle Palace
By the same author as Body of Secrets, this book addressed
the same topic 20 years ago.
The Sword and the Shield : The Mitrokhin Archive and the
Secret History of the KGB
While a certain degree of skepticism about details or
completeness should still surround any such archives from a KGB organization
skilled in self-preservation and disinformation, this is still interesting
Although somewhat dated by a focus on the Cold War aspects of
intelligence related to the Soviet Union, this is another personal account
of an intelligence career which helps to illustrate the importance of such
The U.S. Intelligence Community
1999 4th Ed
The Ultimate Terrorists
Harvard professor's book about the current risks, written
before 9/11 with other nightmare scenarios such as concern about weapons of
mass destruction in particular. Not the ultimate expert, or the last
word on the subject, but timely perspective on the issues.
Terrorism and US Foreign Policy
Brookings Institution study of the ongoing struggle by a
former US Army and CIA officer
Origins of Terrorism : Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies,
States of Mind
A more recent work by an author who has provided thought
leadership on this topic for decades, whether you agree with everything he
says or not.
Terrorism : A Study of National and International Political
An updated version was
issued in 1987
The original was 0316514705
There are obviously more recent works on this subject, but
this 25 year old study, including explicit concern about future risks such
as terrorist use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, should remind
Americans that this problem is not really a new one. Decades of
neglect as the problem got worse are not going to be reversed quickly by use
of military power, but one has to start somewhere to show that we are as
serious about destroying the terrorists as they are about destroying the
civilization and free lives which we enjoy.
Cold War, this is largely a hidden struggle in the shadows, not on the front
pages, radio, or TV news, which is where many terrorists want to get the
coverage that amplifies their terror capabilities to mythic levels, or
arouses sympathy and support for their causes. It isn't particularly
challenging, nor does it require great skill, to organize people to destroy
things or kill many people, especially in a free and tolerant, diverse
society where it can be hard to identify and track down such threats.
By contrast, note how Arabs stand out among Afghans as
outsiders, or how Americans stand out in Saudi Arabia, whereas Arabs can
blend into Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, or most
other major US cities as ordinary citizens, immigrants, or visitors of no
particular concern to anyone as long as they don't break the law - which is
as it should be. Indeed, as recent events have shown, terrorists can
even blend into small, suburban communities.
The same is true of terrorists from any region, which is
why the US is not a very "hard target", and is appealing to terrorists for
the global visibility and illusion of power an attack can bring to their
cause. As a "superpower" target, we face a unique global threat which
does not lend itself to multilateral solutions, even though terrorism is a
threat to people everywhere, because the enemy typically doesn't really want
to negotiate or achieve some specific, attainable goal, which makes it very
different from traditional wars. We have to deal with it forcefully
because we are the most high-profile target, with or without the global
support that would always be welcome to create a far stronger global network
against terrorism than the terrorists can develop against us.
One can only hope that the public perception now that this
is not "somebody else's problem", which it never was, will persist as
terrorism and the struggle against it evolves, particularly since success
can be so hard to measure or even reveal, while the "failures" are obvious.
This study by a Harvard scholar drew the unwelcome conclusion
that terrorism flourishes because it works as a tactic. Note that
this, and the above study by Walter Laqueur, preceded some of the more
memorable attacks against US embassies in that era (Iran, Libya, Pakistan,
Lebanon, etc.), and before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led to further
terrorist problems there.
There was no causality
from such research conclusions (i.e., making matters worse), since the
terrorists and their supporters were already convinced that it worked for
their purposes. This was more of an appeal to government leaders to
recognize that the problem was not an isolated one that would soon or easily
go away, but rather a tactic that was likely to get much worse.
Although the focus is on the challenges of family life in the
US Foreign Service, the same basic issues often arise for executives on
Edited by Melissa Brayer Hess
The Foreign Service Institute - various language training
books and cassettes, usually divided into two or more sets (basic and more
advanced) as a course.
A sample from a search for
"Foreign Service Institute" on Amazon.com is shown in the links at left.
This is not a recommendation of specific titles in the series. You
should review the comments of buyers, and will find far more books than
appear in this short list (around 70 at the time this was written).
Whether you need to study Cantonese, Arabic, Swahili,
Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, or some other language, look into these if you
want to attempt self-study. They are very good, but definitely not for
This series is designed for serious,
intensive language training classes which are usually a full time job for
almost six months to prepare to live and work in the country. In
effect, one crams into six months what one might learn through four years of
university classes. A native speaker would normally guide the
instruction through a total immersion approach, as if living in the country
already, which is very hard at first. The style of instruction
therefore differs significantly from some of the more popular products for
serious tourists or those who just want to learn a few key phrases to get
The Foreign Service Institute (US Dept of State)
various, mostly in the 1980's and early 1990's, but be aware
that some books are repackaged versions of much earlier works without
In addition to those which were more widely published as
commercial products, you may be able to get others through the US Government
Printing Office, such as for some of the more difficult languages.
They have been promoted in the past through advertisements such as "Speak
German like a diplomat! ", which isn't really accurate, since the Foreign
Service language training includes more than the use of these books and
It would be nice if, in this multimedia age, the FSI
series would be updated to CD-ROM's and perhaps integrated with other
aspects of such training, such as general cross-cultural (and non-verbal
communication) training and country background studies, plus insights about
doing business in the country, with bibliographies for further research as
at FSI. That would be a great service to executives, but seems
A Personal Safety Guide for International Travelers
The Lee Group (
www.safeglobalsolutions.com ) provides security consulting for
international safety. The author is a former diplomatic security
The Global Road Warrior : 85 Country Handbook for the
International Business Traveller
Inside A U.S. Embassy : How the Foreign Service Works for
A new version will be available from AFSA in January, with
stories which help people to envision the work which is done at embassies.
This can be helpful to executives who may not understand the many roles of
the Foreign Service, and how that work affects them.
Welcome Home: Who Are You? Tales of a Foreign
Anecdotal accounts from a career in the US Foreign Service
US Law and Immigration, International Business Law
abstract / comment
International Business Transactions in a Nutshell
Available from Thomson West legal publishers at
www.westgroup.com . The
"Nutshell" series is aimed more at non-lawyers or law students, and can help
to understand the potential legal issues to consider.
Michael Gordon, John Spanogle Jr.
International Trade and Investment In A Nutshell
See above. Includes topics such as import and export
restrictions and controls, European Union business competition rules, and
steps to protect against foreign investment losses.
Also from Thomson West legal publishers. May be helpful
to HR executives at major companies looking to employ foreign nationals in
the US, including tax aspects prepared by Baker & McKenzie.
Reference notebooks, updated semiannually. Not cheap, or a substitute
for professional advice, but can help to better understand the many
1983, updated semiannually
Immigration Law and Procedure in a Nutshell
See above, from Thomson West "Nutshell" series.
Overview of immigration law, visa standards, deportation and exclusion,
refugee and asylum status, citizenship and the rights of foreign nationals
in the US. Aimed more at law students, but may also be helpful to HR
executives and employees affected by such issues, including compliance
requirements for employers.
1992 / 1998
European Union Law in A Nutshell
See above, from Thomson West. Emphasizes the external
impact of EU law, such as for US trade and business competition law, and how
EU law works.
NAFTA in a Nutshell
See above, from Thomson West. Not just for US firms,
this addresses external legal perspectives as well.
Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition in a Nutshell
See above, from Thomson West. Reference guide overview
of issues such as unfair competition, antitrust, consumer protection,
regulated industries, trade secrets, intellectual property and trademarks.
Land Use in a Nutshell
See above, from Thomson West. May be of interest to
economic development professionals involved in land use issues (legal
aspects of development regulation, zoning, taxation, planning processes,
controls). May also be of interest to non-US executives who are trying
to understand these issues for their project approvals.
Morton Gitelman and Robert Wright
1994, updated 2001
Law for Business, 8th Ed.
Commonly used as a textbook for university classes in
business law, available at university bookstores or directly from the
publisher, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, at
www.mhhe.com or 800-262-4729 (which may not work for foreign callers,
who can order by email through
A. James Barnes, Terry Dworkin
Employment Law for Business
Also a legal textbook from McGraw-Hill, as above, which may
interest HR executives in the US as well as foreign executives planning to
set up US operations as a basic overview. There may well be better
choices - I haven't searched intensively for them.
Bennett, Alexander, Hartman
Legal Landmines in E-Commerce
A business school legal textbook from McGraw-Hill as above,
again useful for an overview of the issues from the perspective of
practicing attorneys in this niche, intended for MBA programs, executive
David Canton, of Harrison Pensa LLP, and John Millar, of The
We may provide links
to other sources as
appropriate (consultants, US Government publications, United Nations, The World Bank,
etc.). For example, consultants and development agencies
may publish major surveys or research reports which are useful, but not available
welcome additional suggestions. Please note that our intended
focus is to find items with enduring or timely insights which can be applied
to the needs of corporate executives, professional service providers, or
area representatives in this niche of corporate development and investment.
We are not trying to compile a "best-seller" list, or selections which are
primarily academic research (analysis without clear application to business
decisions), journalistic (superficial, hot news of the moment), or not very
objective (unless that bias is important for executives to understand).
This is intended to be a list which makes it easier to find practical
"thought leadership" publications quickly and easily for a selective range
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