Embracing Culture Shock to Build Resilience, Responsiveness & Connection

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Advance Praise for ETHNOWISE

“Kimball draws on a rich spectrum of sources to disclose the bona fide intersections of anthropology, psychology, literature, contemporary culture and everyday life experience. The result is a useful—and amusing—collection of insights about human relations in our rapidly changing world. This book is a special treat to read. Moreover, it will inspire reflections on your own multi-cultural encounters—as it should.”
Richard Borden
Author of Ecology and Experience: Reflections from a Human Ecological Perspective

“What does it mean to know oneself as a cultural being? That fundamental question animates Michael Kimball’s wonderful new book. Cultural misunderstanding and its attendant suffering is an interdisciplinary problem. Kimball brings some of the best of anthropology, mindfulness and neuroscience to bear on this conundrum. We discover that appreciating the peculiarity of everything that seems ‘natural’ affords a basis for tolerance, cultural appreciation and ultimately, self-understanding.”
Matthew Brensilver
Mindful Schools & UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

“At a moment when the global tide of fear of the unknown is on a steep rise and social cohesion eroding, Michael Kimball’s book Ethnowise is a timely and thoughtful contribution. Through captivating mini-case studies and illustrative scenarios taken from an incredible array of fields including sociology, psychology, literature, philosophy and lived experience he takes the reader on an exploratory journey of how our instincts and perspectives of the world drive our interpersonal scripts. By deconstructing the concentric circles of the ‘I’ and contextualizing it in the bigger picture of our families, communities and cultures the reader is challenged to examine our biases, stereotypes and narratives and then encouraged in a nonjudgmental but provocative way to really think about how each of us, through increased mindfulness, could get just a little bit more ‘ethnowise.’”
Waidehi Gokhale
CEO, Soliya

Ethnowise is an educational and enlightening look at the way our cultural biases create discord and ‘culture shock’ any time we confront difference in our lives. Kimball’s delightful use of storytelling makes the book fun to read and brings his concepts to life. An important book for our times, Ethnowise offers a path towards greater understanding and connection across cultures.”
Holly Rogers
Author of The Mindful Twenty-Something: Life Skills to Handle Stress…and Everything Else

Forthcoming book!

There are three things you need to know about culture. Here’s the first thing: You’re unwittingly trapped in a cultural matrix – a virtual world generated by your brain in concert with other human brains. Here’s the second thing: As long as your cultural matrix is similar to those around you, you won’t know it’s a simulation. It will look and feel to you like the real world. Until that is, you collide with a different matrix. This leads to the third thing: You can actually use the shock of that collision to improve yourself, your relationships, and maybe even your world.

The signs of culture shock are everywhere these days—on social media, between nations and groups, in our streets and homes. Culture shock hurts because it feels like a threat—either a realistic threat to your life or livelihood or a symbolic threat to your own or your group’s cherished worldviews and ways of life. What’s more, because it hurts, we naturally resist it. This leads to confusion, conflict, and often deep regret.

But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if it turns out that, counter-intuitively, you’re actually safer and better off learning to embrace culture shock rather than avoid it? In this book, anthropologist Michael J. Kimball charts this path with a set of engaging principles and techniques rooted in anthropology, neuroscience, cultural psychology and mindfulness studies. With these in hand, you’ll learn to disrupt your habitual reactions to the unfamiliar, grow your resilience to cultural discomfort, and transform culture shock into connection. In other words, you’ll be on your way to being ethnowise.


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