Book Review – ‘Why Russians don’t smile’

Selection_145Luc Jones has been living and working in Russia for over a decade, and has travelled extensively around the country. His hands-on experience comes across on every page of this book. Working hard for Antal since 2002, he has had the opportunity to communicate with a large number of newbies, and it is for these people, and for those who are planning to come here that ‘Why Russians don’t smile’ has been written.

The book categorises foreigners into corporate expats ‘Corp-pats’, Russified expats (Russpats) and Russians who return to Russia. Luc clearly has his sights on the first group. Exposing some of those stereotypes about Russia, stereotypes which don’t ever seem to go away, is perhaps one of Luc’s biggest achievement, however a vast amount of practical information from getting a taxi to approaching top Russian executives is packed into this handy publication.

Selection_144This is not intended to be a book which explains the reasons why Russians are the way they are, or why business etiquette can be bewildering at first. The author commented that a lot more than 160 pages would be needed to do that. Yet Luc does attempt to tackle difficult themes such as the concept of ‘trailing spouses’ and corruption. The lack of in-depth historical context leaves those of us who have been here a while asking for more. Nevertheless, the book achieves its aim, by at least taking note of the major issues, and thus providing the reader with the ability to navigate round problems.

We approve this book, and congratulate the author.