Many military professionals find themselves walking on pins and needles to avoid offending people from other cultures. Yet, their efforts to adopt a respectful demeanor ultimately do little to impress host nationals or coalition partners, and less to accomplish their mission.
But there is a way to work effectively with people from other cultures and meet your objectives in an open, honest manner – cultural competence.
Drs. Rasmussen and Sieck have interviewed hundreds of military professionals who have extensive experience serving overseas in culturally intensive roles. In Save Your Ammo, they present the skills and strategies these cross-cultural security experts used to handle their most challenging engagements with foreign populations and partners.
This practical guide to working across cultures is filled with gripping stories of real cultural encounters. You’ll learn how to:
- Build working relationships to get things done
- Win trust and earn respect
- Discover entertaining ways to learn about new cultures
- Spot bad advice and find trusted local cultural advisors
- Deal with difficult people and reduce your foreign frustrations
- Adapt to your new cultural reality, while staying true to yourself
- Know when and why to break the cultural script
Praise for Save Your Ammo
Every diplomat and member of our military serving overseas should have ‘Save Your Ammo’ as required reading. It is a superb guide to understanding the importance of culture in all interactions and the need for the appreciation of culture in how it influences relationships, decision making, and policy development.-General Anthony C. Zinni, USMC, Retired
Save Your Ammo is a must-read primer for anyone remotely serious about performing well in a cross-cultural environment. Easy to digest, it is chock full of insightful, practical advice backed up with real-world anecdotes that underscore the enduring concepts the authors’ research has distilled.-Major General Mike Rothstein, USAF, Retired (former Air University Vice Commander)
…the perfect guide for all of us who routinely are in touch with our world. It’s a cultural ‘how to’ done through lively storytelling as we navigate global choppy waters.-Major General Spider Marks, Army, Retired
When I first became a Foreign Area Officer, I would have really benefited from the down-to-earth, practical insights and examples offered in Save Your Ammo…[It] is a great primer to understand the importance of culture and how to use that knowledge to accomplish your mission – regardless of whether you’re in the public or private sector.-Major General Richard Lake, USMC, Retired
Check it out at your favorite bookseller
SYA is now also available as an audiobook through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.
More praise for the book
…a practical guide for bridging cultural gaps at the individual level. Its readability and smooth transitions make it a quick read that fills a much-needed gap in cross-cultural literature for the warfighter and diplomat. [read full review of Save Your Ammo]–Major George Fust – Modern War Institute at West Point
…nuanced but straightforward. Readers of Malcolm Gladwell or Chip and Dan Heath will feel right at home… From the opening vignette of a Marine’s tense engagement with a warlord in West Africa, the folksy style of storytelling pulls readers into the pages and places them in the boots of the story’s subject. [read full review]-Colonel Walter Ward, USAF, Retired – Air & Space Power Journal
[Save Your Ammo] is not about understanding culture for the sake of it; all its guiding principles build to one purpose: mission accomplishment.-Major Diana Moga, USMC – Proceedings, United States Naval Institute
This is the perfect guide to cross-cultural communication for those working in government and diplomacy positions, multinational corporations, and NGOs.-Publishers Weekly Booklife
While this could have been a decidedly boring series of lectures about ‘cultural sensitivity,’ the authors chose to deal with the subject rather like many ancient writers on military theory, such as Sun-tzu, Frontinus…-Al Nofi – The New York Military Affairs Symposium & Strategy Page
Save Your Ammo helps readers … in one of the few contexts where cultural knowledge can, in fact, be the ultimate deciding factor between mission success or failure – or life and death.-Professor Emeritus Kenneth Cushner, Executive Director of the International Academy for Intercultural Research and author of Intercultural Interactions: A Practical Guide
Among all the cross-cultural books that I have read (and written), the number, detail, and value of the stories in this book are unique. The authors are to be congratulated for providing such a valuable and actionable tool… [read full review]-Professor Mansour Javidan, Director of the Najafi Global Mindset Institute, Thunderbird School of Global Management, and co-author of Strategic Leadership Across Cultures
Save your Ammo is an incredibly riveting and indispensable book. Filled with countless stories of challenging cross-cultural encounters combined with practical advice that is extremely empowering, it’s a must read for anyone working on international assignments.-Professor Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland, author of Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals that Direct Our Lives
…an excellent description and guide…for anyone working across cultures in tense, ambiguous situations where split second decisions can mean the difference between life and death.-Professor David Matsumoto, San Francisco State University, Director of Humintell, and editor of the Handbook of Culture and Psychology