What Makes the Middle East Tick

Insights of a Diplomat

Wolfgang H. Reuther
Politics & History, Biographies & Memoirs, Travel & Adventure

This book will change the way you see the Middle East. Based on insights gained through
his personal experience of living and working in the region the author invites you to travel
across the social fabric and mentalities that make the Middle East tick. He enriches his social
analysis with illuminating anecdotes, presented in candid language, but without moralising or pushing a political agenda and always with a critical eye and wry humour. Preferring a historical perspective instead of the standard narrow focus on Islam, he emphasises the tribal foundations of Arab societies. Exciting and easy to read from beginning to end for specialists and for the wider public alike. -----

Selected feedback on the German (2018) edition: ---
‘I have already re-ordered your book twice as a present. It spreads tolerance and optimism.’ ---

‘It was like reading a thriller. Very exciting. I could not put it aside ... and never tactless or aggressive.’ ---

‘I was fascinated by the density of observations, which are serious and humorous at the same time... The details about women and clans are particularly impressive.’ ---

‘I liked the fact that the book is not only written for academics, but in a way that everyone can understand.’ ---

‘Our daughter is a psychologist. Among her clients are children from the Middle East. She finds your book extremely beneficial for her work.’ ---

‘The book has the potential to find broad acceptance, as the delicate topics and terminology are well mastered.’ ---

‘I started looking at the Middle East in a completely different way.’


Review by Australian scholar

What Makes the Middle East Tick – Insights of a Diplomat
By Wolfgang Reuther

Review by Carlene Winch-Dummett PhD, Canberra

What Makes the Middle East Tick – Insights of a Diplomat is a timely and interesting book. A close observation of the cover gives a visual synopsis of the content of the book through a combination of conventional and symbolic motifs. The traditional, generic view of sun-bleached, undifferentiated Arabic styled buildings is counterpoised to the brilliant blue of the background sky in which the national flag of Jordan is the dominant and distinguishing feature. The reader knows what to expect.

This book is timely for both official and non-official visitors to the Middle East because of its important position in global affairs. It is not that there are not enough travel books and academic books concerning the Middle East, but the availability of information gleaned from westerners who have lived and worked in the Middle East is limited. This day-to-day experience of navigating official and social Middle Eastern mores is of importance to serious visitors, workers, and people doing business in the Middle East.

What this book offers that differs from the usual discussion of cultural adaptation, in this case the Middle East, is its capacity for intimate knowledge and explanation of attitudes and practices in everyday business and social experiences that confront ex-pats struggling to familiarize themselves with appropriate expectations and actions.

What Makes the Middle East Tick attempts to unravel these conundrums through both theoretical discussions and personal anecdotes. The personal anecdotes are the most illuminating to this reader for two reasons: the events are written in a conversational style and have immediate resonance; and they encourage the reader to consider and weigh up their own responses to those shared experiences.

Introduction into any unfamiliar socio-cultural living and working environment is always fraught with concerns of socializing and generally building positive relationships with other members of that country. This book sets out successfully to educate the reader through serious observations served with lighter, sometimes amusing, personal experiences. It is this combination of themes that is appealing to the reader.