Sarah A. Lanier, in her book Foreign to Familiar, argues that at the most basic level the world can be divided into Cold Climate Cultures and Hot Climate Cultures. Cold Climate Culture (e.g. Northern US, Western Europe) are usually characterised in the following way:
- Task oriented (efficiency and time are high priorities)
- Direct communication; individualism (one must know how to make one’s own decisions)
- Privacy (people enjoy having time and space to themselves)
- Hospitality is taken very seriously and is planned for
- Structured and planned approach to life
Placing cultures into these two categories of either hot or cold climates provides simple handles to get a grasp of.