Sensitivity Training: Money (2)

Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Also, I think many Westerners believe that if you're rich, you should be quiet about it.

In fact, I believe many wealthy people in the West feel a little bit guilty.

Why would they feel guilty?

Because so many other people work very hard, but never become successful.

When the wealthy turn on the TV, they see so much pain and suffering... But their own lives are so comfortable.

Ah... I can understand that. If I were a wealthy person I think I would feel the same way.

It's interesting that some of the most successful entrepreneurs such as John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates ended up setting up charity organizations and giving away a large portion of the money they made.

So you're saying that Bill Gates, for example, doesn't necessarily think he deserves all the money he made?

He knows a part of it was luck, right?

Yeah. Bill Gates is a computer genius, but he was there at the right place at the right time.

That's a good attitude.

It's good to remember that hard work and good luck often go hand in hand.

Okay, so one more time.

What's the etiquette when it comes to talking about money with Westerners?

If the person doesn't volunteer information about how much something costs, don't bring it up.

Don't ask about personal savings or salary.

Is it OK to comment on or praise someone's possessions?

If you have a really nice car, can I say, "Wow, nice car"?

Yeah, that's fine. It only gets complicated when you start talking about specific prices.

I see your point. Topics like that could lead to embarrassment.

Exactly. Maybe Mr. Jones' apartment was really expensive, but his company paid for it...

Or maybe he overpaid and got a bad deal.

In either case, it's easier for everyone if we don't discuss it in public.