The Mobile Life – a new approach to moving anywhere by veteran global citizen Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker targets individuals embarking on their first expatriate experience.
Knowledgeable about the topic from both a professional and personal basis, the authors have tackled the subject with an extremely detailed interpretation of what is required to conscientiously make the decision to uproot and resettle in an unfamiliar country.
On a university curriculum The Mobile Life would find its place on an introductory psychology course, possibly: Expat 101. The contents are broad-ranging and offer something to every potential expat moving to any part of the world.
Covering all aspects of making an international move from a psychological perspective, familiar concepts like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (p108) and Hall’s Analogy of Culture (p126) are included with more recently introduced terminology such as emotional intelligence (p66), moral quotient (p139) and body quotient (p144).
Adopting the phrase ‘team leader’ to refer to parents supports the notion that family members work as a team. Continuing with this model, information is reminiscent of company team building days spent in closed rooms with paper and whiteboard space – where roles and responsibilities are brainstormed, documented, analyzed, and discussed to the point of consensus within the family team.
Choosing the analogy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 1914 Antarctic expedition to explain the challenges of a global move, and the essential attributes of a good leader to ensure the survival of accompanying family members is perhaps too loose a connection in the book.
Reading about Shackleton is an enjoyable distraction, yet comparing a sea captain, who travelled with his crew and became trapped for months in Antarctica before returning home to his family, with an English family being sent on their maiden expat posting in Abu Dhabi or Singapore is an obtuse comparison.
Overall, the authors undoubtedly know their subject matter. The book will benefit individuals wanting to delve into the why and how questions that arise from a decision to move to a new country.
The book is based on the psychology of making the transition - admittedly a step many expats do not consider in their excitement at becoming global citizens.