The following is a book review of The Bro Code of Saudi Culture by Dr Abdul Al Lily.

This book should be recommended reading for all Diplomats, State Department personnel, and anyone who goes to work in Saudi Arabia. The author covered just about every aspect of life for men in Saudi Arabia. Understanding a culture is essential to dealing with the people of that culture. As the author states, this is a snapshot of the culture at this time. Much of the current culture is like America was several hundred years ago. It’s too bad no one documented our culture from then as it is important to learn how a society evolves.
There is some repetition but I found the items repeated are the more important ones that the reader needs to remember; how better to stress them than to repeat them. I read it on my Kindle and sometimes when books are copied to e-versions there are mistakes in punctuation and grammar. But the content was so good it was easy to overlook them.
This will be my go to book when ever I use Saudi characters in my books to get the cultural issues correct. How wonderful to have first hand knowledge of a different culture when using it for fictional writing.

Dr. Al Lily gives a humorous presentation to daily life in Saudi. Yes, religion is a part but more often it is the tribal traditions that make up the culture. Tribal traditions? Isn’t that where we all came from and some societies still embrace? I think of the Amish and Mennonites in America but also small southern enclaves and larger New York burrows.

We hear lots of comments and criticisms about the culture of Saudi Arabia but most westerners have no idea of the culture there. If you want to know the facts, why not go to the source. Dr. Al Lily is a great source. There is a lot of misinformation out there that this book will dispel. Actually, most westerners would benefit from understanding this culture as it is not as evil as many would lead you to believe. Learning about other cultures helps us understand ourselves.

I highly recommend this book to every diplomat, government official, or worker who is traveling to this part of the world. It is also a great source for fiction writers like me who use the backdrop of Saudi Arabia in their stories. There was a section about daily life that completely reminded me of George Orwell’s 1984. I don’t write syfy or dystopia but if you do there are some great ideas for how to create your fictional world. If you write romance, like I do, here is a great source of conflict for your characters in using the cross cultural theme.

Dr. Al Lily, I greatly admire and appreciate your work. I can’t wait to use some of this cultural knowledge in my future novels!


Photo courtesy of Abdul Al Lily (thanks, Dr.!)