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Extended Audio Sample Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unexpected Hilarity inside a Korean Corporate Titan, by Frank Ahrens Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frank Ahrens Narrator: Frank Ahrens Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Recounting his three years in Korea, the highest-ranking non-Korean executive at Hyundai sheds light on a business culture very few Western journalists ever experience in this revealing, moving, and hilarious memoir.

When Frank Ahrens, a middle-aged bachelor and eighteen-year veteran at the Washington Post, fell in love with a diplomat, his life changed dramatically. Following his new bride to her first appointment in Seoul, South Korea, Frank traded the newsroom for a corporate suite, becoming director of global communications at Hyundai Motors. In a land whose population is ninety-seven percent Korean, he was one of fewer than ten non-Koreans in a company of 5,000 employees.

For the next three years, Frank traveled to auto shows and press conferences around the world, pitching Hyundai to former colleagues while trying to navigate cultural differences at home and at work. While his appreciation for absurdity enabled him to laugh his way through many awkward encounters, his job began to take a toll on his marriage and family. Eventually, he became a vice president—the highest-ranking non-Korean in the history of Hyundai—but at an untenable price.

Filled with unique insights and told in his engaging, humorous voice, Seoul Man sheds light on a culture few Westerners know, and is a delightfully funny and heartwarming adventure for anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water—all of us.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lively, engaging, and deeply personal, Seoul Man is at once a fascinating primer on the auto industry, a perceptive and often hilarious ex-pat adventure into “Koreanness,” and the story of an ordinary man transformed through faith and the power of love.”

    Brigid Schulte, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Civilizations clash and learn from each other when an American joins a South Korean company in this fish-out-of-water memoir…The book is engagingly written and full of funny, intriguing probes into the quirks he discovers in his surroundings and himself. This is a nuanced look at a nation where an image of Western modernity is reflected and illuminated by an off-kilter mirror.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Engaging…Like many contemporary memoirs, it is not all about the author. When finished with it, readers will remember as much or more about Korean history and culture and about management of Hyundai Motors as about Ahrens and his family…Seoul Man is a great read for business readers and for Americans-abroad memoir fans.”


  • “In this charming and affecting book, Ahrens finds out what makes this small but courageous country strive so relentlessly to be better. His portrait of Korea, the ‘shrimp between the two whales’ of China and Japan, is filled with insights, youthful enthusiasm, and a zest for discovery.”

    Tim Clissold, internationally bestselling author of Mr. China

  • “Not only a revealing personal odyssey, Seoul Man also looks into the history, culture, politics, and business of the remarkable success story of modern South Korea.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “During his time as a Hyundai executive from 2010 to 2013, the author learned to admire the depth of the Korean people in many unique ways, delineated with humor and warmth in this book…Amid the author’s personal journey reside priceless cultural and professional insights.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for August 2016
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