Author Gish Jen tackles the differences in perspectives across the globe in her new book, The Girl At The Baggage Claim: Explaining The East-West Culture Gap. Jen uses a combination of scientific literature, anecdote and personal experience to break down Eastern and Western ideas about society and the self.
"We think that everyone in the world has the same self that we have here in America," she said. "We think there's a very important essence at the center of us. ... Most of the world does not think this way."
Jen went on to explain how other groups across the world may have a more malleable concept of the self that informs them. She said the American concept of self can be limiting if we try to apply it absolutely.
"We think that our self is universal, but it is not universal," she said.
Gish Jen is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her latest book is The Girl At The Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap. You can buy her book here and listen to her interview in its entirety by clicking on the audio link above.