In fact I have been preparing it ever since I finished the first book because 80 pages weren’t enough to collect all the ideas I had. The format was already predetermined, so I couldn’t go above it. This is one of the limitations of working with publishers. In my case it was the only one because my publisher in Germany, Knesebeck Verlag, gave me absolute freedom about every aspect of the book, front to back.
It’s easy to forget how much trust such a decision requires, especially with new authors who haven’t proven themselves commercially. Appreciating creativity is one thing but betting a significant part of the budget of your company on it is much more complicated. I am very thankful about that.
Now that we have not only creative ideas but also a solid financial success behind us, Knesebeck Verlag and I are going to continue our collaboration on the next version of the book, the Atlas of Prejudice 2. It’s scheduled to appear in February 2014 on the German market and it will expand the project beyond national stereotypes. The cover, which I just finished, may give you an idea about the new direction. The rest is contained in the draft annotation that describes the project at its current stage:
It’s easy to forget that each and every one of us is culturally biased. A real explorer is able to recognize this psychological flaw and steer clear of it when he gets in touch with a different culture. For the truly adventurous, the world is not a tourist destination but a stage, a platform on which nothing is certain and everything changes all the time.
People who are able to rise above their own cultural limitations often appear as weird. But this weirdness is often projected upon them by the limitations of our own minds we like to describe as “normal”.
In order to truly explore human nature we have to burst the cocoon of cultural preconceptions in which we so eagerly wrap ourselves. We have to overcome the fear of losing our own identity in the process. We have to reject the idea that we are simply products of our societies and rediscover our true roots that run much deeper than any social, cultural, or political accidents.
This book is for those of us who have both the courage and the sense of humor to recognize that.