Her fondness for the linguistically isolated nation shines through. She clearly has an intimate knowledge of the country and its people, combined with the outsider’s ability to see it as it really is.
— The Budapest Times
She doesn’t shy away from difficult areas. Insightful in a way that regular travel books are not. … seasoned with plenty of sometimes sarcastic humor, which makes it an enjoyable read.
— Budapest Sun
...virtually an anthropological and sociological study.
— Lonely Planet Hungary
Insightful & thorough.
— Perceptive Travel
All explained and given their proper context in such a way as to create a real sense of a society and how it continues to evolve.It had the effect of making me want to book my tickets and experience it all for myself.
— Culture Magazine
A comprehensive – and often hilarious – expose of the Hungarian psyche, culture, language, and generally everything you always wanted to know about Hungary, but were afraid to ask. Written with a wry humour; merciless, and leaves no stone unturned. A brutally honest jab at the Hungarian ego. However sarcastic and exaggerated it may sound, is actually spot-on. One of the most valuable aspects of the book is the information on how to interact with Hungarians. ...very insightful. The book is a delight to read and often had me laughing out loud… a wealth of amusement for Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike.
— New Hungarian Voice
Szatirikusan a magyar kultúráról... Ardó Zsuzsanna szokatlan útikönyvet írt azoknak, akik a felszín mögé nézve szeretnék megérteni az összefüggéseket.
— Népszabadság
Fascinating, in-depth guide to the Hungarian psyche.
— Hilton Destinations


I found it was one of those books that I was very sad to put down. It is a very well written, insightful, and delivered with a healthy dose of humor. It not only helped me make sense of the Hungarians I have known in my life, but it also helped me understand some of my idiosyncratic ways.
— P W Houlihan
I really love the author’s style of writing; she explains the customs without sounding stuffy. In fact, I really enjoyed many of her tongue-in-cheek commentaries. The fact that she is Hungarian inspires confidence in her observations.
— M Manfredi
Culture Shock-Hungary supplies the who, what, why and how of the magnificent Magyars…is a joy to read.It’s fast paced and lively – a real page turner. It made me laugh out loud several times. The last time I laughed so much while reading was… some twenty years ago. This book should be a favorite of Magyarphiles everywhere… read this book to understand what makes Hungary tick. The insight into history’s role in modern Hungarian thinking was fascinating…The author’s sense of humor throughout made it a most enjoyable read! …Hungary’s entry into the EU should spur an increase in business and tourism […] the relevance and importance of this book should likewise increase!
— J E Fischer
Zsuzsanna Ardó’s intelligence and humor shine through this intro to all things Hungary/Hungarian. I spent a lot of time laughing – and underlining certain passages because she zeros in on the people/culture so well. I’m half-Hungarian and this book has helped me understand this quirky and amazing side of my family tree. If you’re planning to visit Hungary, this book is a must. This is one of the best intros to Hungary I’ve ever read.
— NZee
Zsuzsanna Ardó applies personal passion for her native Hungary like a surgical scalpel in dissecting psychological and linguistic peculiarities, alongside the most practical of everyday considerations. Culture Shock! Hungary thus approaches this country in the centre of Europe as a likeable oddity, a case study of a social culture and ethnic identity which genuinely differ from those of its neighbours. Multi-faceted Ardó leaves no stone unturned in her quest to display the soul of Hungary. Herself an acclaimed photographer, the author purveys an image of digital clarity; aspects as diverse as the country’s political system, its culinary landscape, music and geography are analysed and presented in impeccable playfulness. In her capacity as literary translator, Ardó unlocks the complexities of the Hungarian language and ethnic origins in an approachable and, dare one say, enjoyable manner. A profound impact even on the casual reader is guaranteed!
— Dr L P Laamann
What elevates Culture Shock! Hungary above the level of a Traveller’s Guide Series is both the quality of the writing and the intimate knowledge of what overdrives this nation of 10 million restless souls. It is like a firmly held mirror, an unflinching but affectionate insight into the character of a nation. If you are lucky enough to witness Zsuzsanna Ardó’s meticulous undressing of Hungarians and their culture, you realize that she leaves very little mystery for any self-respecting Magyar to hide behind. …full of fresh and original information that provokes conventional wisdom. With her warm satire she is experiencing life head-on her eye is always sharp and correct. Most enjoyable are her repeated journeys into the Hungarian psyche, which explain and become the basis for all the advice and experiences she provides so abundantly. …like a hilarious anthropological study. Obviously she is afflicted by the same genes of passion, humor and unbridled need to inform and/or set things straight, as the people she is writing about. …exposes universally and correctly the Hungarian nerve. … compassionate but sobering… It is a well deserved roasting. Surprisingly revealing even for those who think they can speak Hungarian. Page after page Zsuzsanna Ardó, who was born in Hungary but presently is a British citizen, proves an important point, that only from a safe distance, preferably from as far as possible, can one truly look at his or her homeland objectively. I would recommend the book to anyone who wishes to have a less bumpy ride through this little country in the Danube basin. It is unfortunate that the book is available only in English, because Culture Shock! Hungary should be a must, a specially required and liberating reading for all Hungarians too.
— S. Domonkos
Extremely readable and functional…, highly recommended to anyone hoping or planning on visiting Hungary. This mini-masterpiece of hints and humor would also be useful for someone interested in better understanding the burning minds, yo-yo moods and often mysterious ways of Hungarian friends, colleagues or even love interests. And of course, this text is an especially good read for anyone, in the U.S. or Canada with Magyar ancestry who is trying to learn more or read commentary on Hungarian heritage. A thoroughly relevant and entertaining read.
— cwsedlak
She has a well-flavored take on her home country, making this an enjoyable and comprehensive book. There is more than paprika spicing up Hungarian people… provides the personality of the modern Hungarian. I looked for a comparable book and found none. This is the best introduction to Hungarian culture and etiquette on the market. To know a country, you must know the people. The sites and history don’t cut it. There’s the sociology, ideas and customs. Zsuzsanna Ardó provides us with everything from language pointers to how to do business, to core values. The pulse of real living and how you can fit in is superbly introduced.
— A. Trendl
My grandmother was a Hungarian refugee from WW 2, making me one-quarter Hungarian. When it came time for me to do a report on a European country, I chose Hungary without hesitation, and chose this book for most of my research. With her complicated and rich writing, Zsuzsanna Ardó makes this no boring book, but a quenching read for someone who has a thirst to learn. Now I know more about my heritage, and didn’t have a hard or boring time learning about it! Oh yes, this is not only the book for one who wants to go to Hungary, (which I haven’t and plan to), but also the book for one who desires to learn about this interesting culture. If you are planning to learn about or travel to Hungary, this is a necessary book. Thank you, Zsuzsanna Ardó, for this contribution.
— 13-year-old Magyar and Hungarian musician, Zoë
Culture Shock: Hungary is a wonderful book, filled with great information. I’m very pleased with it. I have been to Hungary four times since early 1999, and this book hits the target on everything that I heard of and saw, while I was there. I am now planning a trip back there in late May or early June, I am so excited to have learned even more important information from this great book. Thank you, Zsuzsanna Ardó, for such an informative book.
— Peacheskov (Tewksbury, Ma. USA)
As a Hungarian I have bought this book for my English boyfriend as a manual to me. It has proven to be so successful that I have now given copies of this book to other members of his family and his friends. This book manages to be funny and true at the same time and offers an insight into the Hungarian soul and way of thinking. It explains traditions, (mis)beliefs and their origins and is liberally sprinkled with examples of Hungarian poems and common proverbs. It is a guidebook to the psyche of a nation. I warmly recommend it to anyone with a Hungarian connection and to all of you who are yet to discover the fascinating culture of this nation.
— AR
What she does particularly well is to get across the Hungarian mentality. She explains how Hungary’s position in Europe, surrounded by other countries, and with constantly changing borders and nationalities has created the Hungarian psyche.
— S Rich
…witty and informative. Most travel guides are dull affairs that avoid culture, politics and the awkward features of national history. Not so with this book. The author provides a fascinating account of Hungary.
— Dr T Sinclair