Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires:

Your Guide to Business Culture in the Middle East and North Africa

Have you ever considered working or doing business in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and decided that the cultural differences made it all too difficult? ​

If so, THIS is for you. Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires:

• Provides a compelling rationale for why companies should consider the MENA as a potential market
• Demystifies the cultures of the Middle East & North Africa
• Highlights essential information about the commercial environments of the MENA countries
• Takes you through the process of how to do business there, step-by-step
• Sets out strategies for dealing with social and professional situations


Very insightful read with interesting anecdotes! Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in business culture in the MENA region.


A fantastic introduction to doing business in the MENA region. Perfect length to finish it on a long haul flight to the region, very easy to read and comprehend. I highly recommend that anyone doing business in the MENA have this book in their suitcase or bookshelf.

Nick Chambers

Extremely insightful and well written that makes easy to understand. with upcoming business dealings expected in MENA this will be valuable “starter” information to know what to expect when I get there. The information regarding what to expect in terms of business meetings and differences in importance of time have already changed my expectations and strategy for my business.

The background on Muslim religion and the Arab culture is invaluable and the tips regarding relationship building I hope will be useful. I would definitely recommend this book for anybody new to or considering doing business with MENA whether selling to or buying from the region.

Scott Hordern

“Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires” has become a ‘must-have travel companion’ in-region – an easy reference guide, set against the broader-but-never uniform backdrop of international markets most of us aspire to engage with.

We are a NSW-based company driving an emerging markets High Value Manufacturing initiative that has significant international inputs and outputs, including a growing focus on MENA. However much ‘homework’ might be done as regular market preparation, there’s a better way than just learning by doing in markets so rich in culture and customs. Highly recommended!

Richard Jefferies

Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires is very accurate and insightful. It definitely resonates as it aligns to my own views and experiences. Australia will miss a wonderful opportunity if we only look to Asia for our future and don’t also look to the Middle East.

Julie Elliott

Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires offers an open door to a culture that seems mysterious and slightly dangerous to many on the outside.

The book is full of insights and tips and tricks on how to do business as well as helping in demystifying common misconceptions.

The book provides an overview of the region, before moving on to making a compelling case for why every business should consider the region in their international expansion strategy.

It exemplifies how to deal with challenges and risks that are generally found in most of the countries of the region, before going into more detail with each county and its specifics.

Having established the hard facts of the region the book then deep dives into what the region is actually like, seen from a outsiders perspective. Explaining in plain language the regions culture, its values and belief systems, its language(s), religion, allowed and forbidden practices (Halal vs. Haraam), clothing norms and other interesting facts, before taking it all into the context of business.

Being a foreign trade consultant myself, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cynthia’s book. Being an outsider is never easy, and sometimes obstacles can seem impossible. Being an insider myself, although for a different market (China), I realised that although there are many differences, there are also many similarities, and that it is most definitely possible.

Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires shows you that its possible, and it gives you those first critical step towards your own road map to success in the middle East.

Well worth a read!

Carsten Primdal

I finished reading ‘Camels, Sheiks and Billionaires’ a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to send you a note to compliment you on such a clearly written and readable book.

While I don’t anticipate embarking upon business ventures in the MENA region, or indeed, travelling to the region in the near future, I enjoyed getting some current insights into the social geography and culture of the region.

I particularly found your explanation of the differences between Sunni and Shia very useful for current affairs observers, even if some of them seem to be of as much consequence as some of the separations between Christian religions.

I’m sure your concisely structured text and first hand examples will provide a ready reference handbook for those embarking on business ventures or first time travel to the region. Beyond that, if it helps other readers to a deeper understanding of and respect for the peoples of the region and their culture, it will have served a very valuable purpose in present day Australia.

Brian Gilligan

I was blown away reading your take on life in the MENA region. Having lived in the ME for 20 years I found your book relevant and interesting and am sure a useful insight to people wanting to do business in that region.

Petra Harmer-Shrowder

Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires was easy and enjoyable to read, and informative for anyone with a personal or business interest in the MENA region. It would be a valuable resource for companies wanting to do business in those countries – giving tips on which areas might be best suited to investigate, and ways to avoid cultural misunderstandings. I loved the personal anecdotes and the statistics and was impressed with the depth and width of topics covered.

Annie Regan

I could not put it down! A fascinating insight to a part of the world where for good or bad we often observe and judge people through ethnic stereotypes.

John Carmichael

Camels, Sheikhs & Billionaires” is a great tool for anyone wanting to do business in the Middle East

Dr Andrew Walker

A comprehensive must-read for anyone thinking about or doing business in the MENA, or with a general interest in the region. Very readable and covers everything from market overviews to cultural etiquette.

Niels Strazdins

smooth, informative and comprehensive picture of the Middle East

Asma Nafa

A very good read for those thinking of doing business in the Middle East.

Zil Yassine

Through her experience as a diplomat and business consultant no one knows the Middle East like Cynthia. A practical down-to-earth guide on modern business practices from Mecca to Muscat.

Tim Harcourt

This informative, accessible and entertaining book is a must-have for anyone planning to do business in the MENA region. The book handily answers hot topics – such as how women should dress, and consumption of alcohol – country by country. Dearin’s years of experience are a strength, and she has also done plenty of research, offering key statistics on economies and growth. The business talk is balanced by her personal anecdotes of when things went well, and not so well. It’s an eye-opening read, revealing the breadth of cultures in this ancient part of the world.

Fiona Regan

Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires is a great resource and should be mandatory reading for anyone considering doing business in MENA.

Murray Hyde

Insightful and entertaining. So many stories, thanks for sharing.


An informative and engaging account of business culture in the Middle East and North Africa.

Jemima Riley