"Dun & Bradstreet's Guide to Doing Business Around the World," by Terri Morrison, Wayne A. Conaway, and Joseph J. Douress. It's best for its comprehensive profiles of the top 40 trading partners of the United States. Each write-up includes five cultural tips, demographic data, and extensive ratings of the country's economy.
Coordinates: $24.95; Prentice Hall, 201-236-7000; http://www.phdirect.com
"ECA International's Location Ranking Survey" rates 200 cities on their "livability," factoring in everything from water pollution to whether you're likely to get kidnapped. It grades 204 cities on a scale from A to F, and suggests 5% increases to expat salaries for each drop in grade. (The survey is too expensive for individuals — get HR to make the purchase.)
Coordinates: #600; Paul Bailey at ECA International, London, 011-44-171-351-5000; firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Michigan's Human Resource Partnership offers one-day "global briefings" focusing on political, social, and economic trends in various regions: Brazil/Argentina/Mexico (May 19), ASEAN/India (July 18), and Eastern Europe (date to be determined).
Coordinates: Human Resource Partnership, 313-764-7581
Ernst & Young's Doing Business Around the World. It's hardly surprising that Ernst & Young is strong on tax information; its reports on 30 countries also include information on regulatory factors and the investment climate.
Coordinates: Doing Business Around the World; http://www.eyi.com/tdbaw.htm