In his excellent book Brazil on the Rise, Larry Rohter says the jeito is one of the “basic organizing features of daily life in Brazil,” and defines it like this:
In its most literal sense, to have a jeito is to be adroit at something or to have an aptitude, knack, or talent…. but it’s usually used figuratively to describe the skill required to maneuver around the laws or social conventions that prevent you from achieving an objective.
Rohter brings it up early in his book (p. 34), and it’s clearly a concept you should be aware of if you’re doing business in Brazil (and we mean legitimate business). This is just one of the “features of daily life” that Rohter describes in his book, which serves as a quick and easy introduction to the most dynamic country in our hemisphere.
A good part of Brazil on the Rise deals with business and market issues and lots of politics but Rohter serves up great factoids and observations: did you know that the 2nd largest Japanese population in the world is in São Paulo, as is the 2nd largest concentration of people of Italian descent?
It’s a great start for someone who wants to begin to learn about Brazil — even though, as bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim once said: “Brazil is not for beginners.”