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Culture Code

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,561 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Why are people around the world so very different? What makes us live, buy, even love as we do? The answers are in the codes.
In "The Culture Code," internationally revered cultural anthropologist and marketing expert Clotaire Rapaille reveals for the first time the techniques he has used to improve profitability and practices for dozens of Fortune 100 companies. His groun
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 6th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Largely absurd and often borderline evil, this is the tale of one incredibly smart man stealing our memories in order to sell us things we don't need.

In one passage, Rapaille declares that since the moon reflects the light of the sun, and the French word for moon is feminine while the word for sun is masculine, the French consider men to be shining and brilliant and women a mere reflection of that. Nevermind that the French language was invented before knowledge of the moon's reflective propert
Ala Nasser
This is by far one of the most fascinating books I've read in quite a while, started out strong made me go WOW while I was reading the introduction. Actually I've already read it last year but I didn't finish it. So I decided that I would start reading it all over again this year and yeah I did. FEELING ACCOMPLISHED :D.
Anyway. First off, the most parts was about American culture so I don't know I found it weird and funny in some points I mean some of his codes doesn't make sense to me and the r
This intriguing book by Clotaire Rapaille posits an interesting premise; that very often we prefer or purchase things for reasons not apparent to our rational minds. OK, actually we all kind of know that, but his analysis and findings are revealing. His background as a psychoanalyst in Paris working with autistic children turned out to be a goldmine when he developed a clientele of Fortune 500 companies. His skills were ideal for getting past the answers from the conscious mind ("alibis", which ...more
Uwe Hook
This is one of the more fascinating books I've read in quite a while. The author claims that subconscious links created socially" and nationally dictate the meanings of various things. For example, French people form an early Association with alcohol which links drinking with a social family atmosphere, because French children are often given a small amount of wine to drink by their parents at an early age. Americans on the other hand, are not allowed to drink until age 21, and therefore the ass ...more
This book is brilliantly evil. The author, in real life, found ways to sell chocolate to the kids in Japan when kids didn't even like chocolate. He seeks to reveal the code of what different culture really think about when they are presented with an idea. He covers presidents, sex, cars, etc. The logic isn't compelling but the results are stunning.
Vinod Peris
I have recently read a couple of books that attempt to explain macro phenomenon by looking through the lens of the culture of its people. "Boomerang" by Michael Lewis explains the financial crisis that is unfolding in many European countries and ties it to the cultural traits of their inhabitants. Rapaille on the other hand has written an entire book on interpreting the code for American culture and he brings this out by contrasting it with the culture of other countries, most notably France, wh ...more
Rapaille argues that America, and by extension, our culture is an adolescent nation. Not only in age, but also in the things we love - fast food, blue jeans, loud and violent movies, Coca Cola, Nike, etc. The author argues that it also explains our fascination with celebrities and the adolscent mistakes they always seem to be making. America is a nation of extremes - rich vs. poor, liberal vs. conservative, etc. Just like adolescents, we're either high or low; there is no middle ground.

After th
sampath krishna
The Culture Code started out as a very promising read with a very interesting concept. However, it did not build on the good start. It purports to enlighten why people around the world live and buy as they do. Sadly, it focuses only on why Americans live and buy as they do, while using Europe (read France) mainly for comparison. As a non-american, I found this focus on America rather limiting and dissatisfying. I would have expected some more case studies from other countries from different cont ...more
This book explores the idea that different cultures (he fixates almost exclusively on American culture) have different internal meanings for certain concepts, and that in order to successfully understand a culture (and market products to them, for example) you have to understand the codes for the different concepts. Many of these I agree with, but there are a few that don't make sense to me (personally, though I can accept his explanation). He came to these conclusions after long periods with fo ...more
This is a super cool book!! Perhaps the writing isn't amazing, but the CONCEPT is fascinating. And it's not very long. And it is interesting to read. I will be thinking about some of the stuff for the rest of my life.

Especially interesting for anyone interested in marketing or advertising. But really interesting just to analyze your own motives and throught processes as well.

I want to own this one just to remember the codes - or maybe I'll just write them all down before I take it back to the l
The Dirty Sanchez
Wow, ok, this guy is obviously French, and a total cultural chauvinist! I realize he was naturalized as an American citizen nearly 3 decades ago, but his hedonistic European viewpoints are really hard to swallow. Maybe in his little world he's a genius, and I'm not saying for one minute that he's not a well-articulated professional in this field, but criticizing the people of this nation by repeatedly calling us "culturally immature" is completely uncalled for and offensive. He should really sti ...more
Oscar Romero
I loved this book! I am sure you'll love it too...if you are open to some self-criticism and self-analysis. After all, he is telling us why we do the sometimes funky things we do, like eating! It is very interesting to read how he describes each culture and finds a tag for it--which he then will say is on or out of Code with that specific culture, and why. I guess he must be right--thus his continued work with many multinational enterprises.

First time I ever see/read an explanation (to which I d
I enjoyed this book more towards the end than I did in the beginning. This is a book about consumer psychology and it's pretty interesting -if you can get past the uncomfortable racism and classism in the beginning of the book. I especially enjoyed reading about how people in different cultures interpreted each other's 'culture codes'. The book is pretty American-centric, I would have liked to read a little bit more about other cultures and successful and unsuccessful advertising campaigns. I al ...more
The book concerns certain "codes" that are embedded in our brains. One or a few words can describe situations that might otherwise take paragraphs or pages to describe. For example, nurse = "mother;" coffee = "smell;" beauty = "mask." The book makes a compelling argument that these codes are cultural and may mean different things to different cultures or societies.

The book was very good. Its teachings can be applied in various professions, from marketeers to attorneys. I thought the narration wa
Kevin Eikenberry
Lots of people talk about cultural differences in terms of communication and cultural norms. This book takes that journey in a different direction. The author has spent 30 years trying to unravel how people in different cultures think about a variety of situations, words and ideas.

The Culture CodeThis book describes his process and tells many great stories about how cultures feel and think about certain things. His process allows him to boil down how a culture feels about a concept to a single w
Tennessee O'Donnell
I really found this extremely interesting and very thought provoking! quite the conversation topic among my friends...
It was initially hard to take Rapaille's codes with a grain of salt. And after he mentioned helping a company make their foods more addictive, I found his siting depression as the primary (or at least only mentionable) cause of obesity to be slightly deceptive. There was no concrete data presented, only generalizations and the conclusion the he apparently drew, along with soundbites from people he'd queried. He did point out that these conclusions, "codes," represented the group not the individu ...more
I wanted to like this book. It was very promising. Breaking the culture code and understand culture? YES! But there isn't much follow-through. It's interesting and presented in a very Malcolm Gladwell and breakthrough sciency-way at points, but it's just surface-bearing. It's overall quite forgetful. Well, that's what I remember about it at least :P
I wanted to look at it again to make sure I didn't miss anything, but I think I already donated it because looking at it pissed me off for having was
Justin Hill
Very interesting. I'm still a little bothered by the section about Nestle realizing coffee had no cultural significance for the Japanese, so they introduced a bunch of coffee-flavored treats for kids to get the next generation to find coffee meaningful. Weaselly marketers. Good thing I never fall for things like that. Right?

I enjoyed the last section on how Americans and Europeans see each other and themselves.

Even if you don't agree with his codes, it makes you think about what things like wei
A fun read. Since this was written at least five or six years ago, it seems that some of the things described may have changed.. maybe. Many of the sentiments described did not relate, but it's possible that NYC and the Bay Area are different subcultures from the author's suggested culture code for America.

That said, am still debating if "Adolescent" truly captures/describes America/Americans, as the author is still very focused on the the Old World (England, France, and Germany) vs. the New Wor
Sep 20, 2012 Abbe added it
Shelves: in-library
From Publishers Weekly

French-born marketing consultant and psychoanalyst Rapaille takes a truism—different cultures are, well, different—and expands it by explaining how a nation's history and cultural myths are psychological templates to which its citizens respond unconsciously. Fair enough, but after that, it's all downhill. Rapaille intends his theory of culture codes to help us understand "why people do what they do," but the "fundamental archetypes" he offers are just trumped-up stereotyp

Andrew Lasher
This book examines what makes people people, and then shows how the author tries to use this knowledge in order to sell us things. What the author is trying hardest to sell is himself, and for me he wound up way short.

Just because some things seem logical doesn't mean that they are, and Rapaille tries to get us to believe in him without giving us any reason to. The book is filled with more self aggrandizement than I thought could possibly exist.

Rapaille feels that he is so in love with himself t
Rajesh Israni
""The Culture Code" by, "Clotaire Rapaille" examines how different cultures view products, events, and concepts.

"Clotaire Rapialle" is a cultural anthropologist who has performed studies of the cultures of several countries as an aid to market research of some of America's leading companies. He has discovered striking differences in attitudes, beliefs and cultural associations in residents of the United States and other countries.

Synopsis: It's a fast read and full of interesting informat
Elena (Gone Bookserk)
A Gone Bookserk Perspective

Coltaire Rapaille, an anthropologist and a marketing specialist, reveals the world-wide phenomena of how culture influences the decisions we make - what we buy and why we live the way we do. By culture, he means specifically the culture codes. It is these very culture codes that influence every aspect of our daily actions and decisions, and more importantly often on a subconscious level. What Rapaille attempts to do is create an understanding on how these culture code
Nov 19, 2008 Allen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nerds
Truly fascinating on a variety of levels.
Clotaire Rapaille is a psychologist who started his career working with autistic children and studying the process of learning. He applied his heavily Jungian theories to marketing and has become a guru figure to many fortune 100 CEO's. He spends a lot of time making some very fascinating points about human nature as he explains the psychological disconnect of why anyone would buy an off-road vehicle with no intention of ever going off road.

On another lev
Tofig Husein-Zadeh
This is a must have book for every marketer, anthropologist, diplomat, entrepreneur and journalist. The author comprehensively explains some of the reasons why people around the world behave and buy in a certain way. I have read it in Turkish, after few years in Russian and then in English for reference in my research. The English version of the book that I have is full of bookmarks of various colours and underlined sentences. I often go back and look inside for concrete know-how.
I think if this had just been an article, I would have adored it. This is an interesting concept and I agreed with a lot of what he wrote. However, after a while the book becomes very repetitive just using example after example of how the code works. Rather than all of the examples, I would have liked to hear more about how the culture code can change depending upon which part of the country you're from - or what needs to happen in society for a culture code to change.
Guidebook to deciphering cultural codes

The core idea of this pleasant, accessible book is easy to grasp: Culturally specific codes shape people’s understandings, behaviors and emotional responses. French-born psychoanalyst and marketing maven Clotaire Rapaille brings a useful perspective shaped by his experiences as a U.S. immigrant to his discussion of what he calls “Culture Codes.” His methods for tapping into these codes are straightforward. However, some of his conclusions lead to fairly sw
Nurkastelia A.
Aug 23, 2008 Nurkastelia A. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in global marketing
Recommended to Nurkastelia by: Charlie Kouns
So. my first reaction reading the introduction to this book was, 'goddammit, this guy's right!!'

but then... gradually, i started to think, 'can we really simplify an equation as complicated as culture into a single formula?' because culture's ever changing. it's cyclic, according to what i heard during my brief time of listening throughout high school.

so, when monsieur rapaille stated that the code for perfection equals death, the code for money is proof, violence for sex, and love equals false
Although a very interesting book in many ways, I also consider it to be quite dangerous. People need to remember that 'brands' were also used on slaves and livestock. This comment should shake you out of any complacent tendency towards accepting stereotypes at face value.

Within any culture there may be predominant 'assumptions' but there are also likely to be other versions. While the purpose of this book is clearly a review of a career working for those who would dominate the market place, the
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Dr. Gilbert Clotaire Rapaille is a French-born American cultural anthropologist and author. He is the author of the best seller The Culture Code, and more than 10 other books, including 7 Secrets of Marketing in a Multi-Cultural World. Rapaille is also the CEO and Founder of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide, located in Palm Beach, Florida.
More about G. Clotaire Rapaille...

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“At the unconscious level, Americans believe that good people succeed, that success is bestowed upon you by God. Your success demonstrates that God loves you.” 7 likes
“Emotions are the keys to learning, the keys to imprinting. The stronger the emotion, the more clearly the experience is learned.” 4 likes
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