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The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  18,154 ratings  ·  1,535 reviews
An essential book that unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides readers with a toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative culture, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Bantam (first published September 5th 2017)
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Michael F Labun I loved the book. I was also involved in co-authoring a book on a similar topic called The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People li…moreI loved the book. I was also involved in co-authoring a book on a similar topic called The Culture Question: How to Create a Workplace Where People like to work. I'd love to talk to people about their take-aways from The Culture Code(less)
Lisa Try the Libby App. It's developed for public libraries to make their ebooks and audio books accessible to the public. It's the same as borrowing from …moreTry the Libby App. It's developed for public libraries to make their ebooks and audio books accessible to the public. It's the same as borrowing from your local library but it's digital. (less)

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Tharindu Dissanayake
"Why do certain groups add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, while others add up to be less?"
"We presume skilled individuals will combine to produce skilled performance"

We instinctively know the importance of effective team work, and that teams with good chemistry perform better, and we are usually bombarded with many methods on successful team-building programs in our work places. None of this is new to most of us. But, The Culture Code analyses the operating mechanism behind a succ
Carol (Bookaria)
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
This is a nonfiction book that explores how groups succeed achieving their goals. 

It describes the characteristics of successful groups in different fields including sports teams and corporate environments. I learned new insights on what makes people genuinely engage in organizational goals. 

I recommend the book to anybody in management positions or people that have to work in groups or teams. 
Justin Tate
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Since the workplace went all virtual, we've become focused on creating an amazing culture in an online/from home environment. A group of us chose to read this book to gather ideas. Overall, it was a success. Although all the examples are from in-person work environments, broad lessons can be learned from the many high-profile organizations Coyle found during his research. This includes military, creative, hospitality and just about everything in between.

Each chapter is a case study into how grea
Aimee (Book It Forward)
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is phenomenal! Who knew that reading a book about groups of people would be so interesting?? From chapter one I was immediately hooked. I learned so much and found myself engrossed in the stories about how the Navy Seals became such an incredible group, how PIXAR has churned out so many of my favorite movies and about how for one Christmas during wartime both sides called a truce and stopped fighting. This is just the tip of the iceberg too. There are a ton of stories about business le ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have to admit I'm a little surprised at the glowing reviews. It was only 300 pages but it seemed so much longer - could have easily been half the length and gotten the points across. In these 304 pages, I find it hard to believe that the author was unable to interview more than a single woman in a leadership role (oh, actually, there was a second woman mentioned for a paragraph - she was a waitress at one of Danny Meyer's restaurants in NYC). What follows is chapters and chapters of advice fro ...more
Jenn "JR"
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this as an ARC from NetGalley - and devoured it!

I'm fascinated by the subjects of leadership and teams these days, mostly because I have experienced great team leadership in the past but too infrequently. After enjoying "Turn This Ship Around" -- this seemed like a great follow-on.

In the first chapter, the author describes an experiment in teamwork and collaboration -- conducted between two different groups: kindergarteners and college students. The goal was
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Little practical insight beyond what's obvious. I'm surprised by high ratings here. ...more
My boss recommend this book. I keep thinking it's called the Code Culture, but no, it's not about coding groups. Instead it outlines some key attributes that make for strong teamwork. The book is filled with examples from many types of teams (sports, military, business). For those who will never read the book, the 3 big takeaways:
1. Build a safe environment. Everyone must feel a sense of belonging and safe to participate. This gets at some basic anthropological in-group vs. out-group dynamics. T
Michael Burnam-Fink
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
The Culture Code has a provocative premise, watered down by undue hero worship and a commitment to mediocre neoliberalism.

The basic idea is that real work, real innovative, value-added work, is done by dedicated people who are emotionally invested, who are together in this effort, who are vulnerable and unconcerned with social status games. This emotional bond is something that can be tracked in how team-members interact with one another, even in total ignorance of the content of their communica
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really engaging, inspiring, and helpful book about the often subtle or misunderstood behaviors that make a team successful. There were so many great stories that Coyle has surfaced here! Some of my favorites:

An experiment was run where entrepreneurs presented ideas to a group of angel investors. Tracking just the social cues exchanged by presenter and audience predicted the rankings by the investors with nearly perfect accuracy. So the content of pitch didn’t matter as much as the set
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting stories and pretty useful advice. Some of the same successes touted by all the business books (Pixar, Google, SEALS), but some new ones too (Daniel Meyers restaurants and pilots). It's fairly obvious that we need belonging cues, but I think sometimes we forget that even in board rooms and business settings, we are still primates who would die for friends and kill enemies. ...more
Tara Brabazon
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magnificent. Just magnificent.

I have worked in universities for thirty years. I have seen the antipodal point to successful, collaborative and kind groups. Jealousy, ruthlessness, nastiness and cruelty have been attendent to toxic working cultures.

This book confirms how astonishingly straight forward it is to build a successful group. Honest and authentic leadership is required, that listens and serves rather than talks and orders. But most importantly, this book shows the importance of safety.
Joshua Clifford
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a really great introduction to creating successful group dynamics. If you are new to the world of peer leadership and fostering inclusive working environments, or if you just need a refresher, this is the book for you. If you are looking for something a bit deeper I may skip to something else! Overall a quick read with some hi-lightable moments.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the best business and psychology books I've ever read. Yes, it's full of old ideas and talked about topics, yet it is urgent and relevant as ever, nonetheless.

Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Coyle does a great job with this book. Everyone from normal people living their daily lives like me to management and Jeff Bezos can find something useful in this book. In fact, Mr. Bezos would probably outline many of the steps and advice in this book as to how he built Amazon to the successful empire that it is today and still growing.

As I was reading this book I could see practical ways that my employer could apply these principles better; especially in meetings and coming together for a
Laura Skladzinski
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best business / behavioral psychology books I've read in a long time! The examples were incredibly engaging, and drew from a variety of industries to make their points. As I read, I kept getting new ideas for things I could change on my own team to improve results. Highly recommend this book to anyone who leads a team! ...more
Jay Hennessey
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely LOVED this book! Dan Coyle does an amazing job of showing the converging validity of behaviors of the Highest Performing organizations.

Organized broadly as psychological safety, vulnerability, and purpose (communication and alignment), it was fascinating to see how leaders and organizations made this happen, across a wide spectrum of organizations.

I was intrigued by the variety of ways that organizations and leaders create safety and trust - in general, it was by social interactions,
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, nonfiction
Why do some teams and organizations excel while others simply aren't as creative/effective/lasting? It isn't skills or intelligence, but the environment in which they work. Coyle conveys the research and shining examples of how creating a sense of true belonging, allowing for vulnerability, conveying a clear purpose, and more, creates the right space. Yes in a sense these things are old news, but Coyle gets into the specifics of what each means, with concrete actions leaders can take to recreate ...more
Cara Putman
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an incredibly readable and story packed key to creating cultures that work. As a professor at a business school, I already have a list of classes that I will recommend this book to for personal study. It is jammed with examples of what works (and on occasion what does not) to create a culture where people feel committed and safe contributing. Tips are woven in with the stories, but the author also has a summary chapter after each of the three key areas that he uses to give a litany ...more
Erik Reagan
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
There are some great nuggets in this book. Like with many books in the business genre, these nuggets of wisdom are buried within story after story that put the wisdom into practical terms. I can appreciate that as a learner, but the quantity of stories seemed a bit excessive to me. Thankfully they were all interesting. :)

My main gripe with the book overall is simply its length. I could have learned just as much with half the stories.

The final chapter really brought things home well. I’m glad I r
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
There's a type of books that start with an idea and then go through many stories applying confirmation and attribution bias to explain how this simple idea was crucial to the success or failure present in these stories. Well this is one of these books.

Edit: Now that a few weeks have been gone by, I don't remember shit any more. Another common attribute of such books. Should you even enjoy a warm and fuzzy feeling when reading, it's all gone soon after.
The Culture Code deciphers the secrets of highly successful groups like SEALS, Team Six, IDEO, San Antonio Spurs, Pixar, etc.
Daniel Coyle presents the argument that to achieve such successful behaviour you have to work 3 different skills that complement each other and that together result in team performance at the highest level. The book, naturally, is organized in three main chapters in which the author explores one skill at a time, presenting his theory and giving lots and lots of real examp
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: selfhelp
I'm inclined to give this 3.5 stars.

One thing is I didn't realize that this author has written another book ("The Talent Code"), if I had known I would have checked that out first.

I suppose I should start with the criticisms first. It was entertaining enough, but for large sections I got the sense that it had many of the same platitudes as in any other "management book". It just felt a bit too fluffy and padded to a certain extent, without a lot of rigor.

I mean you could just go interview a bunc
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Do I belong?" "Are we safe?" "Do we have a future together?"

These aren't questions posed by early humans reaching out to build a community that will eventually trust and nurture its members. Answering "yes" to these questions indicates a high-performing team. Because teamwork is essentially about building a common micro-culture with ties that bind.

I haven't come across a business book that puts a lump in my throat. But this one did because it is full of stories that exude warmth, belonging, and
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of business books use examples that are not varied enough or only highlight one industry. The author does a terrific job choosing illustrative examples of great teams from an incredibly broad array of industries. The public sector is left out, unfortunately, but otherwise it's great. The concepts of safety, vulnerability, and purpose really resonated with me.

Overall, it's a very enjoyable read - never dry - and sticks to its core framework. Easy to understand. I would definitely recommend
Jeanie Phillips
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do you lead a team? Work with others? Belong to the human race? Then this book is for you. Coyle expertly spells out three skills that make groups more successful: building safety, sharing vulnerability, and establishing purpose. His suggestions and ideas seem common-sensical, yet so often we do the opposite and limit our collective potential. His examples and stories bring home the power of focusing on belonging, sharing weaknesses and failures, and clarifying intentions. I loved this book and ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fow
The worst of the self-help genre tropes - all anecdotes, not much data. A bunch of fun stories this dude finds interesting; felt like sitting around a campfire with someone's executive coach uncle. Very blah. ...more
Tom Cross
Nov 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Books like this really annoy me. It’s naive, simplistic and overlooks so many factors.
Daniel Rodic
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about the underlying factors that make strong cultures, and therefore strong teams. It’s very focused on the importance of creating micro events which drive three key messages in the group.

Building Safety
Sharing Vulnerability
Establish Purpose

* Individual skills don’t matter in group settings, it’s all about interacitons
* As we age we begin to engage in “status” management which is inefficient
* While we seem coordinated we’re asking ourselves questions like “Who’s in charge? Is
Ieva Gr
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: communication
Was it easy to read: Very much so. Swallowed it without almost noticing it - like a bag of chips.

What I liked about it: The fact that it puts focus on safety, vulnerability and belonging. I always thought these things are important for any human relationship and it was nice to see how much they matter when forming high performing teams. Also, I am currently working in quite a splendid team and it was nice to find explanations why the team is like that and how we got there.
Finally, in the book “M
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Daniel Coyle is the author of the upcoming book The Culture Code (January 2018). He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent, The Secret Race (with Tyler Hamilton), and other books. Winner (with Hamilton) of the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prize, he is a contributing editor for Outside magazine, and also works a special advisor to the Cle ...more

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“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.” 16 likes
“Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they’ll find a way to screw it up. Give a mediocre idea to a good team, and they’ll find a way to make it better. The goal needs to be to get the team right, get them moving in the right direction, and get them to see where they are making mistakes and where they are succeeding.” 15 likes
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