This weeks resource recommendation is The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy the Way They Do By Clotaire Rapaille.
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.
This 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 word – what he calls the code word.
Through his process he describes many words and what Americans code words are. He explores things a broadly as home, sex, money, Jeep (done for a client) and many more.
As a facilitator, I would love to know more about his process. As a marketer I would love more examples outside of the U.S. While there are many words where he describes differences in the cultural code – cheese being one and the difference between the American and French code is fascinating – I wish there were more of this.
This book will likely challenge your thinking as the author is pretty upfront and you may not like some of his conclusions. Of course as a reader it is for you to decide what you think based on what you read. However, I believe to brush any of them off too lightly is to miss the point.
This isn’t a perfect book, the subtitle over promises a bit and the first half is better than the second. Even having said all that, this book made me think and gave me some new views into the world around me. Those two things make it easy for me to recommend it.