Book Review: Clotaire Rapaille, The Culture Code : An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do

Book Classification : Business - Economics - Social Sciences - Sociology - Cultural Anthroplogy - Psychology


Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
The Culture Code :
An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do

by Clotaire Rapaille
Hardcover - 224 pages
First Edition, 2006
Published by Broadway Books

ISBN 0767920562
ISBN-10: 0-7679-2056-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-7679-2056-8

Read a book excerpt

Book Review

Cultural anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille told Chrysler that the Jeep Wrangler wasn't selling well because of it's rectangular headlights. He advised the management that Jeep owners associate the vehicle with a horse, and everyone knows that a horse has round eyes. After the company replaced the headlights with round ones, sales took off. (I know that correlation isn't the same as causation, so you may decide for yourself.)

He told them that marketing the Jeep in Germany or France should exploit the memory of political liberation, but in the U.S. it's thought of as a horse. Use the tougher leather, and make the top removable. More like a horse. Of course.

Buy the book
Clotaire Rapaille ,
The Culture Code : An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do

Several nonfiction books in recent years have been offered to tell stories about successful business practices but actually convey something about psychology or sociology. I think of them as essays on human nature and the human condition, disguised as business books. The Culture Code by Dr. Rapaille is one of these.

About the Author

Dr. Clotaire Rapaille is the chairman of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide and has used this decoding approach for thirty years. He is the personal adviser to ten high-ranking CEOs and is kept on retainer by fifty Fortune 100 companies. He has been profiled in many national media outlets, including 60 Minutes II and on the front page of the New York Times Sunday Styles section. He lives in Tuxedo Park, New York. - From the Publisher


The author is frequently hired by large corporations to demystify aspects about human thinking and behavior. He has identified archetypal symbols for youth, health, success, and other cultural values. For example, a depiction of a mother is emblematic of love.

Hit me for this, but the most fascinating chapter is the one explicating the international differences in "the codes for love, seduction and sex." [Pages 29 et seq.] Although a British woman may apply her makeup evidently consistent with the fact that she's competing with male bonding, a French woman is more likely to expend an hour or more to make it appear that she isn't even trying. Contrast the Italian requirement that romance has to be fun and laughable with the mandatory uneasiness associated with courtship in societies that have arranged marriages.

Archetypes can be found throughout consumer behavior. Until we recognize them, marketing approaches may seem silly and inexplicable. I have occasionally thought it to be humorous that a jewelry company's advertisement will focus on the permanent joy symbolized by that engagement or wedding ring, and immediately thereafter point out that the item is also a great investment because of its resale value :-) Rapaille also discusses this one.

A book recommended for an audience interested in that little-explored region where where sociology and business intersect.

Book review by Mike Lepore for crimsonbird.com

Please click here to check the book price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Culture Code : An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do
by Clotaire Rapaille

Read a book excerpt

Book Description from the Publisher

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 groundbreaking revelations shed light not just on business but on the way every human being acts and lives around the world.

Rapaille's breakthrough notion is that we acquire a silent system of codes as we grow up within our culture. These codes -- the Culture Code -- are what make us American, or German, or French, and they invisibly shape how we behave in our personal lives, even when we are completely unaware of our motives. What's more, we can learn to crack the codes that guide our actions and achieve new understanding of why we do the things we do.

Rapaille has used the Culture Code to help Chrysler build the PT Cruiser -- the most successful American car launch in recent memory. He has used it to help Procter & Gamble design its advertising campaign for Folger's coffee -- one of the longest lasting and most successful campaigns in the annals of advertising. He has used it to help companies as diverse as GE, AT&T, Boeing, Honda, Kellogg, and L'Oréal improve their bottom line at home and overseas. And now, in The Culture Code, he uses it to reveal why Americans act distinctly like Americans, and what makes us different from the world around us.

In The Culture Code, Dr. Rapaille decodes two dozen of our most fundamental archetypes-ranging from sex to money to health to America itself-to give us "a new set of glasses" with which to view our actions and motivations. Why are we so often disillusioned by love? Why is fat a solution rather than a problem? Why do we reject the notion of perfection? Why is fast food in our lives to stay? The answers are in the Codes.

Understanding the Codes gives us unprecedented freedom over our lives. It lets us do business in dramatically new ways. And it finally explains why people around the world really are different, and reveals the hidden clues to understanding us all.

Book Reviews

"This book is just plain astonishing! Filled with profound insights and ideas that have enormous consequences for today's organizations. If you want to understand customers, Constituencies, and crowds, this book is required reading."

-- Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader

Please click here for current price and shipping information ...
This is an Amazon.com link for
The Culture Code : An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do
by Clotaire Rapaille

Next Page -- Read an Excerpt from the Book