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The Culture Code

An Ingenious Way To Understand Why People Around The World Live And Buy As They Do
Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Business, Career Skills
4.5 out of 5 stars (345 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 Culture Codes invisibly shape how we behave in our personal lives, even when we are completely unaware of our motives. We can learn to crack these Codes and achieve new understanding of why we do the things we do. He has used the Culture Code to help Chrysler build the PT Cruiser: the most successful American car launch in recent memory; helped Procter & Gamble design its ad campaign for Folger's coffee, one of the longest-lasting and most successful campaigns in the annals of advertising; and he's helped GE, AT&T, Boeing, Honda, Kellogg, and L'Oreal improve their bottom line at home and abroad. And now, in this fascinating audiobook, he uses it to reveal why Americans act distinctly like Americans and what makes us different from the world around us.

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.

©2006 Clotaire Rapaille (P)2007 Gildan Media Corp

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mapping cultures

The Culture Code is a sweeping survey of historical culture types, marketing, sociology and modern cultural analysis. This is an excellent but wildly mislabeled book. It's audio introduction said something about self-improvement (which it relates to in a huge stretch). What it really is is a psychological view of 'the Other' in the sense of viewing other cultures, groups, and national populations.

Rapaille spends a little time reviewing his successful consulting career to large corporations looking to define themselves and their products. This explains his background and provides the data for his series of case studies in how the code was developed and used. He uses archetypes, psychology, and language differences to explain why Germans buy the same vehicles as the French and Americans but for vastly different reasons. Yes, this does lead to generalizations and overstatements, but they are arguable points with interesting tangents.

Listening to this book before listening to "Nudge" or "The Wisdom of Crowds" or after "Predictably Irrational" or "Microtrends" will amplify and clarify many of the general conclusions.

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth 6 Hours of your Time

Plenty of interesting observations here. I've worked for a Japanese-based company for 15 years, and the explanations/observations about this particular culture were spot-on (and, I'm sure my Japanese freinds would agree about the many more conclusions made about Americans).

One warning: the Narrator's reading style really bothered me. I've purchased 20+ Audiobooks, and have never really been bothered by a narrator to this degree before. I got through the book by setting my iPhone to "2x" speed. Before buying, listen to the excerpt and make your own conclusion.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DS
  • 08-14-13

EXPLAINS SOOO MUCH

For anyone who is interested in other cultures... or interacts with other cultures... or wonders why other cultures do what they do.... this book is for you. I've been interacting with French culture for over 30 years and I STILL learned things that explained reactions that I never understood before.

If that's not enough, it reinforced my intuitive understanding of American culture and explained aspects of our culture in ways I'd never thought of before.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book - poor narrator

This was a very interesting book. A quick, easy "read"... The most annoying aspect of the book was the robot like narration. Awful. Could've been a much more enjoyable experience had they selected a more upbeat narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Illuminating

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 was just "ok." Some other audible listeners were turned off by it; but it was not enough for me to have the substance of the book diminished because of the narration. I thought it was ok.

1 person found this helpful

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Conclusion was lacking

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The author has great insights

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

He builds up all these stories just to kind of condone America's actions.

What three words best describe Barrett Whitener???s performance?

Insightful
biased

Was The Culture Code worth the listening time?

yes. I'm not dismissing his writing I am saying he wasn't neutral, even though he started out really well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Dubious theories and unfounded science

A good fiction title and a nice "feel-good" reading but this book fails to satisfy the very basic rules of logic.

One can propose a generalization of a phenomenon based on unique observations and, depending upon which school of epistemology you belong to, either treat it as a hypothesis that must yet be proven, or adopt it as theory until it is proven wrong (i.e., falsified). But in either case, the existence of a counterexample will shatter the claim. If you are willing to read Rapaille's book from a critical thinking perspective, you will find a counterexample to his theories on almost every page.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very good insights to understand customers.

the narrator is a little dull but the content is powerful for any entrepreneur. this book is a must to understanding consumers.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Super interesting book

although the narrator is not very good or fluent the content of the book is really good.
it has very interesting discoveries in terms of cultural differences between countries in America, Europe and Asia.

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Good on understanding other people's beliefs.

Easy listening with good structure. Good book to learn how to view other cultures beliefs.

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  • hakim tamimi mariño
  • 01-16-20

condescending arrogant judgmental racist

the guys is discustingly raccist and arrogant full of him self and ignorantly judgmental prick

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • YAYO Familia Ltd
  • 06-28-18

Good for Americans

If you're American wanting the codes to help you market to Americans then this is for you

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Santiago
  • 10-17-17

Fascinating way to think about concepts in culture

This is a really interesting book. The discovery of archetypal representations of everyday products and concepts helps marketers connect with consumers.
It's centered on American culture, but also touches on France, Germany and the UK. These are places where the author has conducted work for different companies. So this audiobook will be especially interesting for Americans or those interested in understanding American culture.
It would have been interesting to include a discussion about how to research "culture codes" beyond those in this book, when one doesn't have the luxury of focus groups.

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  • Michael
  • 04-07-17

Great if you're from US

Great if you're from US. Insightful.

Needs to be written from a global marketing view

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  • Emmanuel
  • 08-13-18

Good read.

Amazing to hear such influential stories and the science behind each culture codes whilst also learning a bit of history.

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  • Karley Beadman
  • 05-14-16

For the curious mind

If you are studying marketing, as I am, you will find this book relevant and insightful.

I am intrigued now to find out the codes for Australia. It would prove rather difficult because our country is made up of so many cultures.