Thursday, October 4, 2012

ReView of 'The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do' by Coltaire Rapaille

NonFiction/Sociology/Economics; 224pgs
Crown Business Publishing.

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 codes work.  He emphasizes, re-emphasizes, and concludes that if we are able to understand and 'crack the codes' we will be able to understand our actions, and more crucially, why.  When that happens we have complete "freedom over our lives."

I decided to read this book as part of a book club that I belong to, and oh, I read this one on my nook as you can see.  I came across it by searching nonfiction bestsellers.  Frankly, when I saw that it was written by an anthropologist I was instantly biased towards it since I, myself, finished one of my degrees in Anthropology. I had a lot of fun reading this book.  I came across so much information I didn't even know.  I was especially impressed how Coltaire Rapaille has worked for all the who's who of major companies around the world.

An easy and worth-while read filled with enough stories to shift your perspective on what you think you see advertised and for what reason it is, in fact, advertised.  He describes the American codes, for pretty much everything you can think of: cars, toilet paper, love, seduction, beauty, health/wellness, youth, work, money, quality, perfection, shopping, and America, of course.

The main theme of the book is to uncover the hidden messages behind some of the most influencial parts of our culture that subconsciously pushes us towards certain decisions and actions versus others.   The culture code is described in the book as the "unconscious meaning we apply to any given thing - via a culture in which we are raised." 'In which we are raised,' is actually a really important aspect of this. He mentions that if we try to apply other culture codes to our own, those culture codes (ie. messages) may not even make sense to us, we may not understand them, and we might not even respond to them like we should.  Each culture has their own independent, individual codes.

I wonder what you all who have read it have to say about it.  Give me your feedback.  Beside the main message, I believe the book has broader implications.  I wondered while I was reading it how influential this book was to the Obama election, as Rapaille mentions that America is a adolescent culture which often celebrates rebelliousness and strives for change.  I wonder if, when America was at its most adolescent time, Obama's campaign administration took advantage of that and preyed on our subconscious link to this culture code to bring about change, as change was the crucial word of the campaign.

Overall, the book sends a message.  Liberate yourself through knowledge of the subconscious messages that have been enculturated within us all of our lives. Rapaille says, "there is remarkable freedom gained in understanding why you act the way you do."  This freedom will affect every part of your life.

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