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

Conducting focus groups of three hours over a variety of topics, Rapaille listens not to what people are saying, but what they mean. Distilling responses, he uncovers what he calls the Code that is built into our society’s genetics. It’s what makes Americans eat fast & in bulk while the French linger for hours over dinner. It’s why Eskimos prefer chubby ladies while the rest of the world likes a slender lass. It’s why Americans put a man on the moon while France kvetched that they should have done it.
America’s code for:
* work: Who you are
* money: Proof
* food: Fuel
* love: False Expectation
* sex: Violence
* alcohol: Guns
* seduction: Manipulation
* being fat: Checking Out
* beauty: Man’s Salvation
* youth: Mask
* dinner: Essential Circle
The world:
* Germany: America is John Wayne, Germany is Order
* France: America is a Space Traveller, France is Idea
* England: America is Unabashedly Abundant, England is Class

Years ago, Tufts University invited me to lecture during a symposium on obesity…
Lecturer after lecturer offered solutions for America’s obesity problem, all of which revolved around education. Americans would be thinner if only they knew about good nutrition and the benefits of exercise, they told us. Slimming down the entire country was possible through an aggressive public awareness campaign…
When it was my turn to speak, I couldn’t help beginning with an observation. “I think it is fascinating that the other speakers today have suggested that education is the answer to our country’s obesity problem,” I said. I slowly gestured around the room. “If education is the answer, then why hasn’t it helped more of you?”
There were audible gasps in the auditorium when I said this, quite a few snickers, and five times as many sneers. Unsurprisingly, Tufts never invited me to lecture again.