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The Author Clotaire Rapaille being a marketing specialist and Masters of Psychology

in his book The Cultural Code talks about how different people think and how they
inpact our decision making beyond our logic. The books talks about presuppositions
and create fresh perspective on the decision making. His main argument is that
emotions strongly influence the decision making, over and above the logic of our
mind. We might do or say whatever we like but the influence is stated by the
emotional influences scripted upon us since we were kids. This emotional influences
results in cultural emotions or what the author terms as Cultural Code which
influences our decision making and it has strong implications in all the walk of life
and major in the area of marketing and politics .

Chapter 1: The Birth of a Notion

This chapter talks about 5 principles

You cant believe what people say

Emotion is the energy required to learn anything
The structure, not the content is the message
There is a window in time for imprinting and the meaning of imprint varies
from culture to culture.
5. To access the meaning of the imprints within a particular culture one must
learn the code for that imprint
In these principles the author tries to say that by the age of 7 our lives are being
imprinted with the codes and we respond to people keeping those codes as base.
For example, In France, one might enjoy the taste of wine where as American
associates it might mean drunkenness.

Chapter 2: Growing pains of the Adolescent Culture

The Codes of love, seduction and sex
In this chapter the author stresses on how Americans have never moved beyond an adolescent stage for example
fast food, celebrities, dance etc. and they reward eternal adolescents i.e. Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson etc. There are
some codes that this chapter talks about

Code for love


USA: False Expectations

French: Pleasure

Japanese: Functional

Code for seduction


USA: Manipulation (Eg. LOreal lipstick advertisement made women feel confident about
themselves rather than being seductive)

Chapter 3: Living on the Axis

The Codes of Beauty and Fat
In different cultures beauty can act between provocativeness and beauty. For USA the code of beauty is Mans
Salvation, which means that it can change the inherent nature of man
In todays world we can see that thin people are fit in while fat people are often ignored. Code for Fat in USA is
Checking Out, In England it is coded as Vulgar.

Chapter 4: First comes Survival

The Codes for Health and Youth
In USA the code for health is Movement, it makes us alive and healthy. For Chinese its coded as Harmony with
Nature and for Japanese it is an Obligation.
In USA, doctors are coded as Hero, nurse as Mother, Hospital as Processing Plant.
The code for Youth in USA is Youth. For example botox, hair dye, plastic surgery etc are the marketed to the
consumers to mask their youth.

Chapter 5: Moving Beyond Biological Schemes

The Code for Home and Dinner
In the USA, Home is coded as prefic RE promoting the concept of Return, Reconfirm, Reunite and Reconnect. Dinner
is coded as Essential Circle as it completes the circle of ones day and food is always placed at the center of table for
a family where in everyone is gathered to Reconnect. In contrary Japan family meals as considered to be a foreign
concept and for Chinese dinner is all about the food and for England its more of a formal experience

Chapter 6: Working for Living

The Codes for Work and Money
In the USA code for work is Who You Are, that is people search for meaning in their work. They feel if their work feels
meaningless they will feel the same. This is the reason for Americans to celebrate highly successful business people.
For the employees beside money what is more important to them is higher responsibility which they consider to be
sense of identity.
The Americans code money as Proof, they rely upon money to show how good they are, more money means more
value to the world. They consider money to be barometer of their success.

Chapter 7: Learning to Live with It

The Codes for Quality and Perfection
Americans code quality as It Works and perfection as Death. They feel perfection is something which is unattainable
and if it is attained then there is nothing else. This is the biggest reason why Americans fail to achieve the quality
level of Japanese and Europeans

Chapter 8: More is more

The Codes for Food and Alcohol
In USA food is coded as Fuel, for example Americans tend to use the statement Im Full .For French food is
pleasure whereas for Japanese food is the way to perfection thats why Japanese sell quantity before quality.
Alcohol in the USA is coded as Gun on the other hand French code it as Enhancing Taste. The American teenager
are gripped by alcohol as it is associated with hazard.

Chapter 9: Just Put that Alibi on the Gold Card

The Codes for shopping and luxury
The USA code shopping as Reconnecting with life in contrast French code it as Learning your Culture. Here lies the
difference for one it is an experience but for the other it is a task .
Luxury is coded as Military Stripes in the USA which is evident that different level will get you different recognition.

Chapter 10: Who do these Upstarts think of themself?

The Codes for America in other cultures
The code for America is different in different country. In France it is Space Travelers, in Germany it is John Wayne, In
British it is Unashamedly Abundant.
France code itself as Idea as they value ideas and refinement of the same in mind. England code themselves as
Class and German code itself as Order.
.For example: When Jeep Wrangler pitched its new idea it did it differently in different country. In France it pitched as
a unique styling, upscale nature of the jeep in England and liberator in Germany.

Chapter 11: Parting of the Red Sea Optional

The Code for American Presidency
In USA the American Presidency is coded as Moses which is rebellious leader with a strong vision. The Canadian
code it as To Keep thats the reason they vote for the guardians and the French are likely to choose leader with new

Chapter 12: Never Growing Up and Never Giving Up

The Code for America
The American code themselves as Dream as it helps them to codify which helps them to keep their culture vibrant.
Americans are very optimistic about everything and they tend to follow what they want and they believe in their
The Book provides us with very interesting insights, memories and success/failure stories in the context of America.
It offers an approach with a dangerous flip side. If you solely follow some of those codes for American culture, for
example, you risk making decisions based on stereotypes and generalizations. It might work for marketing but itd
better be combined with more theoretical knowledge and serious cultural studies