by Mike R. Jay,
If you're curious, this book is the cat's meow!
It's a fast read and full of interesting information about
culture codes that have been discovered by Rapaille over time.
However, what I found almost as fascinating is Rapaille's
underlying agenda of explaining why he is an American and not a
While there is no "place" in the book that I can point you to
specifically that tells this underlying story, here's a quote
from Page 180:
"I was born in France, but like everyone else in the
world, I had no choice of homeland. From the time I was very
young, I knew that parts of the French culture failed to fit
me properly. The French are extremely critical, they are
pessimistic, they are jealous of what others have, and they
put little value on personal success. When I told people
there that I wanted to build a large business based on new
ideas, they sneered and called me a meglomaniac."
But the fun doesn't stop there...here he is
again speaking about the French people in the US who welcomed
him with open arms after stating that Mitterand froze his French
assets for wanting to leave France:
"They were optimistic, helpful, generous,
and enthusiastic about new opportunities. In other words,
they were American. Yes, they'd embraced the American
culture, but in addition, like me, they had many of these
traits already and came here because they knew they would be
surrounded by like-minded people. The French who were lazy
and lacked imagination stayed in Europe. The ones with guts
and determination came here."
While I'm going to give you some tidbits of my
favorite quotes in the book, the REAL story is the one that is
imprinted on Clotaire. So, therefore I get to use Clotaire's
system while I imprint him from his stories in the book...what
is Clotaire's code?
If I had to guess at this point, I'd say
Now believe me when I say I'm no expert at
Clotaire's system, but I do see and feel patterns...and
Clotaire's patterns point to OPTIONS. Options in where to live,
what to do, why he practices and does what he does...and most of
all, the patterns he is able to see, feel and analyze in things.
If you're not an OPTIONS person, you won't have the operating
system to catch these patterns. If you don't believe me, then
read the book and all the imprinting quotes from other people.
Try to figure out the patterns in those quotes before he tells
you...my bet is you'll get pretty frustrated and just say...huh?
How does he get SPACE TRAVELERS for the French
Code for the US?
How does VIOLENCE come up for a code for sex in
Here's a few more:
MOSES = American Presidency
DREAM = America (this one is pretty easy,
and one that fits with OPTIONS...if you have a dream, you
need options, yes?)
JOHN WAYNE = German Code for US
CLASS = English Code for
UNASHAMEDELY ABUNDANT for US from the
ORDER = Germans on Germany
IDEA = French about France
TO KEEP = Canadian Code for Canada
INDEPENDENCE = Toilet Paper
But there are some really good ones, practical
learning you can apply immediately! Here's one of his axioms:
"For a company breaking into a foreign
market or an individual looking for an ideal place to live,
the most important thing is to connect with the Code."
Chapter 12 was my favorite as it sums the book:
"Over the course of this book, we have
explored some of the most fundamental archetypes in American
culture and addressed the unconscious Codes at the heart of
those archetypes. Some of these unconscious messages have
been instructive (as in Codes for beauty and shopping)
[MAN'S SALVATION and RECONNECTING WITH LIFE, respectively],
some have been cautionary (as in the Codes for love and fat)
[FALSE EXPECTATION and CHECKING OUT, in that order], and
some have even been a little scary (as in the Code for sex)
[VIOLENCE]. All give us a distinctive glimpse of why we do
the things we do, and they provide us with a new set of
glasses that allows us to view our behavior afresh. In
addition, the contrast with Codes of other cultures taught
us that people around the world are really different.
In summing up the code for America, he gives us
an idea of the power of the culture coding system...and in my
opinion that is worth more than the book, but it's NOT in the
book, only a few patterns he puts together like this one: [I
italized the Codes, so you can see how he patterns them, a
definite skill, perhaps one which can't be learned easily!]
Discovering the Code [American Culture Code
for America is DREAM] puts many of the other Codes in this
book into context. We see love as false expectations
because we dream of romances that can last a lifetime. We
see beauty as man's salvation because we dream that
we can truly make a difference in someone's life. We see fat
as checking out because we chase dreams so hard that
they sometimes overwhelm us. We see health as movement
because we dream of a life without limits. We think of work
as who we are because we dream that we have a
contribution to make and that we can become tremendously
successful at our chosen professions. We see shopping as
reconnecting with life because we dream of our place in
a bigger world. We see money as proof, and luxury as
military stripes, because money and luxury make
visible our dreams of our best selves. We see the American
president as Moses because we dream that someone can
lead us to an even better America.
Our notion of abundance [remember the
English code for US] is a dream; it is a dream of limitless
opportunity that we believe is synonymous with being
American. Our need for constant movement [code for health]
is the expression of a dream in which we can always do more,
always create and accomplish. Even our cultural adolescence
[Code that drives American Culture = Adolescence] is a
dream: we want to believe we are forever young and that we
never truly have to grow up."
There are so many interesting off-shoots here
that I need a week to tell you all the ideas I have about what
is emerging from his work.
Do you think America will be the country
that unlocks the code for immortality?
Why is America ahead of everyone else in
Why do we consume so much and save so
little...did you save anything when you were a teenager?
Why is America headed for big-time trouble
as it's teenage practices lead it past it's ability to
service the bills it's running up?
Why the French (the jealous, spoiled rich
kid) will in the end be the catalyst behind putting America
in it's place?
Oh, and I could go on and on here.
The book really spurred a lot of thinking for
me, but I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Clotaire doesn't give
us much, although he says on Page 11:
"The book is a culmination of more than
three decades of experience decoding imprints for major
corporations around the world. I call this decoding process
a "discovery"--I have performed more than three-hundred--and
I have seen these discoveries put to work to my client's
advantage. More than half of today's Fortune 100 companies
have me on retainer, and corporate response to my findings
has validated the accuracy of my work, assuring me that the
glasses I have fashioned, the glasses of the Culture Code,
offer a new and especially vivid vision of the world around
us. Over the last thirty years, I have devised and patented
a proven, tested method for making discoveries. In this
book, I will share this method, and some of what I have
learned about major world cultures by using it."
I have to admit, being the type I am, I was
excited to read that paragraph. [My personal code is probably
MISCHIEVOUS...into everything, contrary to most, unending
energy, delighting in the tease and certainly full of
it...that's probably me in the 15 seconds I took to examine the
pattern of my imprints over time.]
I love to learn stuff and love to see stuff
work, and to acquire tools for the vast toolkit I've created to
understand myself and others...BUT...here's all you're going to
Five principles guide my methodology for
uncovering cultural Codes, and the knowledge of these
principles will help you understand the thinking that goes
into each discovery. [Fat chance.]
You can't believe what people say.
Emotion is the energy required to learn
The structure, not the content, is the
There is a window in time for imprinting
[7 years he states], and the meaning of the imprint
varies from one culture to another.
To access the meaning of an imprint
within a particular culture, you must learn the code for
He goes on to say that every word, action or
symbol has a Code, and that our brains supply these Codes
unconsciously and that we can discover them...and that what he
says he's going to show us.
Frankly, I was disappointed because if I wasn't
already a pattern-sensing person, I wouldn't have understood the
underlying process which is hidden to the person who is not--guess
he's protecting the patent.
After I read the book twice...I found on Page 8,
the process, although it's vague:
"I structured a three-hour session with each
of the groups. In the first hour, I took on the persona of a
person from another planet, someone who had never seen
coffee [coffee being the topic, you substitute whatever you
like to discover using this process] before and had no idea
how one "used" it. I asked for help understanding the
product, believing their descriptions would give me insight
into what they thought of it.
In the next hour, I had them sit on the
floor like elementary school children and use scissors and a
pile of magazines to make a collage of words about coffee.
The goal here was to get them to tell me stories with these
words that would offer me further clues.
In the third hour, I had participants lie on
the floor with pillows. There was some hesitation among
members of every group, but I convinced them I wasn't
entirely out of my mind, I put on soothing music and asked
the participants to relax. What I was doing was calming
their active brainwaves, getting them to that tranquil point
just before sleep. When they reached this state, I took them
on a journey back from their adulthood, past their teenage
years, to a time when they were very young. Once they
arrived, I asked them to think again about coffee and to
recall their earliest memory of it, the first time they
consciously experienced it, and their most significant
memory of it (if that memory was a different one).
I designed this process to bring
participants back to their first imprint of coffee and the
emotion attached to it.
That's it, that's all I could find in terms of
instruction, "sharing" as the author indicated around this
process. He does in every case where he demonstrates a code,
give you examples of the stories and imprints, but he leaves it
up to YOU to figure out how to come up with the code from these
imprints and stories. He doesn't disclose a particular method,
nor does he give you the tools he and his staff uses to do the
So, in my view, he gets an "F" from me on the
book for that reason (a typical advertorial done most
exquisitely by the way, with entertainment and mystique),
because it's bait and switch, he reveals nothing but the Codes
he's discovered over time (that other people paid him to do--go
figure), which are really good to know, but the "process" is
hidden. Then again I could have missed it, so if you find it,
please drop me a note at coach(at)leadwise.com and clue me in,
because I remain clueless.
Of course, I have LOTS of other tools to use and
this might be the real take-away for me. If you're an Integral
person (you'll know if you are), then you'll find this a missing
piece in the collective interior, a piece that to now has
virtually been missing in terms of any kind of taxonomy or
guessing what is going on in the cultural interior.
To me, this was more than worth the price of the
book and probably the reason I'm writing, because with this
piece, I realized now that the work being done in the spiral
movement is EVEN MORE CENTRAL to understanding codes.
going to leave you with that, and if you're interested, then
subscribe to the email list below and I'll send those who do
some more updates about where I'm taking this stuff and how
Rapaille has only scratched the surface (a valuable one of
course), but only a scratch in really understanding people.
You'll note, NOT everyone owns a PT Cruiser, or
drives a Lexus, owns a house too big, or thinks George Bush is
Moses. So, what more information is needed to get a handle on
You might say I've discovered Culture Code 2.0
and I'll share it with you over time, just be sure to become a
member of the list below so you get updated.
Until then, here's a closing quote from The
"When a man and a woman have a child, they
have a little human being rather than a bird, a fish, or an
alligator. Their genetic code dictates this. When an
American man and an American Woman have a child, they have a
little American. The reason for this is not genetic; it is
because a different code--the culture code--is at work.
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