A ground-breaking new popular psychology book revealing the cultural factors that link us all, with practical applications for business, politics and everyday social interactions.
Why are clocks in Germany always correct, while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why are Singaporeans jailed for selling gum? Why do women in New Zealand have three times the sex of females worldwide? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? And why does each generation of Americans give their kids weirder and weirder names?
Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying both tight societies (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and loose societies (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats. It's why certain nations seem predisposed to tangle with others; some American states identify as "Red" and others as "Blue"; and those attending a sports contest, health club, or school function behave in prescribed ways.
Rule Makers, Rule Breakers reveals how to predict national variations around the globe, why some leaders innovate and others don't, and even how a tight vs. loose system can determine happiness. Consistently riveting and always illuminating, Michele Gelfand's book helps us understand how a single cultural trait dramatically affects even the smallest aspects of our lives.
About the Author
Michele Gelfand is a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her pioneering research into cultural norms, conducted in over fifty countries, has been cited more than 22,000 times in the media, including in The Washington Post and Scientific American, and on NPR. The recipient of numerous awards, she is a past president of the International Association for Conflict Management.
'A groundbreaking analysis of what used to be an impenetrable mystery: how and why do cultures differ? Gelfand shows that a wide range of divides of class, culture, and coalition are traceable to an intriguing source. Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight in Rule Makers, Rule Breakers' - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment Now
Endlessly impressive . . . In figuring out what causes various tribes and factions to clash and sometime come to blows - whether at the U.N. or in a stadium's upper deck - Gelfand has left no cultural stone unturned. To read this book is to see both yourself and your neighbour for the first time - guided by rules of which you've both been unaware
'Remarkable. Not just an enlightening book but a game-changing one. By uncovering the inner workings of tight and loose cultures, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers
suddenly makes sense of the puzzling behavior we see all around us-in colleagues, family, and even ourselves' - Carol Dweck, bestselling author of Mindset
'A brilliant and timely book . . . Michele Gelfand has exposed a universal fault line running beneath nations, states, organizations, and even families. Cultures that face threat and uncertainty seek order and precision. Cultures with firmer footings revel in ambiguity and risk taking. This idea, at once so simple and so powerful, will forever change how you see the world' - Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When and Drive
'Completely fascinating . . .[Gelfand] reveals how political divides, happiness and suicide rates, and the coexistence of crime and creativity can all be traced to a fundamental but neglected dimension of social norms. You'll never look at a workplace, a country, or a family the same way again' - Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
"This brilliant book is full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you. Gelfand presents a wealth of scientific evidence with a light touch that has the reader eager to know what comes next. I can't think of anyone who won't learn something important from this book."
- Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work