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Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

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In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how t In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms. Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?” In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat. With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.


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In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how t In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms. Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?” In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat. With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.

30 review for Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelly

    This is an interesting and informative book. If you enjoy books that explore culture, social psychology and human behavior while successfully avoiding being too heavy or abstruse you will enjoy Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. Cultural psychologist and author Michele Gelfand has spent more than 20 years studying and researching culture in over fifty countries. She provides entertaining insight and explanatory studies revealing the curious and compelling re This is an interesting and informative book. If you enjoy books that explore culture, social psychology and human behavior while successfully avoiding being too heavy or abstruse you will enjoy Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World. Cultural psychologist and author Michele Gelfand has spent more than 20 years studying and researching culture in over fifty countries. She provides entertaining insight and explanatory studies revealing the curious and compelling reasons individuals may think and act as they do - and the reasons might just surprise you!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Atila Iamarino

    Uma ótima ideia que achei esticada demais e aplicada demais como a única explicação. Michele Gelfand é uma psicóloga que pesquisa sobre um aspecto cultural bem particular, o eixo tightness-looseness, algo como regrado-desregrado ou tenso-relaxado. É o traço que define culturas ou pessoas mais restritas, que seguem muitas regras e protocolos, como a cultura japonesa, ou culturas e pessoas mais relaxadas, com menos protocolos, como a brasileira. E discute como isso se desdobra em culturas nacionais Uma ótima ideia que achei esticada demais e aplicada demais como a única explicação. Michele Gelfand é uma psicóloga que pesquisa sobre um aspecto cultural bem particular, o eixo tightness-looseness, algo como regrado-desregrado ou tenso-relaxado. É o traço que define culturas ou pessoas mais restritas, que seguem muitas regras e protocolos, como a cultura japonesa, ou culturas e pessoas mais relaxadas, com menos protocolos, como a brasileira. E discute como isso se desdobra em culturas nacionais, empresariais ou mesmo familiares. Ela passa o livro todo discutindo o que acontece em culturas mais tensas, que se baseiam muito em regras para funcionar, com protocolos de como as pessoas devem se comportar e dependem de respeito e deferência à autoridade. E o que acontece em culturas mais relaxadas, que dão espaço para as pessoas agirem por conta própria, são mais flexíveis em relação à regras e valorizam mais resultado do que protocolo. A discussão em si é muito legal e pensar nesse eixo de mais regrado ou mais relaxado (meu caso) me ajudou a entender muito a minha diferença e interação com outras pessoas. Especialmente com aquelas que tendem a ser mais regradas. E também ajudou a entender o valor de outras culturas, especialmente as mais distantes da brasileira, onde cresci. Mas acho que ela força demais a barra no quando diz que essa característica explica sobre culturas e países, sem levar em conta várias outras coisas como valores conservadores, estabilidade econômica e afins. Parece que ela tem o martelo do tightness-looseness na mão e todos os problemas viram pregos. Outro ponto que acabou cansando no livro e teria me feito deixar de lado se estivesse lendo (e não ouvindo) é o quanto ela estica o argumento, puxa exemplos e descreve situações bem além do necessário, para depois aplicar o conceito. Senti que é mais um caso de uma boa ideia esticada demais para caber em um livro. Talvez um bom texto sobre o assunto já seja suficiente para entender o que ela defende.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Choi

    This is an incredibly accessible book that is both engaging and informative. It is peppered with interesting studies from social and cross-cultural psychology. Not only do you get to read many unique cultural tidbits from all over the world, but you also gain insight into how psychologists run studies and analyze human behavior. The framework of tightness-looseness is fascinating to understand. You'll learn all about the power of social norms and how they influence us on a daily basis. There is This is an incredibly accessible book that is both engaging and informative. It is peppered with interesting studies from social and cross-cultural psychology. Not only do you get to read many unique cultural tidbits from all over the world, but you also gain insight into how psychologists run studies and analyze human behavior. The framework of tightness-looseness is fascinating to understand. You'll learn all about the power of social norms and how they influence us on a daily basis. There is much to think about within these pages on why cultures differ, but also share a universal pattern.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Piotr

    I recently finished reading “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers” by Michele Gelfand, and I must say—I loved it. The book's got just the right balance of evidence and anecdotes to make it both engaging and informative. It offers fascinating insights into a hidden dimension of culture—“tightness-looseness”—shedding much needed light on domains ranging from politics, negotiations, workplace relations to family life. The book describes the surprising ways in which the strength of social norms explains the d I recently finished reading “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers” by Michele Gelfand, and I must say—I loved it. The book's got just the right balance of evidence and anecdotes to make it both engaging and informative. It offers fascinating insights into a hidden dimension of culture—“tightness-looseness”—shedding much needed light on domains ranging from politics, negotiations, workplace relations to family life. The book describes the surprising ways in which the strength of social norms explains the differences in how nations, organizations, teams and individuals perform. I read the book in one sitting, and it was totally worth it. "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers" is a wonderful and riveting read and I strongly encourage anyone interested in psychology, sociology, culture or politics to read it as soon as humanly possible.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Shonk

    It's not hyperbole to say this is a revolutionary book that changed the way I view the world. It unlocked for me the mystery of the 2016 U.S. presidential election; the culture clashes I've experienced with friends, family, and coworkers; some of my own behaviors that have puzzled me; and so much more. RULE MAKERS, RULE BREAKERS unlocks culture in a way I'd never thought about it before, and it offers a framework that clarifies so much of what we find perplexing about human nature, from the indi It's not hyperbole to say this is a revolutionary book that changed the way I view the world. It unlocked for me the mystery of the 2016 U.S. presidential election; the culture clashes I've experienced with friends, family, and coworkers; some of my own behaviors that have puzzled me; and so much more. RULE MAKERS, RULE BREAKERS unlocks culture in a way I'd never thought about it before, and it offers a framework that clarifies so much of what we find perplexing about human nature, from the individual to the national level. I'm so excited for the broad conversation this book is likely to start and for the understanding I believe it can foster across cultures--between and within nations, across the class divide, and in the workplace.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kim Forney

    I liked the book. There is a lot of information! Listening to the difference of Tightness and Looseness groups, some of the information seems like a no-brainer. Loose states and countries are more tolerant of immigrants, sexual and moral codes. The differences between countries and the individual states were extremely interesting. Norms change according to external threats throughout the ages. The author has organized the information in a logical way. She even brings it down to the lowest levels I liked the book. There is a lot of information! Listening to the difference of Tightness and Looseness groups, some of the information seems like a no-brainer. Loose states and countries are more tolerant of immigrants, sexual and moral codes. The differences between countries and the individual states were extremely interesting. Norms change according to external threats throughout the ages. The author has organized the information in a logical way. She even brings it down to the lowest levels within society class differences. If you are interested in looking at the differences of Tight and Loose culture and underlying reasons/results, this book is a good choice.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Henri Tournyol du Clos

    Unscientific snake oil for the gullible. All these bold statements are based on a short (6 questions) questionaire locally filled in 2010 by small samples of mostly female psychology students grading what they thought was the general importance of social norms in their own country, which produces a metric for overall tightness. Yep. And, true to form, the author touts in the text as universal truths the results of several social psychology experiments which have been either disproved (e.g. the m Unscientific snake oil for the gullible. All these bold statements are based on a short (6 questions) questionaire locally filled in 2010 by small samples of mostly female psychology students grading what they thought was the general importance of social norms in their own country, which produces a metric for overall tightness. Yep. And, true to form, the author touts in the text as universal truths the results of several social psychology experiments which have been either disproved (e.g. the marshmallow test) or at least seriously questioned.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Polina

    Great subject. Good points. The book is somewhat redundant and many scenarios presented as examples to a particular point are not terribly insightful. This book doesn’t warrant 400 pages and would be more impactful in a concise format such as an exploratory article.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    This book brings the world into focus. With a rich theory and concrete examples, all told in accessible prose, Michele Gelfand offers a lens through which to understand norms and cultures that is both simple and mind-blowing. A wonderful book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vignesh Kumar

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Butler

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Locke

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michele Gelfand

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ali

  16. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Collins

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andreana Drencheva

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arno Rohwedder

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rajeeve

  21. 4 out of 5

    Seiha Chheng

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yanina Chuprova

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Thompson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim Lim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vindaloo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rob Sica

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peter Guerrero

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kent

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Wong

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