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

Saturday 20/October/2018 - 08:55 AM
Book cover
Book cover
Edited by: Yara Sameh

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 are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van?

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.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Author: Michele Gelfand
Publisher: Scribner (September 11, 2018)
Language: English
Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches

About the Author
Michele Gelfand is a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her pioneering research into cultural norms has been cited thousands of times in the press, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Science, and on NPR. The recipient of numerous awards, she is a past president of the International Association for Conflict Management.

Editorial Reviews
“An engaging writer with intellectual range. [Gelfand] sparkles most when diving into evolutionary anthropology to make sense of long-term patterns…This is interesting stuff.”
—New York Times Book Review

“Brightly written . . . Gelfand offers many intriguing observations . . . A useful and engaging take on human behavior.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“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, bestselling author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

“A delightful, insightful, and fascinating look at the remarkable diversity of human customs—where they come from and how they shape our lives.”
—Daniel Gilbert, bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness

“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

“Offers a powerful new way of seeing the world. Gelfand's deceptively simple thesis becomes increasingly compelling as her research unfolds across politics, class, and organizational behavior. Best of all, she provides a new toolkit for change."
—Anne Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America, former director of Policy Planning for the State Department, and author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

“A groundbreaking analysis . . . 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

"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: The New Psychology of Success

"Brilliant . . . full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you.”
—Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work

“Gelfand has done much to unravel the mysteries of human motivation."
—Robert Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence and Pre-Suasion

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