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The Culture Code
a Review of a business book by Daniel Coyle
The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle, was good, but I’ve already forgotten 90% of it. It is a classic business book in the sense that it uses many anecdotes to prove statements that seem pretty obviously true from the outset.
The main point of The Culture Code is to emphasize the importance of the following three skills when working in teams and building a culture:
Create a safe space
Be vulnerable and seek honest feedback
The book is very similar to The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg but with fewer annoying writing techniques. I strongly dislike how Duhigg creates a story sandwich: story 1 beginning, story 2 beginning, summarize themes, story 1 end, story 2 end. I always lose focus by the end of the chapter and then miss the point. The Culture Code is similar in the sense that both books take a few scientific papers and anecdotes, which represent a small sample of the population, and extrapolate the results and experiences into advice for the general public.
That doesn’t mean that Daniel Coyle’s conclusions are wrong. He starts with a thesis that is pretty obviously true, does some hand wavy writing that makes the thesis seem slightly suspicious, and then “proves” that he was actually right all along. For example, he emphasizes how important it is to create a safe space so all team members contribute and the team produces more work than the individuals would produce separately. But by definition, a good team should produce more together than apart, and to do that they must all communicate and contribute. So is there even an argument? Or is Coyle just summarizing?
The entire book can be reduced to points 1-3 above and after just two weeks those bullet points are pretty much all I remember about the book (besides the fact that Pixar is a great company and flying airplanes is scary). Most of the other interpersonal tips and skills are more thoroughly summarized in books like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The Don’t Call Me Ishmael Official Book Rating, Sponsored by the Museum of Whale Antiquities and History and Antiquities and History and Antiquities and History (MWAHAHAH):
2.5/5 Whales: Readable