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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Social Animal: #9--Culture

Culture: The author gives us a workable definition of culture: “…a collection of habits, practices, beliefs, arguments and tensions that regulates and guides human life…we are embedded in the ‘scaffold of culture’” (p. 148-9). While personal characteristics are very important to one’s success, the context in which people live and work also plays a large role in their cultural success. On a personal level, ambitious people are driven—some by fear, talent, and practice. Often, just committing to a goal will make the difference between high and low achievers. Research on highly successful CEOs showed that MBAs and folks with law degrees fared no better than people with a college degree. The traits that most accurately predicted success were the ability to organize and execute. On a larger cultural scale, Westerners focus on individuals taking action in any given situation, whereas Easterners (Asians) focus on context and relationships. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Asian Americans will graduate from college whereas native-born white Americans graduate at a rate of 34% (for ages 25-29). Cultures within cultures make a difference.

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