Rule Makers and Rule Breakers Podcast

In this episode, David McRaney sits down with psychologist Michele Gelfand and discuss her new book: Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World.

In the book, Gelfand presents her research into norms and a fascinating new idea. It isn’t norms themselves that predict how cultures will react, evolve, innovate, and clash -- but how different cultures value those and sanction people who violate them. She categorizes all human cultures into two kinds -- tight and loose -- and argues that all human behavior depends on whether a person lives in a tight culture or a loose one.

My takeaway is that it is possible for a person to have a dual internal dynamics of both tight cultural values and loose cultural values. It isn’t just about culture, age, or gender. A person has to experience the pressures of certain thresholds (training) in order to exercise mental tolerance and behavioral discipline in pursuit of a mission or a target outcome.