Book Review: Hit Makers

Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson grabbed my eye at the big library. Some guy thinks he knows what it takes to get traction in the ADHD world? Gotta check that out. (ha-ha)

The Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Nothing “goes viral.” If you think a popular movie, song, or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today’s crowded media environment, you’re missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history—of power, influence, dark broadcasters, and passionate cults that turn some new products into cultural phenomena. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity if they fail to connect with the right network, and the consumers that matter most aren’t the early adopters, but rather their friends, followers, and imitators — the audience of your audience.

In his groundbreaking investigation, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives. Shattering the sentimental myths of hit-making that dominate pop culture and business, Thompson shows quality is insufficient for success, nobody has “good taste,” and some of the most popular products in history were one bad break away from utter failure. It may be a new world, but there are some enduring truths to what audiences and consumers want. People love a familiar surprise: a product that is bold, yet sneakily recognizable.

Every business, every artist, every person looking to promote themselves and their work wants to know what makes some works so successful while others disappear. Hit Makers is a magical mystery tour through the last century of pop culture blockbusters and the most valuable currency of the twenty-first century—people’s attention.

From the dawn of impressionist art to the future of Facebook, from small Etsy designers to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson leaves no pet rock unturned to tell the fascinating story of how culture happens and why things become popular.

My thoughts:

I expected to scoff and perhaps throw the book across the room a few chapters in. But I actually found this book fascinating. So much cool information I had no idea about. I took pages of notes. I’m old school, what can I say. I spouted off little bits of info to people for weeks. In fact, I used this book in a demo essay for my comp class on how to analyze someone else’s theories.

It was super amazing to read and totally awesome and then when I was done….

Nothing. It was the same ole information you can find millions of places, in a new pretty package. Which since that’s what he espouses will get you a hit, was a self fulfilling prophecy. I still think the book was mad interesting but it won’t change your world view unless you’ve been living under a rock the last 15 years. LOL.

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