Hit Makers

Hit Makers

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson

HC 79 .C6 T49 2017

“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 turns some new products into cultural phemonena. 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, and 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.”
– publisher description


Soda Politics

Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle

TP 630 .N47 2015

“Sodas are astonishing products. Little more than flavored sugar-water, these drinks cost practically nothing to produce or buy, yet have turned their makers – principally Coca-Cola and PepsiCo – into multibillion-dollar corporations with global recognition, distribution, and political power. Billed as “refreshing,” “tasty,” “crisp,” and “the real thing,” sodas also happen to be so well established to contribute to poor dental hygiene, higher calorie intake, obesity, and type-2 diabetes that the first line of defense against any of these conditions is to simply stop drinking them.

And yet soda companies produce and sell the equivalent of nearly two trillion 12-ounce servings of fountain or packaged beverages every year. How is this possible? In Soda Politics, Marion Nestle investigates the extraordinary effort that goes into making soda a ubiquitous part of your normal landscape, whether you live in Seattle or Sao Paulo. She reveals the tactics soda producers use to push their worse-than-useless products on an increasingly obese world: the billions of dollars in advertising spent each year to promote soda sales to children, minorities, and low-income populations, in developing as well as industrialized nations; the lobbying to prevent any measures that would discourage soda sales; the sponsored medical studies designed to make the science about sodas appear confusing; and the strategically donated money to foster goodwill and silence critics.

But Soda Politics does more than just diagnose a problem – it encourages readers to help find solutions. From Berkeley to Mexico City and beyond, advocates are successfully countering the relentless marketing promotion, and political protection of sugary drinks. Health advocacy campaigns are now the single greatest threat to soda companies’ profits. Soda Poltics provides readers with the motivation to take on Big Soda – and the tools to win.”
– publisher description

Contagious: Why Things Catch On


Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

HF 5415.153 .B463 2013

“What makes things popular?

If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children.

In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.

Contagious combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender.

If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, Contagious explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content. This book provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread – for designing messages, advertisements, and information that people will share. Where you’re a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.” – publisher description