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Hit Makers Audiobook

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

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Publisher's Summary

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.

All businesses, artists, and people looking to promote themselves and their work want 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 21st century - people's attention.

From the dawn of impressionist art to the future of Facebook, from 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.

In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson investigates:

  • The secret link between ESPN's sticky programming and the The Weeknd's catchy choruses
  • Why Facebook is the world's most important modern newspaper
  • How advertising critics predicted Donald Trump
  • The fifth grader who accidentally launched "Rock Around the Clock", the biggest hit in rock and roll history
  • How Barack Obama and his speechwriters think of themselves as songwriters
  • How Disney conquered the world - but the future of hits belongs to savvy amateurs and individuals
  • The French collector who accidentally created the Impressionist canon
  • Quantitative evidence that the biggest music hits aren't always the best
  • Why almost all Hollywood blockbusters are sequels, reboots, and adaptations
  • Why one year - 1991 - is responsible for the way pop music sounds today
  • Why another year - 1932 - created the business model of film
  • How data scientists proved that going viral is a myth
  • How 19th-century immigration patterns explain the most heard song in the Western Hemisphere

©2017 Derek Thompson (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (145 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Obi New York 02-27-17
    Obi New York 02-27-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent content narrative and performance"

    Working in a creative field, under a confluence of what often seems arbitrary, I find Thompson' thesis and its supporting research insightful and informative without being redundant.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Collins Katy, Tx United States 03-26-17
    Dan Collins Katy, Tx United States 03-26-17 Member Since 2017

    Husband, father, IT Leader and Innovator specializing in Retail Energy pricing and costing systems

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trying to Learn From the Atypical"

    The question this book tries to answer is "what makes something popular?" There are many sub-questions and topics that one can cover when analyzing popularity and Mr. Thompson is exhaustive and entertaining from networks to medium and messaging. French Impressionism, Facebook, 'Rock Around the Clock' and Walt Disney are juxtaposed against some other less conspicuous "hits" to offer an informative and thought-provoking deep-dive on a topic whose secrets, on any other examination, might be infuriatingly elusive. And as with any good book, upon completion it begs a conversation.

    Now - to find someone to talk about this ...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LoweLo 03-23-17
    LoweLo 03-23-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Insightful. Performance was better than I expected"

    I feel like I understand the world more after reading this. It wasn't too long and got straight to the information. I feel as though Thompson used the theories he outlined to make this book a HIT. I have no complaints at all and I plan on listening to this one a few more times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Ross Prosper, TX United States 02-26-17
    Scott Ross Prosper, TX United States 02-26-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting information with limited application"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would take the information in each chapter and create a clear application for the average business person, artist, or writer that wants to create a "Hit." The information in this book which comes primarily from anecdotes about past "hits," is interesting and even sometimes fascinating. However, the "takeaways" from one chapter often contradict the implications from a previous story, and the author never really tells you how to have a greater chance at producing a "hit" yourself.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The back stories behind successes like the Star Wars franchise and the impressionist painters are all really interesting. The least interesting part was the vague attempt to apply any of this to our work.


    Have you listened to any of Derek Thompson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Could you see Hit Makers being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kudakwashe 02-24-17
    Kudakwashe 02-24-17 Member Since 2016

    Software Engineer, Business Coach, Certified Coach And Keynote Speaker

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    "I really appreciate this book and it's insight"

    I really loved this book and am re reading it again shortly. Well researched with incredible insights and unlike what it's title seems to suggest a light hearted discussion around hits, it's more a lesson In people and how they act and desire to act.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicholas Newsad Westminster, CO 02-24-17
    Nicholas Newsad Westminster, CO 02-24-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic, great marketing study"

    Great even if you're not in show business. All marketing professionals should listen to this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Sanchez 03-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A must Read (Listen)"

    Great insight into the understanding of what makes a Hit through the investigation of networks of distribution and the way these have changed over time, through great analysis of the human behavior and thought process. Excellently execution for an Audiobook !!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BC Publish Atlanta, GA 30329 03-06-17
    BC Publish Atlanta, GA 30329 03-06-17 Member Since 2016

    BC

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    "Interesting information"
    What other book might you compare Hit Makers to and why?

    Jonah Berger's "Contagious"


    Any additional comments?

    This book merged information I already knew with new information to make a cohesive argument -- so I feel like I learned something. I would recommend the book. The author read the book (which is good) but sometimes his cadence came across as too overly-dramatic.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Ottati Whitehall, Michigan United States 03-04-17
    M. Ottati Whitehall, Michigan United States 03-04-17 Member Since 2016

    String of Zeroes

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    "interesting and mesmerizing"

    interesting and mesmerizing, I'm going to listen to it again and again....lots of stuff to absorb

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 03-02-17
    David United States 03-02-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Useful Nuggets"

    Good storytelling, writing, and research. I took a lot of useful nuggets from this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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