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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 (646 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John 06-22-17
    John 06-22-17
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    "Lots of interesting facts, not much content"

    the first few chapters are tough. Some of the stories the author shares are interesting, but he never tied it all together so it was useful in your business/ life. struggled to finish. Best part of book was the acronym MAYA. Just Google it and save yourself time and money.

    2 of 2 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.

    2 of 2 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.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Obi New York 02-27-17
    Obi New York 02-27-17
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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
  •  
    Nicholas Newsad Westminster, CO 02-24-17
    Nicholas Newsad Westminster, CO 02-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Fantastic, great marketing study"

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

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-14-17 Member Since 2017
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    "How to thrive in the attention economy!"

    This is a great book to understand why so ideas spread and how to get people learn to create hits or in the best way to get them to learn what are the anatomy of a hit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason H. Hawthorne 11-06-17
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    "Lives Up to the Title"

    In a sea of books that market themselves as helping you understand the world better this one lives up to the promise. Incredibly engaging stories to demonstrate the science. I will be regularly recommending this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stanley Jungleib 11-01-17
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    "The one I'm recommending."

    Many try on this subject, but don't cover as many trends or effects. Anyone that can get Cialdini and Deutsch within the same cover has done their homework.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Buhldog 10-22-17
    Buhldog 10-22-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Educational"

    Really enjoyed learning the insights of what makes things popular and how do they go “viral.” Great stories he tells and Derek does a wonderful job of reading his work. I own the book too and his reading adds to the learning!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Randall Stone HAMPTON BAYS, NY, US 10-22-17
    Randall Stone HAMPTON BAYS, NY, US 10-22-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Amazingly wonderful"

    The best thinking....and extremely current, relevant and timely. It dispels myths and inspire everyone to “think differently”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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