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Publisher's Summary

A bold argument that our "quest for cool" shapes modern culture and the global economy. Like it or not, we live in an age of conspicuous consumption. In a world of brand names, many of us judge ourselves and others by the products we own. Teenagers broadcast their brand allegiances over social media. Tourists flock to Rodeo Drive to have their pictures taken in front of luxury stores. Soccer moms switch from minivans to SUVs to hybrids while hip beer connoisseurs flaunt their knack for distinguishing a Kölsch from a pilsner. How did this pervasive desire for "cool" emerge, and why is it so powerful today that it is a prime driver of the global economy? In Cool, the neuroscientist and philosopher Steven Quartz and the political scientist Anette Asp bring together the latest findings in brain science, economics, and evolutionary biology to form a provocative theory of consumerism, revealing how the brain's "social calculator" and an instinct to rebel are the crucial missing links in understanding the motivations behind our spending habits. Applying their theory to everything from grocery shopping to the near-religious devotion of Harley-Davidson fans, Quartz and Asp explore how the brain's ancient decision-making machinery guides consumer choice. Using these revolutionary insights, they show how we use products to advertise ourselves to others in an often unconscious pursuit of social esteem. Surprising at every turn, Cool will change the way you think about money, status, desire, and choice.

©2015 Steven Quartz and Anette Asp (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Some Useful Ideas

I was reading this from a marketing point of view but I didn't get much useful info other than to think about how the mind perceives cool. Worth the read just for the interesting ideas such as "Rebel cool" going against the grain on purpose, showing your hybrid car for status. Interesting but wished there were more actionable ways to make my brand cool. Thanks for the info!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Any darn fool can make something complex...

it takes genius to make something simple. By that standard, this book was absolutely not written with genius. The book was narrated well, but the contents smelled like some Master's thesis and not a book meant for actual reading. I kept waiting for the good part, but it never came. Save your time and money, get a different book. Despite the title, this book is a total square.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Philip
  • Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 06-08-16

One of the most educational books I've read

This is one of the most deep and educational books I've ever read. It identified the obvious and also hidden motivations behind people's choices and behaviors.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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People Were Cool Before 1950?

The authors make it clear that "cool" has been around a lot longer than most of us think, thousands of years before James Dean and Marlon Brando. Mankind's search for it is well documented here, and there are many lessons to be drawn from the conclusions presented. The only uncool part was the kind of pathetic plea against climate change at the end, as if man's puny efforts could make any difference one way or the other. Otherwise, this was a fine book.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful