Regular price: $28.00

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

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 
©2017 Derek Thompson (P)2017 Penguin Audio

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    665
  • 4 Stars
    283
  • 3 Stars
    95
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    668
  • 4 Stars
    221
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    7

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    598
  • 4 Stars
    251
  • 3 Stars
    91
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    13
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 04-22-17

A lot more interesting than I expected...

There's certainly some science here - both interesting and obvious - but I don't think that alone would have made this book a good listen.
What I found much more interesting were the stories used to illustrate some of the points - which dive into art history, industrial design, politics and linguistics.
Some of the most up-to-date pop culture references will probably date this book quite quickly, but the historical parallels are timeless, and arguably more interesting.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best Book Ever if You Want to Understand Poularity

What did you love best about Hit Makers?

Most books on what makes a hit are rubbish. So I was not expecting much from Derek Thompson's "Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction." As one who popularizes new ideas for a living, I don't expect to pick up more than a couple of ideas while studying a book that moves my brain into thinking more about a topic. I was wrong. I totally underestimated the depth of understanding in this book. Instead of "cracking a code" and pretending there's some magic formula, Thompson traced the path of hits back to their origins, interviewed unlikely contributors and found the inception of ideas. This is the only way we can see the triggers that might contribute to making something a hit. Best explanation of why "viral marketing" is a fraud, best Disney history and several patterns I recognized in case studies outside of the book. I'm using this knowledge already.

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

Cialdini's "Influence" was groundbreaking for setting out 6 principles but is readable because of the stories shared. "Hit Makers" delivers on the stories.. and does well on explains these and other principles

What does Derek Thompson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Always best to hear the book in the author's voice. Usually, it's a compromise. In this case, Thompson's deliver was great.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Brahms best work was derivative.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Starts of saying “The Tipping Point” book was wrong but then...

The book starts off saying “The Tipping Point” book was wrong but then ends by drawing the same conclusion Gladwell did in “The Tipping Point.”

If you’ve read “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point,” then save yourself a credit. If you haven’t read any of these books, I’ll save you 3 credits: going “viral” comes down to who you know, who knows about you, starting with serving a niche market, and luck. There, I just saved you about 24 hours of reading time. You’re welcome.

Ps: I was torn between 3 stars and 4 for an overall rating. At the last minute, I went with 4 stars because the author (who is also the narrator) seems like a nice guy.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Answered questions I've always wondered about...

...and answered question I hadn't thought of. As well, it confirmed theories I had. I wish there had been more focus on books and not just music, art, etc. Still, very interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Title Isn’t True

It’s more like a poetic description of popular things throughout history. Maybe the book company pressured him into a title more people would buy so it’ implies, “how to be popular.” I just stopped listening after the design section.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Obi
  • New York
  • 02-27-17

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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