Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online
Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online__below

Description

Product Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

A Book of the Year Selection for Inc. and Library Journal

“This book picks up where The Tipping Point left off
." --  Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

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.

Every business, every artist, 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.
 
In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson investigates:
·       The secret link between ESPN''s sticky programming and the The Weeknd''s catchy choruses
·       Why Facebook is today’s most important newspaper
·       How advertising critics predicted Donald Trump
·       The 5th 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

Review

" Enthralling-- full of ''aha'' moments about why some ideas soar and others never get off the ground. This book  picks up where The Tipping Point left off." 
Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

“While giving Lady Luck her due, Thompson studiously examines the myriad factors that make the things we buy, like and follow so irresistible: whether Facebook, TV shows such as  Seinfeld, Bumble (the app, not the insect), even favorite lullabies. In  Hit Makers, his first book, Thompson tackles this mystery with solid research, ready wit and catchy aphorisms…a wonderful book.
USA Today

“Superb.”--Fareed Zakaria, Book of the Week selection

“Hit Makers is thoughtful and thorough, a compelling book …. a terrific look at what makes a hit, from the Mona Lisa to Donald Trump.”  — Vox

“This entertaining look at the creation of blockbusters… takes on many creators'' and marketers'' assumptions… Hit Makers coats science in compelling story” — Inc 

"Fascinating ... Thompson has huge enthusiasm for his topic and has amassed an amazing amount of material, including many offbeat and engaging stories. ... [Should]  be read for insight and provocation."   John Gapper  Financial Times

"[Thompson] has assembled  a book in the Malcolm Gladwell tradition: telling great stories to illustrate some fascinating and often far-from-obvious theses."   Daily Mail

"Thompson''s diligent research and lively prose ensure that  Hit Makers is always informative and entertaining."   Prospect

"Thompson does a really  fascinating job of explaining how things become popular, drawing on a wide range of cultural phenomena, from  Star Wars to the iPhone, Taylor Swift to  Game of Thrones."  Ben East  Observer

"[An] engaging cultural study."  Steven Poole  Guardian

"Spirited ... An  entertaining and informative guide."   The Times

"A useful survey ... Thompson makes lots of snappy remarks and unexpected comparisons."  David Sexton  Evening Standard

"Derek Thompson has long been one of the brightest new voices in American journalism. With HIT MAKERS, he becomes one of the brightest new voices in the world of non-fiction books. Ranging from Impressionist art to German lullabies to Game of Thrones, HIT MAKERS offers a fresh and compelling take on how the media function and how ideas spread.   As deftly written as it is keenly argued, this book — true to its title — is a hit.” —  Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN

“Derek Thompson’s HIT MAKERS is a sharply observed history of the megahit, from the 13th-centuy tunic craze to the iPhone, tracing  the strange ever-changing mixture of genius, dumb luck, business savvy, and network math that turns an obscurity into a worldwide smash.”
-Jordan Ellenberg, New York Times bestselling author of HOW NOT TO BE WRONG

"What makes one song hit, and another, flop, one book a success and the other, fodder for the discount bins? That''s the mystery Derek Thompson probes with his characteristic verve, wit, and insight in "Hit Makers." It''s an engrossing read that doesn''t settle for easy answers, and one that seems destined to become one of the hits that Thompson so deftly analyzes."
-Maria Konnikova, New York Times bestselling author of THE CONFIDENCE GAME

“Hit Makers blends historical lessons with technological & social insights to explain what makes culture tick, and hits happen.”   
—Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution and Co-Founder of America Online

“Derek Thompson’s Hit Makers is a terrific read—a sparkling combination of fascinating stories, cutting-edge science, and superb business advice. Just as he does when he writes for The Atlantic, Thompson shares more interesting ideas per paragraph than practically any other writer today. Hit Makers is a bible for anyone who’s ever tried to promote practically anything, from products, people, and ideas, to books, songs, films, and TV shows.”
Adam Alter, New York Times Bestselling author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible
  
"I always read everything by Derek Thompson I see, and this book was no exception.  Why things become popular is one of the most important questions in an ever-more networked world, and Derek Thompson''s *Hit Makers* is the best and most serious attempt to take a look at it."
—Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation and Marginal Revolution

“This book is brilliant, a fascinating exploration of the relationship between artistry and industry, the ways that everything from immigration to distribution helps create the popular imagination. You may never look at your favorite film or song the same way again. It should be required reading for anyone working in the popular arts.
Simon Kinberg, producer of  The Martian , screenwriter and producer for the  X-Men  film franchises

“Thompson tackles the daunting subject of how products come to dominate the culture in this interdisciplinary romp that delves into many facets of the entertainment industry as well as industrial design, art history, publishing, and politics…presenting  his case with verve and a lightning chain of compact anecdotes ….This book will appeal to readers of Malcolm Gladwell as well as pop-culture enthusiasts and anyone interested in the changing media landscape.”
—  Booklist

“How does a nice idea become an earworm, or a fashion trend, or—shudder—a meme? Atlantic senior editor Thompson ventures a few well-considered answers….Good reading for anyone who aspires to understand the machinery of pop culture—and perhaps even craft a hit of his or her own.” 
– Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes about economics and the media. He is a regular contributor to NPR''s "Here and Now" and appears frequently on television, including CBS and MSNBC. He lives in New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

The Power of Exposure

Fame and Familiarity—in Art, Music, Politics

On a rainy morning one fall, I was walking alone through the impressionist exhibit of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Standing before a wall of renowned paintings, I was struck by a question that I imagine many people wonder quietly in a museum, even if it’s rude to say out loud in a company of strangers: Why is this thing so famous?

It was The Japanese Footbridge by Claude Monet, with the blue bridge arching over an emerald green pond that is gilded with patches of yellow, pink, and green—the iconic water lilies. It was impossible not to recognize. One of my favorite picture books as a kid included several of Monet’s water lily paintings. It was also impossible to ignore, on account of several kids scrambling through the geriatric crowd to get a closer look. “Yes!” a teenage girl said, holding up her phone in front of her face to take a picture. “Oh!” exclaimed the taller, curly-haired boy behind her. “It’s that famous one!” Several more high school students heard their shouts, and within seconds a group had clustered around the Monet.

Several rooms away, the gallery held a special exhibit for another impressionist painter, Gustave Caillebotte. This was a quieter, slower affair. There were no students and no ecstatic exclamations of recognition, just a lot of mmm-hmms and solemn nods. Caillebotte is not world famous like Monet, Manet, or Cézanne. The sign outside his exhibition at the National Gallery called him “perhaps the least known of the French impressionists.” 

But Caillebotte’s paintings are exquisite. His style is impressionist yet exacting, as if captured with a slightly more focused camera lens. Often from a window’s view, he rendered the colorful urban geometry of nineteenth-century Paris—the yellow rhomboid blocks, the pale white sidewalks, and the iridescent grays of rain-slicked boulevards. His contemporaries considered him a phenomenon on par with Monet and Renoir. Émile Zola, the great French writer who drew attention to impressionism’s “delicate patches of color,” pronounced Caillebotte “one of the boldest of the group.” Still, 140 years later, Monet is one of the most famous painters in history, while Caillebotte is relatively anonymous.

A mystery: Two rebellious painters hang their art in the same impressionist exhibit in 1876. They are considered of similar talent and promise. But one painter’s water lilies become a global cultural hit—enshrined in picture books, studied by art historians, gawked at by high school students, and highlighted in every tour of the National ­Gallery of Art—and the other painter is little known among casual art fans. Why?

For many centuries, philosophers, artists, and psychologists have studied modern art to learn the truth about beauty and popularity. For understandable reasons, many focused on the paintings themselves. But studying the patches of Monet and the brushstrokes of Caillebotte won’t tell you why one is famous and the other is not. You have to see the deeper story. Famous paintings, hit songs, and blockbusters that seem to float effortlessly on the cultural consciousness have a hidden genesis; even water lilies have roots.

When a team of researchers at Cornell University studied the story of the impressionist canon, they found that something surprising set the most famous painters apart. It wasn’t their social connections or their nineteenth-century renown. It was a subtler story. And it all started with Caillebotte.

Gustave Caillebotte was born to a wealthy Parisian family in 1848. As a young man, he veered from law to engineering to the French army in the Franco-Prussian War. But in his twenties, he discovered a passion and immense talent for painting.

In 1875, he submitted The Floor Scrapers to the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. In the painting, white light coming through a window illuminates the bare white backs of several men working on their knees, scraping the dark brown floor of an empty room, as the skinned wood curls into spirals beside their legs. But the painting was rejected. One critic later summed up the scornful response when he said, “Do nudes, but do beautiful nudes or don’t do them at all.”

The impressionists—or, as Caillebotte also called them, les Intransigents—disagreed. Several of them, including Auguste Renoir, liked his quotidian take on the floor scrapers and asked Caillebotte to exhibit with their fellow rebels. He became friends with some of the era’s most controversial young artists, like Monet and Degas, buying dozens of their works at a time when few rich European men cared for them.

Caillebotte’s self-portraits show him in middle age with short hair and a face like an arrowhead, angular and sharpened to a point, with an austere gray beard. A grave countenance colored his inner life as well. Convinced that he would die young, Caillebotte wrote a will instructing the French state to accept his art collection and hang nearly seventy of his impressionist paintings in a national museum. 

His fears were prescient. Caillebotte died of a stroke in 1894 at the age of forty-five. His bequest included at least sixteen canvases by Monet, eight by Renoir, eight by Degas, five by Cézanne, and four by Manet, along with eighteen by Pissarro and nine by Sisley. It is not inconceivable that his walls would be valued at several billion dollars in a twenty-first-century Christie’s sale.

But at the time, his collection was far less coveted. In the will, Caillebotte had stipulated that all paintings hang at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris. But even with Renoir serving as executor, the French government initially refused to accept the artworks. 

The French elite, including conservative critics and even prominent politicians, considered the bequest presumptuous, if not downright ludicrous. Who was this scoundrel to think he could posthumously force the French government to hang dozens of blotchy atrocities on its own walls? Several art professors threatened to resign from the École des Beaux-Arts if the state accepted the impressionist paintings. ­Jean-Léon Gérôme, one of the most famous academic artists of his time, blasted the donation, saying, “For the government to accept such filth, there would have to be a great moral slackening.”

But what is the history of art if not one great slackening after another? After years of fighting both the French state and Caillebotte’s own family to honor the bequest, Renoir persuaded the government to accept about half the collection. By one count, the accepted paintings included eight works by Monet, seven by Degas, seven by Pissarro, six by Renoir, six by Sisley, two by Manet, and two by Cezanne. 

When the artworks were finally hung in 1897, at a new wing in the Musée du Luxembourg, it represented the first ever national exhibition of impressionist art in France, or any European country. The public flooded the museum to see art they’d previously savaged or simply ignored. The long battle over Caillebotte’s estate (the press called it l’affaire Caillebotte) had the very effect he must have hoped: It brought unprecedented attention, and even a bit of respect, to his intransigents friends.

One century after the exhibition of the caillebotte collection, James Cutting, a psychologist at Cornell University, counted more than fifteen thousand instances of impressionist paintings to appear in hundreds of books in the university library. He concluded “unequivocally” that there were seven (“and only seven”) core impressionist painters, whose names and works appeared far more often than their peers. This core consisted of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Manet, Pissarro, and Sisley. Without a doubt, this was the impressionist canon.

What set these seven painters apart? They didn’t share a common style. They did not receive unique praise from contemporary critics, nor did they suffer equal censure. There is no record that this group socialized exclusively, collected each other’s works exclusively, or exhibited exclusively. In fact, there would seem to be only one exclusive quality the most famous impressionists shared.

The core seven impressionist painters were the only seven impressionists in Gustave Caillebotte’s bequest.

Exactly one hundred years after Caillebotte’s death, in 1994, James Cutting stood before one of the most famous paintings at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and had a familiar thought: Why is this thing so ­famous?

The painting in question was Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette. Standing about four feet high and six feet wide, the artwork shows scores of well-dressed Parisians clustered in an outdoor dance hall, waltzing, drinking, and huddling around tables in the dappled light of a Sunday afternoon in the Montmartre district of Paris. 

Cutting instantly recognized the work. But he wondered what was so inherently special about the painting, apart from the fact that he recognized it. Yes, the Bal du Moulin is absorbing, he granted, but the artwork was not obviously better than its less celebrated peers in adjacent rooms. 

“I really had an aha moment,” Cutting told me. “I realized that Caillebotte had owned not only the Bal du Moulin, but also many other paintings at the museum that had become extremely famous.”

He returned to Ithaca to flesh out his eureka. Cutting and a research assistant went through about one thousand books of impres­sionist art in the Cornell University library to make a list of the most commonly reproduced artists. He concluded that the impressionist canon focuses on a tight cluster of seven core painters: Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley—the Caillebotte Seven.

Cutting had a theory: Gustave Caillebotte’s death helped to create the impressionist canon. His bequest to the French state created the frame through which contemporary and future art fans viewed impressionism. Art historians focused on the Caillebotte Seven, which bestowed prestige on their works, to the exclusion of others. The paintings of the Caillebotte Seven hung more prominently in galleries, sold for greater sums of money to private collectors, were valued more by art connoisseurs, were printed in more art anthologies, and were dissected by more art history students, who grew into the next generation’s art mavens, eager to pass on the Caillebotte Seven’s inherited fame.

Cutting had another theory: The fact that Caillebotte’s bequest shaped the impressionist canon spoke to something deep and universal about media, entertainment, and popularity. People prefer paintings that they’ve seen before. Audiences like art that gives them the jolt of meaning that often comes from an inkling of recognition. 

Back at Cornell, Cutting tested this theory. He gathered 166 people from his psychology class and presented them with paired works of impressionist art. In each pair, one of the paintings was significantly more “famous”—that is, more likely to appear in one of Cornell University’s textbooks. Six times out of ten, students said they preferred the more famous picture.

This could have meant that famous paintings are better. Or it might have meant that Cornell students preferred canonical artworks because they were familiar with those paintings. To prove the latter, Cutting had to engineer an environment where students were unwittingly but repeatedly exposed to less famous paintings the same way that art audiences are unwittingly but repeatedly exposed to the impressionist canon from a young age.

What came next was quite clever: In a separate psychology class, Cutting bombarded students with obscure artworks from the late nineteenth century. The students in this second class saw a nonfamous impressionist painting four times for every one time they glimpsed a famous artwork. This was Cutting’s attempt to reconstruct a parallel universe of art history, where Caillebotte never died prematurely, where his legendary bequest never created an impressionist wing, and where the Caillebotte Seven never benefited from a random historical accident that elevated their exposure and popularity.

At the end of the second course, Cutting asked the 151 students to choose their favorite paintings among fifty-one pairs. The results of the popularity contest turned the canon upside down. In forty-one of fifty-­one pairs, the students’ preference for the most famous impressionist works disappeared. The emerald magnetism of Monet’s gardens, the electric polychrome of Renoir, and the genius of Manet were nearly nullified by something else—the power of repeated exposure.

It’s extraordinary that Caillebotte’s bequest helped to shape the canon of impressionism because he purposefully bought his friends’ least popular paintings. Caillebotte made it a principle to buy “­es­pecially those works of his friends which seemed particularly ­un­saleable,” the art historian John Rewald wrote. For example, Caillebotte served as a buyer of last resort when he purchased Renoir’s Bal du Moulin de la Galette. Today, the painting that Caillebotte rescued from obscurity and that inspired Cutting’s famous study of art psychology is considered a masterpiece. When it sold at auction for $78 million in 1990, it was the second most expensive artwork ever purchased. You may find Renoir’s painting to be inherently ­beautiful—I do—but its canonical fame is inseparable from its absurd good fortune to be among the Caillebotte collection.

Mary Morton, the curator of French paintings at the National Gallery of Art, organized the museum’s 2015 Caillebotte exhibit. She told me that a lack of exposure might account for Caillebotte’s anonymity for another reason: Impressionism’s most important collector didn’t try to sell his art.

One of the most important behind-the-scenes figures in impressionist history is Paul Durand-Ruel, a French collector and dealer who served as a one-man clearinghouse for impressionist paintings before they became world famous. His exhaustive efforts to sell work by Monet and others created and sustained the movement while the French salons and European aristocracy considered their patched style a heinous affront to French romanticism. Durand-Ruel found more success among American collectors. “As the industrial revolution and income growth cranked up, newly wealthy people inhabited big new apartments in Paris and New York City,” Morton told me. “They needed decoration that was affordable, beautiful, and widely available, and impressionist paintings were all three.” New wealth created the space for new tastes. Impressionism filled the void.

But Caillebotte does not fit into this story of impressionism’s popularity among the nouveau riche. He was a millionaire, as the heir to a large fortune in textiles, and he had no need to make money from a painting hobby. There are more than 2,500 paintings, drawings, and pastels attributed to Monet. Despite his severe arthritis, Renoir produced an astonishing 4,000 works. Caillebotte produced about 400 paintings and made little effort to distribute them to collectors or museums. He faded into obscurity in the early twentieth century while his peers hung in crowded galleries and private collections, as the echoing power of Caillebotte’s gift rolled through history.

When today’s high school students recognize Monet’s water lilies, they’re seeing more than a century’s worth of exposure and fame. Caille­botte is the least known of the French impressionists. But it’s not because he’s the worst. It’s because he offered his friends a gift that he was willing to withhold from himself: the gift of exposure.

Product information

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Videos

Help others learn more about this product by uploading a video!
Upload video
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who bought this item also bought

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
379 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

A M
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book points at features that characterize many hits, but ignores the possibility that they characterize many flops as well
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2017
The main question discussed in this book is: what are the patterns of successful books, songs, applications etc.? The "scientific" way to research such a question is to analyze a representative sample of successful and unsuccessful cases, in order to find the... See more
The main question discussed in this book is: what are the patterns of successful books, songs, applications etc.? The "scientific" way to research such a question is to analyze a representative sample of successful and unsuccessful cases, in order to find the features that exist in the successful cases and does not exist in the unsuccessful ones. This book however analyzes successful cases only. It points at some features that are found in many hits, but ignores the possibility that these features characterize many flops as well.
149 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Gary Moreau, Author
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tackling Hitdom: A Brave Author and a Good Book
Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2017
I bought this book because it was already popular, a behavior predicted early in the book itself. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s well written, witty, very energetic, and thoroughly researched. I’d share it on my Twitter feed if I had more than eight... See more
I bought this book because it was already popular, a behavior predicted early in the book itself. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s well written, witty, very energetic, and thoroughly researched. I’d share it on my Twitter feed if I had more than eight followers. (The good news from Thompson is that I’m not alone.)

The question of what drives hitdom can be esoteric to the point of incomprehension when the psycho-sociologists wrestle with it, or dry as burnt toast when the statisticians do. Thompson, however, addresses the question anecdotally, using facts and figures to fill in the blanks. The result makes for very relatable reading.

As a sexagenarian who lived in China for much of the last decade I have to admit that some of his cultural references were totally lost on me, but that’s certainly not the author’s fault. We learn at many levels concurrently and this book taught me a lot.

I particularly liked the section devoted to the debunking of the myth that anything really goes viral on the Internet. It makes sense. Far better to be friends with Kim Kardashian, if you want to be famous, than it is to think you’re going to come up with the world’s cleverest meme.

And someone finally gave us the full story on the historic success of Fifty Shades of Grey, although he kept to the marketing issues and wisely didn’t try to explore the deeper issue of why that content was so enthusiastically received. And, yes, I did read it. As a devout reader I felt I had to, given its incredible success. That, too, was predicted by Thompson.

If you are trying to market yourself as an artist or author Hit Makers is a must read plus. It’s filled with money quotes. Here’s one: “Publicly, people often talk about issues. Privately, they talk about schedules. Publicly, they deploy strategic emotions. Privately, they tend to share small troubles. Publicly, they want to be interesting. Privately, they want to be understood.”

Following the laws of Pareto, authors typically spend most of their time on the first and last paragraphs of a book. Between those bookends, some books start strong and lose steam. Others pick up momentum as they go. This one follows the latter trajectory and is well worth the reader’s investment and patience.
35 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
II
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
First 3 chapters were good, not so much afterwards
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2018
The first 3 chapters of this book were good and got me hooked (particularly about industrial design with Raymond Loewy and speech-writing with Jon Favreau). However, the first 3 chapters pretty much said it all. I particularly enjoyed chapter 2 on Raymond Loewy, his story... See more
The first 3 chapters of this book were good and got me hooked (particularly about industrial design with Raymond Loewy and speech-writing with Jon Favreau). However, the first 3 chapters pretty much said it all. I particularly enjoyed chapter 2 on Raymond Loewy, his story was really fascinating, and I do wish that the author had devoted even more pages to this famous industrial designer (likely this chapter appealed to me because of the engineering aspect--yes, that "familiarity" or “aha” moment). The rest of the chapters were pretty much a rehash and overemphasis on concepts already introduced in the first 3 chapters.

Around chapter 3 though, the book started to be less interesting (except for the part on speechwriting).

The other reviewers who mentioned that the book seemed to heavily emphasize on the music industry were right. The book had a mix of too much detail/minutiae devoted to people in the music industry and certain songs (certain paragraphs would be listing song after song after song). And then the book would sometimes have stories that just didn''t have enough detail (see paragraphs below). I would’ve actually liked to hear more about Savan Kotecha! And I’m not a music person, but it sounded like that his story had an interesting beginning, and we just didn’t get to read the complete story. It almost appeared that the book was made up of a collection of the author''s notes taken on interviews that he had with a person.

However, most of the topics—save for the first two chapters—are severely lacking in critical analysis. That I would have been fine with—since some authors prefer not to influence the readers—but then at least present the full details of each story that is being told so that the readers may decide for themselves how to analyze the situation. But this story appeared to be trying to do too many things at once, instead of focusing on being good at a couple of industries.

Like the ESPN example the author gave in his book, he should focus on trying to be very good at a couple things than trying to hit a bunch of different industries. My suggestion for the author would be to refocus his attention on the two areas that he emphasized heavily on—namely, screenwriting, songwriting, and news media (my personal preference would have been an emphasis on engineering and science, but the author’s coverage of the entertainment and news media industries makes it seem like he’s more comfortable with those areas).

I was very interested in the chapter concerning why certain books are a hit—like Fifty Shades of Grey—and I loved the part dedicated to John Snow on epidemiology with regards to analogizing “viral” outbreaks with popularity/broadcasting. But again, the examples seemed to be lacking in sufficient detail to tie it cleanly in with what might’ve caused that “viral” popularity. We can only rely on the author’s assessment of the situation to provide any sort of guidance on that; but readers are not provided with enough data to determine whether his assessment appears to be fairly accurate or not.

Another example: why mention that Microsoft hires the most anthropologists behind the government, and then not even mention about how those anthropologists are used in Microsoft’s research? Again, an unfinished storyline.

And as a side note, I really did not like the interludes. They were just not that interesting at all, and added almost nothing of value to the book (though the interlude on how teenagers’ brains are really hardwired differently, which explains why their judgment is bad, was an interesting note).

Overall, the book seemed to be a collection of unfinished thoughts and storylines, or some stories that just dragged on too long, or just didn’t provide enough research data for the reader to be able to make some type of independent analysis from it. It’s a shame, because the author appeared to have spent a lot of time interviewing people and doing a fair amount of research, but just couldn’t quite figure out how to put all the pieces together into a cohesive analysis or writing. A good effort, and the first 3 chapters were worth reading, but the rest of the chapters were a little too drawn out to explain simple concepts.
16 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
A. Martin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great start, then...
Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2020
Grabbed me right from the beginning. Was enthralled by the author''s scope from artists, to composers, and anyone else that produces "hits" and what makes them thrive. Hint: distribution. But...there is way too much "backstory" where the author is trying to... See more
Grabbed me right from the beginning. Was enthralled by the author''s scope from artists, to composers, and anyone else that produces "hits" and what makes them thrive. Hint: distribution.

But...there is way too much "backstory" where the author is trying to demonstrate how well read he is. Though it would be good info in an unrelated book, it becomes distracting to his theme. So I find myself speed reading over it, which is kind of exhausting.

VERY talented writer who just needs either stricter editing or more focus.
4 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
R. McGuire
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating Read but No Magic Formula
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2021
My son uses Hit Makers when he teaches marketing to university students, so I thought it must have some pretty interesting and applicable insights. Interesting, yes? Applicable, not so much. That’s not a fault of the book, but rather the nature of the problem. In... See more
My son uses Hit Makers when he teaches marketing to university students, so I thought it must have some pretty interesting and applicable insights. Interesting, yes? Applicable, not so much. That’s not a fault of the book, but rather the nature of the problem.

In the preface, the author called me out: “In our desperate search for simplicity, people want success to work like a garage door opener, where a four-number code springs the lock. But culture is not a keypad, and people are not doors. … Designing for humans means abandoning the childish dream of a universal formula and embracing a more chaotic dance between novelty and wonder, belonging and uniqueness, familiarity and surprise.”

Derek Thompson, a writer for The Atlantic, is a master storyteller. Across 12 chapters plus 4 “interludes”, he tells stories from throughout history that help us understand why some things (songs, movies, artists, etc.) become hits. That’s not to say that the book teaches us how to generate hits. Far from it. Instead, the author gives us a glimpse through the mist to have a slightly better sense of the answer to the perennial question: “Why did that become a hit and not that?”

I found Hit Makers to be a fascinating read. The stories were compelling and the lessons learned from them made sense. While learning these lessons will help marketers make fewer mistakes and perhaps take some steps to increase the likelihood of success, there is no magic formula that will guarantee success.
Helpful
Report
mrthinkndrink
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good info, though a somewhat disjointed presentation
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2017
Interesting read and it certainly had some insights. Worth the effort for anyone marketing/selling products that need to stand out in a world of competitive and similar items, i.e., books, music, movies, etc. Could have benefited from tighter editing; the book tends to... See more
Interesting read and it certainly had some insights. Worth the effort for anyone marketing/selling products that need to stand out in a world of competitive and similar items, i.e., books, music, movies, etc. Could have benefited from tighter editing; the book tends to ramble a bit, never seems to present a definitive approach to maximizing one''s chances of having a hit. Granted, it''s a soft and squishy target but the author would have done well to bring his discoveries together into a "best practices approach" to maximizing the chances of success.
20 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Miljenko Horvat
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Worth a read
Reviewed in the United States on January 27, 2018
After all the hype the book has received, for me to still think it surpassed expectations would take a miracle. So it is 4 stars in my version of that rating system where that means I do not regret that I spent time with it at all (and 5 stars is “must read, paradigm... See more
After all the hype the book has received, for me to still think it surpassed expectations would take a miracle. So it is 4 stars in my version of that rating system where that means I do not regret that I spent time with it at all (and 5 stars is “must read, paradigm change” stuff).

Well written with memorable stories and anecdotes to anchor the concepts conveyed and to remember those by.

A few deep insights on nature of different types of content, for example sports, and how different business models have to be built for both different content and different “conduits”. Conclusions about Facebook he makes validate my choice of FB as the primary place where I choose to “waste my time”.
4 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report
Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disney, DaVinci, IPhones and more - How things become popular
Reviewed in the United States on March 13, 2018
Fascinating book; makes you not only stop and think, but understand what really shapes and determines what becomes popular, and what does not. The book is full of stories of some of the most famous cultural icons, inventions, and creations, and their rise or decline in... See more
Fascinating book; makes you not only stop and think, but understand what really shapes and determines what becomes popular, and what does not. The book is full of stories of some of the most famous cultural icons, inventions, and creations, and their rise or decline in popularity. The book makes you begin to see and understand more about things that you find popular, or not.
3 people found this helpful
Helpful
Report

Top reviews from other countries

Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2019
It helps you understand why things catch on. Simple language and easy to read.
It helps you understand why things catch on. Simple language and easy to read.
One person found this helpful
Report
Cat
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I loved reading this book!
Reviewed in Canada on July 24, 2018
I loved reading this book - the whole time I was reading it, I kept telling everyone around me how great it was. There are a lot of established principles and studies in this book, but he describes them with such storytelling that it''s fun to read and hard to put down!
I loved reading this book - the whole time I was reading it, I kept telling everyone around me how great it was. There are a lot of established principles and studies in this book, but he describes them with such storytelling that it''s fun to read and hard to put down!
Report
A. H. Mikael
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is a disappointment
Reviewed in Germany on September 16, 2020
The book claims to be about the science of popularity but the author quickly loses credibility because he seems to suffer from some form of self-hatred (he keeps referring very negatively to ”white men” and appears to have problems with being a man and being a white man)....See more
The book claims to be about the science of popularity but the author quickly loses credibility because he seems to suffer from some form of self-hatred (he keeps referring very negatively to ”white men” and appears to have problems with being a man and being a white man). You would believe that the author could write about the subject matter objectively but as he muddles the content with an unnecessary politically biased personal narrative and radical left ideology it becomes hard to distinguish fact from fiction. And there goes the science - together with the book. Big disappointment!
The book claims to be about the science of popularity but the author quickly loses credibility because he seems to suffer from some form of self-hatred (he keeps referring very negatively to ”white men” and appears to have problems with being a man and being a white man). You would believe that the author could write about the subject matter objectively but as he muddles the content with an unnecessary politically biased personal narrative and radical left ideology it becomes hard to distinguish fact from fiction. And there goes the science - together with the book. Big disappointment!
Report
Translate all reviews to English
Cliente de Kindle
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Muchas historias que cansan pero conocimiento invaluable
Reviewed in Mexico on September 22, 2021
Una cosa es segura, no hay otro libro que se compare en estos temas. Es un estudio completo sobre popularidad, viralidad de medios, diseño, distribución y HITS. Es un MUST pero de la mitad en adelante es puro relleno con muchas historias. Para marketeros, vendedores,...See more
Una cosa es segura, no hay otro libro que se compare en estos temas. Es un estudio completo sobre popularidad, viralidad de medios, diseño, distribución y HITS. Es un MUST pero de la mitad en adelante es puro relleno con muchas historias. Para marketeros, vendedores, diseñadores y amantes del área comercial.
Una cosa es segura, no hay otro libro que se compare en estos temas. Es un estudio completo sobre popularidad, viralidad de medios, diseño, distribución y HITS. Es un MUST pero de la mitad en adelante es puro relleno con muchas historias.

Para marketeros, vendedores, diseñadores y amantes del área comercial.
Report
Translate review to English
Juan A R Lopez
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Amazing book!
Reviewed in Mexico on November 20, 2018
I enjoyed all the chapters... it does not provide a secret formula for succes , but It really challenges the reader to thing different
I enjoyed all the chapters... it does not provide a secret formula for succes , but It really challenges the reader to thing different
Report
See all reviews
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Explore similar books

Tags that will help you discover similar books. 16 tags
Results for: 
Where do clickable book tags come from?
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Pages with related products.

  • science writing books

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online

Hit Makers: How outlet online sale to popular Succeed in an Age of Distraction online