Hit Makers

Hit Makers

The Science of Popularity in An Age of Distraction

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:

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
Publisher: New York, NY : Penguin Press, 2017.
ISBN: 9781101980323
Branch Call Number: 306.3 Tho
Characteristics: 344 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 10, 2017

This book was really hard to read. Based off a Derek Thompson interview I heard I was convinced this would mostly deal with music, but it covers everything, and all of his ideas don't seem very organized. He keeps jumping between different time periods and mediums, and I don't sense any structure to his argument.

Jun 06, 2017

Hit Makers is an easy read that gives you some context for why things become popular in media. Much of the book delves into historic examples of how people or executives first rejected something (such as the hit song "Rock around the clock"), only to embrace it afterwards due to some confluence of events or luck. It's fascinating stuff. Since this is a new book, there are many pages devoted to how the Internet and Facebook (and others) have molded the popularity process.

Naturally, Thompson, nor anyone else can tell you "how" to make a hit, but reading this - you kind of get a feel for how some of this happens.

May 06, 2017

Interesting tidbits of how things – movie, songs, books – become hits. Marketers study how to influence people, to get them to buy things, but this is more an art than a science. The book traces how the media are changing, from books, to movies, to radio, to television, to the Internet, and how people are consuming and responding to the choices being given them.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top