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 the world's most important modern 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
The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women's movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.
When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the 2005 Liberian presidential election, she demolished a barrier few thought possible, obliterating centuries of patriarchal rule to become the first female elected head of state in Africa's history. Madame President is the inspiring, often heartbreaking story of Sirleaf's evolution from an ordinary Liberian mother of four boys to international banking executive, from a victim of domestic violence to a political icon, from a post-war president to a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper deftly weaves Sirleaf's personal story into the larger narrative of the coming of age of Liberian women. The highs and lows of Sirleaf's life are filled with indelible images; from imprisonment in a jail cell for standing up to Liberia's military government to addressing the United States Congress, from reeling under the onslaught of the Ebola pandemic to signing a deal with Hillary Clinton when she was still Secretary of State that enshrined American support for Liberia's future.
Sirleaf's personality shines throughout this riveting biography. Ultimately, Madame President is the story of Liberia's greatest daughter, and the universal lessons we can all learn from this "Oracle" of African women.
NG Photo Ark
Joel Sartore intends to photograph every animal in captivity in the world. He is circling the globe, visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species, with an emphasis on those facing extinction. He has photographed more than 6,000 already and now, thanks to a multi-year partnership with National Geographic, he may reach his goal. This book showcases his animal portraits: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Paired with the eloquent prose of veteran wildlife writer Douglas Chadwick, this book presents a thought-provoking argument for saving all the species of our planet.
The Nature Fix
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods: Beethoven drew inspiration from rocks and trees; Wordsworth composed while walking over the heath; Nikola Tesla conceived the electric motor while visiting a park.
From forest paths in Korea to islands in Finland to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science at the confluence of environment, mood, health and creativity. Delving into new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our lives shift indoors, these ideas-and the answers they yield-are more urgent than ever.
One Buck at a Time
For over thirty years, Dollar Tree has succeeded at something the retail industry thought impossible: selling goods of surprising quality for no more than a dollar apiece, and in the process earning profits that defy common sense.
In One Buck at a Time, company cofounder Macon Brock leads readers through the twisty path that saw Dollar Tree mushroom from a humble five-and-dime in Norfolk, Virginia, into one of the fastest-growing businesses in Americaone that today operates more than 14,000 stores, provides jobs for 165,000 people, and is climbing the Fortune 500.
During every step of its growth, Dollar Tree has had to re-prove its concept to people who can't believe its success. Not long after entering the marketplace, the company faced a crisis of conscience. In view of inflation and pressure from suppliers, how long could it stick to its one-dollar price point? Would it have to abandon its founding principle and become just another Walmart competitor?
Brock devised an experimenthe acquired a mixed bag of items Dollar Tree could sell for one dollar, for two dollars, for three and five, dumped them on a desk, and asked company officials to separate them into price piles.
They couldn't do it. Even Brock was surprised.
One Buck at a Time is an informal history of budget retail and a how-to on doing it right. Brock credits everyone from executives to store managers and associates for their devotion to a corporate culture of value and service. And yes, he paints an entertaining picture of how Dollar Tree fulfills its missionhow it scours the globe to maintain the all-important price point while fashioning a product mix that never fails to surprise and delight.
From Facebook's COO and Wharton's top-rated professor, the #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Lean In and Originals: a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life's inevitable setbacks.
After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. "I was in `the void,'" she writes, "a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe." Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.
Option B combines Sheryl's personal insights with Adam's eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. Beginning with the gut-wrenching moment when she finds her husband, Dave Goldberg, collapsed on a gym floor, Sheryl opens up her heart-and her journal-to describe the acute grief and isolation she felt in the wake of his death. But Option B goes beyond Sheryl's loss to explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. Their stories reveal the capacity of the human spirit to persevere . . . and to rediscover joy.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. "I want Dave," she cried. Her friend replied, "Option A is not available," and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.
We all live some form of Option B. This book will help us all make the most of it.
`Clever and entertaining.' Sunday Times
`Elegantly written and full of surprises.' Daily Telegraph
`Always entertaining and often eye-opening.' Financial Times
Old ideas that were mocked or ignored for centuries are now storming back to the cutting edge of research and informing the way we lead our lives. In Rethink, Steven Poole explains why today's chess grandmasters, quantum physicists and psychologists are mining the last 2,000 years of history for answers to the problems of the present. He explores how long-neglected thinkers could transform our everyday lives: from improving the way boardrooms operate, to inspiring grand projects for social and political change. And above all, he shows that by rethinking discarded ideas we can each gain a better understanding of the world - and perhaps be better equipped to change it.
`A whirlwind of discovery ... Among the greatest compliments you can give a book is that it helps you to see things differently.' Guardian
`When it comes to describing a complex idea clearly, Poole is one of the best writers around.' Sunday Times
`Fascinating ... Poole confirms his standing as one of our liveliest and most thought-provoking writers on science and technology.' Spectator
Women in Science
A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.
The extraordinary women profiled include well-known figures like the physicist and chemist Marie Curie, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists and beyond...
A World in Disarray
A World in Disarray is a wise and visionary examination of the current world by Richard Haass, the president of the US Council on Foreign Relations. It is rich in history, examining how we got where we are today, and what needs doing to make things better. Haass shows that the world cannot have stability or prosperity without the United States, but that the United States cannot be a force for global stability and prosperity without its politicians and citizens reaching a new understanding.