Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

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Popularity is about exposure, not quality.

exposure to an audience, which is a fundamental ingredient in popularity.

12 November, 2017 18:33 Share

the seven impressionists chosen for the exhibit rose to recognition and remain famous to this day, just because they were thrust into the spotlight at the right moment.

12 November, 2017 18:33 Share

People are drawn to objects that are novel, yet familiar enough to be recognizable.

an undiscovered recipe for good design: a combination of familiarity with more exciting or novel characteristics. In so doing, Loewy developed the first theory of what people like and, therefore, what becomes fashionable. His findings led him to a principle he called MAYA, or most advanced yet acceptable.The idea is simply that people are drawn to two things in an object. First, they like things that are typically recognizable, and second, they grow weary of overly familiar things. Because of this, he reasoned, successful designs are those that strike a balance between these two aspects

12 November, 2017 19:13 Share

The human taste for music favors the repetitive, but some variation is key.

Human taste in pop music gravitates toward repetition. In fact, 90 percent of the music people listen to is music they have heard before.

12 November, 2017 19:15 Share

people seek out songs with something familiar about them. This familiarity lets people predict, to some extent, how the tune will go and makes them feel good.

12 November, 2017 19:15 Share

the human taste for music is much akin to that for design objects; as long as they contain a slight variation, people are profoundly drawn to repetitive and familiar sounds.

12 November, 2017 19:22 Share

Popularity can only be manipulated to a certain degree and can backfire in some cases.

Even the most adept marketing won’t be able to convince an audience to buy a poor-quality product, or, for that matter, a work of art that’s entirely at odds with their sensibilities.

12 November, 2017 19:24 Share

Popularity makes people feel comfortable laughing at jokes.

people are more likely to laugh at something if they perceive others as doing the same – in other words, when it’s popular.

12 November, 2017 19:53 Share

Popularity is often a result of chance factors.

even if all the ingredients are perfectly measured, the success of a product depends on various other uncontrollable elements.

12 November, 2017 20:21 Share

The concept of going viral is a myth.

rather than moving from person to person, content that actually spreads like wildfire is moving from a single, well-connected source to thousands or millions of people.

12 November, 2017 20:22 Share

popularity isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be; some of the greatest feats of human creativity will never be recognized by the mass audiences they deserve.

12 November, 2017 20:22 Share

Final summary

The key message in this book:There’s a science to popularity, but it’s not an exact one. While factors like exposure, the proper balance of familiarity with novelty and the influence of repetition can explain the appeal of many popular people and things, in the end, sheer chance plays a key role in determining what people like, and what makes it into the mainstream consciousness.

11 November, 2017 14:54 Share

About the book:

Hit Makers (2017) looks into the cultural phenomena of popularity and fashion, as well as the science behind them. These blinks offer an up-close examination of why some products, songs and works of art take off, while others fade into the past.

About the author:

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at the Atlantic, where he focuses on media- and economics-related topics. He is a regular voice on radio, appears often on television and was named in Forbes’ “30 Under 30" list. Hit Makers is his first book.