Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson puts pop culture under the lens of science to investigate what every business, every artist, every person looking to promote themselves and their work is after: what makes a hit a hit. Hit Makers is a groundbreaking investigation into the most valuable currency of the 21st century: people's attention. With incisive analysis and captivating storytelling, Atlantic Senior Editor Derek Thompson uses the tools of tools of economics and psychology to reveal the secrets of what makes a hit a hit. Drawing on ancient history and modern headlines—from vampire lore and Mickey Mouse to Facebook and Fifty Shades—Thompson offers practical lessons for how anybody can make a hit and become a smarter consumer of culture. In doing so, he shows how the universe of attention is connected. An investigation into the science of musical hooks uncovers the secrets of today's best speechwriters. A biography of a legendary industrial designer finds a four-letter code that can help anybody sell the most complicated ideas to a mass audience. Hit Makers not only investigates the cultural phenomena that make up headlines. It reveals the desires that make us all human. Hits enchant us, but they also hold up a mirror to our nature. We are living through an industrial revolution in attention. We used to simply play the hits. Now the hits play us back. Film, music, and media companies are using new tools to learn what makes their consumers tick. Hit Makers pulls back the curtain on this new world order to make all of us smarter about what people want and how things catch fire. From the dawn of Impressionist art to the future of Snapchat, from small-scale Etsy entrepreneurs to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson leaves no pet rock unturned to tell the fascinating story of how culture happens—and where genius lives.
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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.