February 7th 2017 | Allen Lane | Hardbacks

Photo: Emersson-Barillas

In Hitmakers, cultural economist Derek Thompson unites pop culture, economics, psychology and tech to show how to turn an obscurity into a worldwide smash. Finally an answer to Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point for the viral age.

With incisive analysis that draws on ancient history and modern headlines, Thompson reveals how even the most surprising hits actually operate by certain rules:

- People gravitate towards familiar surprises, products and ideas that are bold yet instantly comprehensible.
Consumers are hungry pioneers of ‘the new’ – provided that it resembles what they already like. From Hollywood remakes to scientific breakthroughs, if you're selling something familiar, make it surprising – and if you're selling something surprising, make it familiar. 

- Viral hits are a myth; even overnight successes have calculable steps.
By tracking the dark broadcasts of Fifty Shades of Grey pre-publication, and the role of celebrity sharing in the Joseph Kony video explosion, Thompson shows that a more sophisticated understanding of digital sharing helps promoters reach the audience of their audience. 

- Successful new media serves old jobs
While technology changes, people’s innate preferences in hits do not. From the car to Tinder, Thompson shows how those behind even the most indispensable products have needed to marry new technology with old habits to guide each generation through their technophobia. 

Exploring the tools that leading tech, film, music, retail and news companies are using to find what makes their consumers tick, Thompson pulls back the curtain on this new world to reveal what people want from their next big thing. 

Derek Thompson is a cultural economist and Senior Editor at The Atlantic, where he is one of the most-read contributors. He is a weekly business correspondent on NPR's Here and Now, which reaches nearly 4 million listeners. He has been named one of Reuter's 'Blogs to Follow', Time's top 140 Twitter feeds, Huffington Post's 100 best economic reporters, and Forbes' '30 under 30'.

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