Hit Makers Book Summary By Derek Thompson

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Hit Makers, released in 2017, is the essential guide to understanding why certain products, songs and works of art become successful.

It dives into the core of popular culture, looking at the science behind how and why things become popular.

The book offers an in-depth exploration into the dynamics behind trends and fashions - from an analysis of current pop culture influences to an examination of historical events that shaped what we listen to, watch and buy today.

With insights from experts in a wide range of fields, Hit Makers takes a comprehensive look at what it takes for something to go viral.

Pick up your copy today and learn more about the evolution of modern pop culture!

Hit Makers Book

Book Name: Hit Makers (The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction)

Author(s): Derek Thompson

Rating: 3.8/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Economics

Author Bio

Derek Thompson is a renowned writer and media expert.

He works as a senior editor at the Atlantic, where he focuses on topics related to economics and media.

His insightful articles often appear on radio, television, and print media.

This prolific author has been named in Forbes' 30 Under 30 list of influential people.

His first book, Hit Makers: How To Succeed In An Age Of Distraction, dives into cultural trends that impact success in today's digitized world.

Learn The Secrets Of Creating A Hit In The Arts, Products And Music: Repetition, Awards And The Laugh Track


Do you want to know the secret to making a hit? Look no further than the Hit Makers Book Summary.

Through its in-depth look at hits, it explores the characteristics of a successful work—be it an artwork, product or song—and dives into strategies on how to stand out from the competition.

The Hit Makers Book Summary will help you discover more about what makes a hit, including why repetition is key and how awards can influence popularity.

You’ll also learn all about the so-called “laugh track” and how producers are using it in today’s media.

If your goal is to achieve success with your creative endeavors, then this book’s insights into hits will put you one step closer.

So what are you waiting for? Get started today by learning about what truly makes a hit!

The Unfortunate Case Of Gustave Caillebotte: How Exposure Is The Key To Popularity In Art

When it comes to popularity, it’s all about exposure and not necessarily quality.

Claude Monet is one such example.

His water lily paintings attract large crowds worldwide at museums and art galleries, yet many people have no idea who Gustave Caillebotte is – even though his impressionistic paintings are just as beautiful.

Ultimately, what made Monet famous was the fact that he was selected for an exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg in 1894, while Caillebotte’s own works were not included.

That gave Monet a huge platform to showcase his work and reach a larger audience, making him much more popular in comparison.

It goes without saying that if Caillebotte had also been given this opportunity, he could have achieved the same measure of fame as Monet.

Therefore, when considering why some things become popular while others do not, it’s important to remember that ultimately it often has nothing to do with the actual quality of the work itself – rather it’s all about exposure!

Raymond Loewy—The Father Of Modern Design And The Inspiration Behind The Lucky Strike Package, Coca-Cola Soda Fountains, And More

When it comes to understanding why people are drawn to certain objects, the key lies in balancing familiarity and a bit of something new.

Raymond Loewy revealed this secret, known as MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable) by bringing modern design to the US.

His work was to combine the two elements within his designs for iconic items like Lucky Strike cigarettes and Coca Cola’s soda fountains.

Paul Hekkert further confirmed Loewy’s theory through a 2011 study on why people like or dislike various objects.

The study showed that when people judge an object, they’re looking for both typicality and novelty elements.

To put it simply, things that are recognizably similar to something already seen, with just a touch of something fresh.

Take for instance Loewy’s train designs – though undeniably trains, the sleek bullet shape made them stand out from their more traditional counterparts.

It’s this combination between familiar and unfamiliar features that makes these products popular with consumers, every single time.

Why We Love Repetitive Pop Music: The Science Of Variation In Music

Pop Music

It is clear that human beings have an innate preference for music that is both familiar and repetitive.

We are drawn to songs we’ve heard before, and this phenomenon is evidenced by the Billboard Hot 100 which shows the same most popular songs for months on end.

However, humans also respond positively to slight variations in the sound of a song.

Experiments on mice show that when a B note is played repeatedly, they become complacent and stop paying attention – but if you add a C note in as a variation, their attention is suddenly re-engaged.

This simple minor change can be enough to break through monotony and make us listen once again.

Successful pop songs often use this same BBBBC-BBBC-BBC-BC-D pattern structure in order to keep people’s attention throughout the song.

In conclusion, humans evidently favor repetition with some variation; without it our taste in music could quickly go stale.

The Popularity Of Movies Reinforces Gender Stereotypes

Popularity has its dark sides, namely sexism.

This is something that Geena Davis was horrified to discover when she looked at popular culture with her daughter, and this shocking discovery lead her to found the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2009.

Through her research, she found that of the many protagonists studied in 120 popular movies between 2010 and 2013, only a third were female and just 14 percent of business roles were held by women.

Even for film characters depicting scientists or government officials, only 12 percent were female.

What’s worse is that these biases are not just structural; they’re actually what audiences prefer.

Studies showed that audiences tend to rate movies lower if there are women who act in stereotypical masculine ways (or men who act in feminine ways), perpetuating these harmful stereotypes rather than challenging them.

It’s clear now more than ever that popularity can be detrimental if it reinforces negative messages.

That’s why it’s so important to challenge these biases whenever possible through education and awareness-raising initiatives.

The Dangers Of Popularity: How Too Much Attention Can Backfire

It’s true that having an authoritative and/or famous person call something popular, or artificially boosting Facebook likes can have a significant impact on the popularity of something.

But there are limits to manipulating popularity.

No amount of marketing savvy can turn a poor-quality product into a hit, as evidenced by Lady Gaga’s Artpop album which was dismissed in an initial test release only to be aggressively promoted by her label – yet still sold poorly compared to her other albums.

Popularity can also have a downside, as shown in a 2014 study on Goodreads book reviews conducted by Balazs Kovacs and Amanda J.


Awards promote higher expectations among readers, but can attract those who might not normally choose that genre of book; this combination increases the likelihood of disappointment.

Beyond that, sometimes when books become too popular they’re met with a backlash from people who believe that if something is popular then it must not be good.

This is especially true for things that lose their exclusivity once gaining some level of mainstream approval.

In short, while marketing efforts can certainly boost popularity in some cases, the effect is limited and even counter-productive in certain circumstances.

Humor Can Be Explained Through ‘Benign Violation Theory’ And The Popularity Of The Laugh Track

Laugh Track

People find it much easier to laugh at jokes when they perceive others around them doing the same.

It makes them feel more comfortable and secure in their reaction, and it’s a sign that the joke is socially accepted.

This phenomenon is highlighted by the use of laughter tracks on television shows, which have been used since the 1950s to punctuate punchlines and make them feel popular.

By making jokes appear as though everyone has reacted positively to them, laughter tracks gave people an indication that what was being said was funny without having to think about it themselves.

Furthermore, since these tracks were popular for decades, they could also lead viewers to believe that certain comedic choices were “safe”, both ideologically and tastefully.

However, in more modern times the so-called “laugh track” has all but disappeared from televisions shows due to its lack of effectiveness in making jokes seem funnier—especially within the context of increasingly cinematic TV series where a laugh track would likely only disrupt the illusion of being in a completely alternate world or reality.

In conclusion, popularity plays an important role in how we perceive humour: it tells us that something is both funny and socially acceptable.

With this knowledge, people can potentially be much quicker to laugh at a joke than they would if they perceived no one else reacting similarly—and sometimes even if the joke isn’t that great!

Chance Plays A Major Role In The Success Or Failure Of Any Product

Popularity is often a result of chance factors, something Duncan Watts perfectly demonstrated in his computer simulation of how a product would be received by people in a given population.

The simulation took into account the level of vulnerability people have to trying something new and the size of their network, or how well connected each person was to others.

Ultimately, this showed that certain conditions will lead to cascades in which information rapidly moves from point to point and lights up the entire network.

However, it’s important to note that these cascades occur rarely, occurring only 0.1 percent of the time.

This suggests that success hardly ever happens as a result of careful planning as much as it does due to unpredictable circumstances.

A good example of this is Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock”.

It was initially released on the radio in 1954 with little public response – until it made its way into the soundtrack for Blackboard Jungle a year later.

As soon as Blackboard Jungle became an instant hit, so did the song and it has since become one of the top rock ‘n’ roll hits of all time.

This goes to show how much fate factored into making something popular.

The Myth Of Viral Hits: How Broadcasting, Not Sharing, Is Key To Mass Popularity


The notion of a “viral hit” is something that’s often talked about on the internet—and yet it’s actually nothing more than a myth.

Contrary to what many people assume, content that goes viral does not spread from person to person in the way we typically imagine.

In fact, research has shown that 90% of tweets don’t get shared at all, and out of the rare 1% that do get shared more than seven times, none actually go viral.

What this tells us is that for content to become hugely popular, it needs more than just appealing factors – it needs a broadcast from an influential platform with a large reach.

This could be anything from major news sites like The New York Times, or even large sporting events like the Super Bowl—the important thing is there’s an initial big audience response pushing it into public consciousness.

And ultimately, there’s no perfect formula for success when it comes to achieving popularity; some great ideas will never see the recognition they deserve despite our best efforts.

Wrap Up

Hit Makers, by Derek Thompson, offers readers insight into the mysterious nature of popularity.

It delves deep into the science of what makes certain people and things become popular, examining factors like exposure, familiarity and novelty, repetition and more.

Ultimately though, it all comes down to chance; some things catch on like wildfire while others die a quiet death in obscurity.

This book is a fascinating exploration into the peculiar phenomenon that is popular culture.

Derek’s insights are thought-provoking, resulting in your newfound recognition that there is indeed an element of uncertainty when trying to predict what will be successful or not.

Hit Makers proves that you never really can tell why something might become popular – sometimes it’s all up to chance.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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