Author(s): Tom Vanderbilt
Why do we get so embarrassed when a colleague wears the same shirt? Why do we eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but seek out novelty at lunch and dinner? How has streaming changed the way Netflix makes recommendations? Why do people think the music of their youth is the best? How can you spot a fake review on Yelp?
Our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces – especially in the digital age with its nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars.” Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic, explains why we like the things we like, why we hate the things we hate, and what all this tell us about ourselves.
With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.
Book has been published with either a blue cover with a chocolate ice cream cone or a red cover with a vanilla ice cream cone. Content is the same in both.
“Vanderbilt discusses how businesses such as Amazon and Netflix deploy algorithms to build up a picture of us, ideally more reliable than the one we have made of ourselves….He revisits the old problem of how far our tastes and wants are our own, and how much an artefact of emulation or conditioning. In a delightful and instructive section, he shows how standards of beauty in cats have changed as their physical characteristics have themselves changed as they have been bred to satisfy human preferences. Though it may look like a study of consumer choice, this is actually a luminously intelligent exploration of the paradoxes of pleasure.”
John Gray – The Guardian (JC BookGrocer)
This is the first book of this type that I've read, and did not know quite what to expect. While a lot of it seems like simple common sense (for example, why we choose certain foods), much of it was surprising. Recommended for those with an avid interest in popular culture and time to digest the message.
Rachel, The Book Grocer
TOM VANDERBILT has written for many publications and is a contributing editor of Wired (U.K.), Outside, and Artforum. He is the author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) and Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America. He has been a visiting scholar at NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, a research fellow at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a fellow at the Design Trust for Public Space, and a winner of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, among other honors. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.