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.
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.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What's Your Favorite Color (And Why Do You Even Have One)? 3
Chapter 1 What Would You Like? Thinking About Our Taste for Food 21
Chapter 2 The Fault is not in Our Stars, But in Ourselves Liking in a Networked Age 65
Chapter 3 How Predictable is Our Taste?: What Your Playlist Says About You (And What You Say About Your Playlist) 101
Chapter 4 How Do We Know What We Like?: The Ecstasies and Anxieties of Art 140
Chapter 5 Why (And How) Tastes Change 190
Chapter 6 Beer, Cats, and Dirt How Do Experts Decide What's Good? 231
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