A Beginning: Book One of The Tower and The Eye

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Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port R...

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Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive In...

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Breaking Good: Mach dich glücklich!

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Revolutionary Paris and the Market for Netherlandi...

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One thought on “Cool: How the Brain’s Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World

  1. Kressel Housman

    Just like Socrates asked questions like “What is virtue?” and “What is knowledge?” in his times, today’s philosophers ask, “What is cool?” These two authors gave “cool” such a thorough analysis, they even placed people in MRI machines, showed them “cool” images, and measured their reactions. Epistemology is much more scientific than it used to be! The book begins by taking issue with the anti-consumerist worldview, namely, that our modern capitalist society is built on conv [...]

  2. M.liss

    The original research presented in this book is pretty compelling, and some of the examples of how "cool" is constructed (as well as the social construction of "uncool") is certainly interesting. One complaint: endnotes. I'm a lazy reader - don't make me flip to the back of the book to see your notes and citations. I need footnotes, because I want to see the whole story, but I just can't rock the two-bookmark thing and it seriously busts up the flow. Another complaint: define your terms. I could [...]

  3. Ian Forsyth

    Quotes:We are all consumers. And we all, more or less, live by consumerism's creed that our consuming is linked to our happiness (in a recent poll, only 6 percent of Americans said that money can't buy happiness). According to some social critics, it is through the world of commodities that our social world reproduces the social categories that structure our personal identities and give form to the social order. There is little or no avoiding this world of goods, symbols, and signals. Even the s [...]

  4. Charlene

    To be sure, there was some interesting information in this book. However, the author really loves outdated David Buss/ Richard Dawkins type hypotheses about good genes, evolutionary roots of behavior, etc. Making these types of arguments when trying to explain why we consume and why we deem things "cool," requires too big a leap in logic and too little critical thinking. Regardless of the inclusion of old and tired evolutionary behavior hypotheses, which far too often amounts to the "just so sto [...]

  5. Michael Miller

    If you read this book (and I don't recommend it), do yourself a favor and skip to the last two chapters. That's where the authors finally discuss in any depth the notion of how that intangible quality of coolness drives economic choices. Even then, it's not particularly clear what their driving at. Suspicious of classical, rationalist economics, I enjoy the insights of behavioral economists. Rather than telling us how people ought to make economic choices, they focus on how we actually do, point [...]

  6. R.K. Byers

    i fundamentally disagreed with this book's position of consumerism as status qualifier that i went out and bought a pair of New Balance just to be ironic.

  7. Silas

    This book started incredibly slow, and I didn't have high hopes for it, based on the first few chapters, which are a rather dry blend of psychology experiments and economics. I stuck with it, though, and it eventually broadened its scope into history, where it became a great deal more interesting, since it could deal with actual examples that didn't seem one sided. I found very few of the initial examples of experiments and ideas about status fit for me, but that changed when the narrative intro [...]

  8. Krzysztof Mathews

    While interesting, this was a rather uneven book that actually reads like two books. The first part really hits on more of the neuroscience, and is a bit lengthy albeit informative. The last few chapters are a bit more of a rushed cultural history which feels a bit unsatisfying. Perhaps I had hoped for more of a comprehensive look at the correspondence of products and culture and the complex interplay between them. They do a fair bit of tilting at the political assumptions that underlie earlier [...]

  9. Matthew

    Four stars because it made me think. The book is almost two books crammed into one, and I enjoyed the second book (Chapters 5-8) much more than the first, although the ending disappointed and seemed contrived. It did inspire a blog post in which I consider "cool" in the light of this book and my own experiences. I will also be adapting some of these ideas for my Popular Music classes.

  10. Sambasivan

    This new concept seems to be a hot topic nowadays. The basic premise is that humans are indeed driven to consume cooler stuff which makes them appear better socially. The super ordinate goals come to the fore. The brain actually takes decisions to satisfy these needs. Well written.

  11. Marjorie

    I didn't like the first 2 chapters of this book. Too unfocused. I wanted to tell the author to "get to the point." I thought the rest of the book was interesting.

  12. Ambrose Leung

    Excellent book on behavioural economics of consumption backed by good research evidence and sound arguments. Good discussion and critique on the existing consumption literature.

  13. Greg Linster

    A fascinating look at consumption from the intersection of behavioral economics, evolution, and conservation. This book is worth reading, or listening to, again.