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Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World
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Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  23 reviews
If you have ever wondered why SUVs replaced minivans, how one rap song turned the cognac industry upside down, or what gives Levi's jeans their iconic allure, look no further--in Cool, Steven Quartz and Anette Asp finally explain the fascinating science behind unexpected trends and enduring successes.

We live in a world of conspicuous consumption, where the clothes we wear,
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  185 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Start your review of Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World
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 convincing us to buy
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Ian Forsyth
Sep 06, 2017 rated it did not like it

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
Jessie Adamczyk
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
By blending a study heavy in neurology, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, Steven Quartz and Annette Asp have given us a truly intriguing and ground-breaking work on the study of consumerism. I am surprised that this book did not garner more traction. It is a fascinating read.

Quartz and Asp begin by slowly laying their assertions that the idea of “cool”, a concept inextricably linked to consumerism, is ingrained in humanity’s evolutionary make-up. Though I was skeptical of such a claim
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: decision-making
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
Michael Miller
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, consumerism
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, ...more
Sara Goldenberg
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
It goes on a lot. Reads more like a textbook then fun.
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not a paradigm shift but what it does it does very well in it's research and analysis
Lahiru Perera
Mar 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Maybe its just me. This is just one of those books that try so desperately hard to sell an idea. It tries to present this "cool" phenomenon as the next best thing since slice bread. Very weak in terms of a storytelling point of view.
Gianfranco Ruffini
Consumerism, status symbol. B
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Cool concept, but very boring book.
R.K. Byers
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Krzysztof Mathews
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sadie-jane (Say-dee-Jane) Nunis
will update.
3.5 stars
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
J. Winch
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting insight into why status has become a need in the 21st century
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Ambrose Leung
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on behavioural economics of consumption backed by good research evidence and sound arguments. Good discussion and critique on the existing consumption literature.
Delhi Irc
Location: PTI IRC
Accession No: DL027261
Greg Linster
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at consumption from the intersection of behavioral economics, evolution, and conservation. This book is worth reading, or listening to, again.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Arguably the most important book to have been written about marketing.

Chris Hall
rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2016
Scott Gray
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2017
Gianandrea Facchini
rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2017
Brittani Rosier
rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2017
Johnathan Bernat
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Dec 13, 2017
Michael McCluskey
rated it did not like it
Apr 18, 2015
Dale Sanders
rated it liked it
Jun 22, 2019
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