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

Steven Quartz and Anette Asp. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-12918-7
Cognitive scientist Quartz (Liars, Lovers, and Heroes) and communications expert Asp consider the psychology of status seeking from a decidedly pro-consumerist point of view. The book draws from a variety of academic disciplines, including psycho-anatomy studies that show the involvement of brain areas such the medial prefrontal cortex, theories of consumerism, and a historical overview of different waves of “cool”: from traditional high-status signaling and the hypermasculine rebel cool of the 1950s to the rise of an Internet-driven culture that the authors identify as “DotCool,” which values unconventionality. An ambitious work that explores well-worn theories in detail before throwing them out, this book rejects the common idea that the world is degenerating into morally suspect, puerile, corporate-manipulated consumption. In its place, the authors propose that inner moral values and external social ones are in fact very much aligned, and that our basic drive to signal social status makes the world a better place. Trendsetters rejoice: Quartz and Asp have got your back. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman Inc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/2014
Release date: 04/14/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-4418-2
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-374-53593-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-2902-6
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