Culturematic

Grant McCracken. Harvard Business Review, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4221-4329-2
Anthropologist, author, and corporate consultant McCracken (Chief Culture Officer) has coined a new buzzword, “culturematic,” to describe how, in this era of widespread cultural unpredictability, various concepts, events, products, services, and even ad campaigns cut through the clutter to capture hearts and minds. He defines a culturematic as “a little machine for making culture” that will “test the world, discover meaning, and unleash value.” Although abstract and circuitous at times, McCracken’s lively exploration of how media experiments, rule breaking, and parody can expose culture and move it forward proves fascinating and provocative. He explores the random origin and viral explosion of the Burning Man festival, the unexpected paradigm of Apple’s Genius Bar, the creation and rapid spread of reality television, the growth of fantasy football culture, and the food truck revolution—all examples of culturematics because they “punch their way out of conventional wisdom and existing cultural forms” and “reshape the categories in our head.” Conservative thinkers may find culturematics to be inscrutable enigmas, but adventurous marketers, product designers, forward-thinking leaders, or students of culture are sure to find it a riveting spur for even greater innovation. Agent: Kate Lee, ICM. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
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