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.
Lindy West talks with Hari Kondabolu about her new book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman.
Lindy West’s writing at GQ, the Guardian, the New York Times and elsewhere has garnered her an audience eager to hear her thoughts on feminism, culture, and body image. Her outspoken commitment to social justice issues as the founder of the destigmatization campaign #ShoutYourAbortion have placed her at the forefront of conversations over sexuality and reproductive rights. Her fanbase extends to Lena Dunham, who called her “an essential voice for women,” and Caitlin Moran, who called her debut memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman “a thrilling, kick-ass, joyous ROAR of a book.” She’ll be at Strand to discuss Shrill and everything else—don’t miss this chance to hear from a hilarious and heartfelt breakout voice.
Lindy is joined in conversation by friend and stand-up comic, Hari Kondabolu.