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Hit Makers Explores the Rise of Cultural Phenoms

Michael Krauss

Why is Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction a must-read for marketers? It deconstructs popularity into rational elements you can act on. It explains in thoughtful and persuasive terms why some products and services become sensations. That knowledge is crucial for all marketers who want to succeed. (Plus, the book earned the AMA’s 2018 Berry Book Award for the best book in marketing.)

Author Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic and a weekly news analyst for NPR, provides an array of clear, cogent and concise examples of hits, explaining why and how they were successful. He explains why Claude Monet and Edgar Degas hit it big while their contemporary Gustave Caillebotte is an unknown. Yet without Caillebotte, the leading impressionists—perhaps impressionism itself—would be unknown. 


Thompson tells another story about song writer Savan Kotecha, who received 160 rejection letters while trying to break into the music business. Kotecha eventually landed a job as a writer and producer for other songwriters, such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, Maroon 5, Carrie Underwood and One Direction. Kotecha’s journey to sell more than 200 million copies of his songs worldwide is instructive whether you are in entertainment or industrial products.


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Michael Krauss is president of Market Strategy Group based in Chicago.