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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Cool

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

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A bold argument that our "quest for cool" shapes modern culture and the global economy

Like it or not, we live in an age of conspicuous consumption. In a world of brand names, many of us judge ourselves and others by the products we own. Teenagers broadcast their brand allegiances over social media. Tourists flock to Rodeo Drive to have their pictures taken in front of luxury stores. Soccer moms switch from minivans to SUVs to hybrids, while hip beer connoisseurs flaunt their knack for distinguishing a Kölsch from a pilsner. How did this pervasive desire for "cool" emerge, and why is it so powerful today that it is a prime driver of the global economy?
In Cool, the neuroscientist and philosopher Steven Quartz and the political scientist Anette Asp bring together the latest findings in brain science, economics, and evolutionary biology to form a provocative theory of consumerism, revealing how the brain's "social calculator" and an instinct to rebel are the crucial missing links in understanding the motivations behind our spending habits. Applying their theory to everything from grocery shopping to the near-religious devotion of Harley-Davidson fans, Quartz and Asp explore how the brain's ancient decision-making machinery guides consumer choice. Using these revolutionary insights, they show how we use products to advertise ourselves to others in an often unconscious pursuit of social esteem. Surprising at every turn, Cool will change the way you think about money, status, d… More…

A bold argument that our "quest for cool" shapes modern culture and the global economy

Like it or not, we live in an age of conspicuous consumption. In a world of brand names, many of us judge ourselves and others by the products we own. Teenagers broadcast their brand allegiances over social media. Tourists flock to Rodeo Drive to have their pictures taken in front of luxury stores. Soccer moms switch from minivans to SUVs to hybrids, while hip beer connoisseurs flaunt their knack for distinguishing a Kölsch from a pilsner. How did this pervasive desire for "cool" emerge, and why is it so powerful today that it is a prime driver of the global economy?
In Cool, the neuroscientist and philosopher Steven Quartz and the political scientist Anette Asp bring together the latest findings in brain science, economics, and evolutionary biology to form a provocative theory of consumerism, revealing how the brain's "social calculator" and an instinct to rebel are the crucial missing links in understanding the motivations behind our spending habits. Applying their theory to everything from grocery shopping to the near-religious devotion of Harley-Davidson fans, Quartz and Asp explore how the brain's ancient decision-making machinery guides consumer choice. Using these revolutionary insights, they show how we use products to advertise ourselves to others in an often unconscious pursuit of social esteem. Surprising at every turn, Cool will change the way you think about money, status, desire, and choice.

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THE CONSUMPTION MYSTERY



Reflections of palm trees sway across Gucci's temple-like storefront in the brilliant afternoon sun. The glistening industrial storefront next door bears neither name nor...

Praise for Cool

“Cool is as important as it is elusive. People want to find it and brands want to be it, but what is it and why do we all care so much? Cool probes the far reaches of our brain to answer these questions, shining a light on the essence of cool and the fundamental motivations that make us all human.” —Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and bestselling author of Contagious

“Both a sweeping history and a scientific exploration, Cool charts the evolution of an ineffable concept that, whether or not we realize it, influences our decision making every day. Reading this book can't make you cool, but it can give you the tools to figure out why cool matters.” —Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, and author of The Rise of the Creative Class

“Steven Quartz and Anette Asp expose a mystery that plagues us all--spending--and do so by uncovering the biological roots that guide our desire for status while following ancient rules that kept our evolutionary forebears alive. They remind us that forces that drive our modern habits were put in place long before there was anything modern. Cool is a delightful book that will inspire discussion.” —Read Montague, Director, Human Neuroimaging Laboratory, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and author of Your Brain Is (Almost) Perfect

- … More…

“Cool is as important as it is elusive. People want to find it and brands want to be it, but what is it and why do we all care so much? Cool probes the far reaches of our brain to answer these questions, shining a light on the essence of cool and the fundamental motivations that make us all human.” —Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and bestselling author of Contagious

“Both a sweeping history and a scientific exploration, Cool charts the evolution of an ineffable concept that, whether or not we realize it, influences our decision making every day. Reading this book can't make you cool, but it can give you the tools to figure out why cool matters.” —Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, and author of The Rise of the Creative Class

“Steven Quartz and Anette Asp expose a mystery that plagues us all--spending--and do so by uncovering the biological roots that guide our desire for status while following ancient rules that kept our evolutionary forebears alive. They remind us that forces that drive our modern habits were put in place long before there was anything modern. Cool is a delightful book that will inspire discussion.” —Read Montague, Director, Human Neuroimaging Laboratory, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, and author of Your Brain Is (Almost) Perfect

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Reviews from Goodreads

Steven Quartz and Anette Asp

Steven Quartz is a professor of philosophy and cognitive science and the director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He is the coauthor of Liars, Lovers, and Heroes and lives in Malibu, California. Anette Asp is a political scientist, public relations and communications professional, and pioneer in the field of neuromarketing. She is a former project manager at the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology and is currently the communications manager of a leading telecommunications company. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

image of Steven Quartzo
Dana Fineman

Steven Quartz

image of Anette Aspo
Stefan Bölke

Anette Asp

Steven R. Quartz at Cal Tech

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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