You Are What You Watch
How Movies and TV Affect Everything
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and data expert Walt Hickey explains the power of entertainment to change our biology, our beliefs, how we see ourselves, and how nations gain power.
Virtually anyone who has ever watched a profound movie, a powerful TV show, or read a moving novel understands that entertainment can and does affect us in surprising and significant ways. But did you know that our most popular forms of entertainment can have a direct physical effect on us, a measurable impact on society, geopolitics, the economy, and even the future itself? In You Are What You Watch, Walter Hickey, Pulitzer Prize winner and former chief culture writer at acclaimed data site FiveThirtyEight.com, proves how exactly how what we watch (and read and listen to) has a far greater effect on us and the world at large than we imagine.
Employing a mix of research, deep reporting, and 100 data visualizations, Hickey presents the true power of entertainment and culture. From the decrease in shark populations after Jaws to the increase in women and girls taking up archery following The Hunger Games, You Are What You Watch proves its points not just with research and argument, but hard data. Did you know, for example, that crime statistics prove that violent movies actually lead to less real-world violence? And that the international rise of anime and Manga helped lift the Japanese economy out of the doldrums in the 1980s? Or that British and American intelligence agencies actually got ideas from the James Bond movies?
In You Are What You Watch, readers will be given a nerdy, and sobering, celebration of popular entertainment and its surprising power to change the world.
About this Author
WALT HICKEY writes Numlock News, a daily stat-based newsletter full of fascinating stories about everything from art heists to lost cities to MoviePass. He is a deputy editor at Insider for data and analysis. Formerly, he was chief culture writer at FiveThirtyEight. He won a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Illustrated Reporting.
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