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Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football . . . Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas Hardcover – May 15, 2012
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Inspirational and quirky, McCracken’s book offers insight on why corporations might want to do this, and suggests a recipe for going about it.” Research-Technology Management
This book is for all businesses and is written to inspire new innovation and creativity.” T+D magazine (American Society for Training & Development)
McCracken’s point is that in the modern world it is almost impossible to know where the next big idea is coming from But, thanks to social media and also to the fact that the world is in many ways a lot more homogenous than used to be the case, certain ideas, thoughts, programmes spread like wildfire.” futureofbusiness.com
Grant McCracken introduces, in this thought-provoking book, the notion of the culturematic, a machine for making culture otherwise described as an ingenuity engine... McCracken has interesting observations about how the growing inscrutability of the world haunts traditional producers of culture.” The Irish Times
Worth the read if you’re trying to create meaning and value in the world.” LeadershipNow (leadershipnow.com)
Working in the digital culture industry, Culturematic is certainly inspirational. If nothing else, it’s an excellent compendium of cultural artifacts that have touched the zeitgeist in the last few years.” Social Media Group (socialmediagroup.com)
Engagingly written and accessible to both business and lay people, the book will have broad appeal to entrepreneurs, marketers, inventors, artists, and people looking for a creativity boost in their professional or personal lives.” Library Journal
his book will definitely lead you to a greater appreciation of your own inner curiosities” Marketing Daily/MediaPost
ADVANCE PRAISE for Culturematic
No one views American culturenor discovers its meaningin quite the way Grant McCracken does. With his sparkling Culturematic as your guide, go from consuming culture to making it, one small, achievable, and ingenious step at a time.” B. Joseph Pine II, coauthor, The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility
Culturematic pulls back the curtain on the fascinating cultural world that drives brands, corporations, and society. Both a revealer of history and a predictor of the future, Grant McCracken provides tools for innovation and mischief that will help you place yourself and your company on the relevant edge of culture. A guidebook, a tool, and a great read.” Stanley Hainsworth, Chief Creative Officer, Tether
Grant McCracken is a cool guy and thinker with consistently cutting-edge insights about the way people are thinking, working, and feeling. McCracken’s challenge here, to be a culture-making entrepreneura Culturematic’resonated strongly with me, as I expect it will for many people and leaders who want to invent their futures by starting small.” Peter Sims, author, Little Bets; Cofounder and Director, Fuse Corps
We are leaving behind a marketing age that rewarded safe bets. Culturematic prepares us to listen more and hear the answers in unexpected places.” John A. Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
There’s a misconception that innovation lives only in labs populated by white-coat wearing scientists. In his wide-ranging and entertaining book, Grant McCracken shows how that is not true. Culturematic manages to be both an engaging and practical guide to creativity and innovation. A worthwhile read.” Scott D. Anthony, Managing Director Innosight Asia-Pacific; author of The Little Black Book Innovation
From the Back Cover
--B. Joseph Pine II, coauthor, The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility
"Culturematic pulls back the curtain on the fascinating cultural world that drives brands, corporations, and society. Both a revealer of history and a predictor of the future, Grant McCracken provides tools for innovation and mischief that will help you place yourself and your company on the relevant edge of culture. A guidebook, a tool, and a great read."
--Stanley Hainsworth, Chief Creative Officer, Tether
"Grant McCracken is a cool guy and thinker with consistently cutting-edge insights about the way people are thinking, working, and feeling. McCracken's challenge here, to be a culture-making entrepreneur--'a Culturematic'--resonated strongly with me, as I expect it will for many people and leaders who want to invent their futures by starting small."
--Peter Sims, author, Little Bets; Cofounder and Director, Fuse Corps
"We are leaving behind a marketing age that rewarded safe bets. Culturematic prepares us to listen more and hear the answers in unexpected places."
--John A. Deighton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
"There's a misconception that innovation lives only in labs populated by white-coat wearing scientists. In his wide-ranging and entertaining book, Grant McCracken shows how that is not true. Culturematic manages to be both an engaging and practical guide to creativity and innovation. A worthwhile read."
--Scott D. Anthony, Managing Director, Innosight Asia-Pacific; author of The Little Black Book of Innovation.
More About the Author
He has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and worked for many organizations including Timberland, New York Historical Society, Diageo, IKEA, Sesame Street, Nike, and Kimberly Clark.
He started the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, where he did the first museum exhibit on youth cultures.
He has taught anthropology at the University of Cambridge, ethnography at MIT, and marketing at the Harvard Business School. He is presently a research affiliate in the Department of Comparative Media at MIT.
He is a long time student of culture and commerce. He has explored this theme in two books: Culture and Consumption I, and Culture and Consumption II.
He has also looked at how Americans invent and reinvent themselves. He had explored this theme in two more books: Big Hair and Transformations: identity construction in a contemporary culture.
He is the student of American culture. Plenitude published in 1997 looked at the new explosive growth of contemporary culture. In Flock and Flow, he shows how contemporary culture and commerce change.
Two years ago, he published a book called Chief Culture Officer with Basic Books that argues that culture now creates so much opportunity and danger for the organization that need senior managers who focus on it full time. He is hoping this will create a new occupational destination for graduates in the arts and humanities.
This spring Grant is publishing a book called Culturematic with the Harvard Business Review Press.
Top Customer Reviews
The methodology for creating a Culturematic is simple, if unclear. Using examples pulled from the book, the methodology is:
1. Test the world: Ask "What if..." or "What if I..." (e.g. What if I invented a professional sports league?)
2. Discover Culture: Your "what if" should reframe culture and produce new culture (e.g. Lonely Island starts with "What if I prematurely ejaculated to an insane degree," ends in Jizz in My Pants skit.)
3. Unleash value: Profit! (e.g. Think about all the money made by Julie and Julia food blog, or Supersize Me)
To his credit, McCracken immediately seems to realize his methodology is vague and unhelpful. As such, he spends a significant portion of the rest of the book attempting to clarify what following these three steps actually entails. Such clarifications include:
-Culturematics have no desired or definite outcome when born.
-Culturematics are not posturing in anyway (except incidentally).
-Culturematics reframe the world in a way that makes it more organized, more tangible, or breaks previous distinctions (such as between art and science).
-Culturematics have something like an emergent order (and as such, you should go out in the world and experience ideas unrelated to your own).
-Culturematics work from native curiosity and excitement.
-Culturematics should focus on small ideas that can grow, rather than on big ideas.Read more ›
This book is different, in a good way. This book had me wanting to hurry up and finish it so I could get up and DO SOMETHING CULTUREMATIC, almost similar to the way one feels at the end of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (who is a Culturematic reference.)
The book starts nicely by building relevance, especially if you are a fan of the often mentioned with this title Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries or the great Gilmore and Pine books (The Experience Economy, Updated Edition & Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want.) McCracken's discussion and points about modern culture making are diverse and simple to understand. What he is writing about in Culturematic weaves into many existing conversations. After establishing relevancy, he helpfully gives the reader dozens of up-to-date examples. It is informative, but also respectful of our access to Wikipedia, Google and YouTube - so we get the important bits and how it ties in with the discussion, but no more.Read more ›
The idea is deceptively simple, but profound. You may read the descriptions of the book and say "but I'm not interested reality TV, fantasy football, ROFLcon etc." It doesn't matter. What McCracken describes is an experimental approach to innovation that applies more generally than might be obvious. Experimenting is at the core of any successful innovation effort, and the tools described in this book can be used in much wider contexts than those used as examples in it. In that, it is a good companion to Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.
The ideas in this book will be useful to anyone interested in innovation, design thinking or those running organisations that have a strong connection to culture (be it low or high). On top of that, it is well-written and fun to read - an added bonus.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ever wonder how the strangest things become viral phenomena - and inspire hundreds of copycat productions? Read morePublished 14 months ago by Rohit Bhargava - Author | Speaker | Nice Guy
When I first saw the title of this book, I was reminded of the fact that Ron Popeil once promoted two products, Chop-O-Matic and Veg-O-Matic, that Dan Ackroyd later satirized on... Read morePublished on May 28, 2013 by Robert Morris
I bought this as a gift for my daughter and she is enjoying reading it. Not my style of reading but works for her.Published on March 1, 2013 by B. Kaplan
We often review books that are neat and organized and deadly dull because they essentially restate observations and insights that were old when our parents were young. Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Them
I bought it because brands needs to understand the culture to fit in and become icons. This book explains that.Published on December 24, 2012 by Luis Henrique Lindner
A hard book to describe. If you are interested in a breakdown of how things of great success come to fruition in the world today, check it out. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Brett M.
I just finished "Culturematic", in 1 day actually, and must say it is the best social anthropologic book I have ever read. My band played a show last night at Hotel Cafe in L.A. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by Jay Dmuchowski
I've read many business books....and only disposed to review this one....as a flop.
The concept of Culturematic is pure plagiarism. Read more
Grant is a great chronicler of social science trends and the forces that shape our culture consciousness. He deserves to be better known. Read morePublished on July 3, 2012 by Ryan C. Holiday