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Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity Hardcover – November 9, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Currid-Halkett (The Warhol Economy) takes a tasty subject and rehashes it into sawdust in her repetitive study of celebrity. She dissects the collective fascination with some people over others, postulating that our preference for watching television and surfing the Internet over actual engagement has created a public lonelier than ever but with free, instant access to indulge our voyeuristic tendencies. Analyzing the appeal of personalities as disparate as Paris Hilton and Bill Gates, she concludes unremarkably that celebrity has little to do with talent or fame, but with an unquantifiable light recognized and exploited by those whose livelihoods depend on star-based revenue, including the media. Having made this point, the remainder of the book is reiteration, supported with diagrams and tables that seem unnecessary in supporting the incontrovertible conclusion that celebrity ultimately hinges on whether we decide to pay attention or not. A glimmer of interest flares on the penultimate page of the book, when Currid-Halkett observes that, on the whole many of us care far more about Aniston' s latte than the thousands being murdered in Sudan, a more puzzling phenomenon that could have proved a more promising focus.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this insightful exploration of modern-day celebrity, Currid-Halkett, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, delves into what exactly it is that makes a person a celebrity—and why the general public cares so much about them. Comparing socialite Paris Hilton and actress Tara Reid, Currid-Halkett investigates what makes one party girl a media darling while the other is relegated to being a laughingstock. Celebrity is a relative term: a master gamer is just as big a deal in his community of fellow gamers as Angelina Jolie is to the millions of moviegoers who follow both her career and love life. Currid-Halkett shows that at its heart, celebrity is very much a business, employing countless talent managers, agents, and publicists, and selling magazines to a public eager for juicy gossip about who Jennifer Aniston is dating or the latest exploits of their favorite reality star. Anyone who has ever thumbed through an issue of US Weekly will appreciate this lively, accessible account of the effects of celebrity on popular culture. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition (1 in number line) edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865479097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865479098
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,617,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MMoore on November 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I thought it was a terrific book that really allows the reader to grasp the intricacies behind the business of celebrity without sounding like a lecture. It provides a captivating backdrop with something that we are all familiar with while constantly revealing the true mechanics of how the celebrity machine runs. Definitely worth the read!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BlogOnBooks on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
You've seen all the pictures, heard all the paparazzi stories, seen an endless barrage of photos of celebs posing in front of and endless array of sponsored step-and-repeat red carpet backdrops. But have you ever wondered about the actual business of being a celebrity? Well, "Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity", is a book that takes you behind the scenes of the real business of celebrification (yes, we made that word up) revealing what matters to whom and why. Did you know there is a rating system for determining celebrity "heat'? Do you know the difference between the A-listers (Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie) and the residual celebs (Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra), those who have to work at being famous rather than letting their onscreen work speak for itself. Does it sometimes all seem a bit circular?

From editors to airmiles, Currid-Halkett (an associate professor at USC) takes the wraps off the real world of the celebrity business - sometimes in a very data driven fashion - showing how it is much less spontaneous and more cut-throat than it might appear from a random glance at the supermarket tabloids. In its 310 pages "Starstruck" explores all the nitty-gritty; from the role of the publicist (some who make a reported twenty grand a month per client) to the studios to event planners to the ultimate lifeblood of the media itself, every aspect of the power struggle is exposed. Techniques like the "write-around" (when a journalist can't get a direct interview), the L.A. vs. NY thing (stay away from Vegas, baby) to the often uncontrollable world of social networks and the internet are discussed in an intelligent, cohesive manner that sheds light on the various factors pushing and pulling the fast-paced world of celebrity media.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Large Pro on June 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Currid-Halkett is very effective in communicating her ideas and deserves an audience for this book. I would like it even more if I knew she hadn't completely stolen the basic structure of the book from a colleague whom she didn't even have the decency to credit in the acknowledgements.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ellie Triscall on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Starstruck is the first serious book about celebrity. While the book is rooted in solid research and the general points are serious points about society - the role of networking in creating superstars, the way in which society reveres its stars and the implications of this and the way in which people become stars -- it is a fun and engaging read filled with good anecdotes and great quotes from heavy hitters in the industry. Even people who aren't usually interested in Hollywood celebrity will find the book pretty fascinating in its account of how celebrities exist on Facebook, in high school and Star Trek.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ECLCali on November 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Currid-Halkett's Starstruck and found it to be thoroughly researched and masterfully written. Unlike most academic books, this work is actually interesting to read. Currid-Halkett is clearly a star in her field, yet still knows how to explain her concepts in a more down-to-earth yet sophisticated manner.

Celebrity, especially in the context of social networks, is a very current topic in the media, and it is fascinating to see Currid-Halkett explore the business side of it as well. There is not one of us who has not flipped through a copy of US Weekly while waiting on line at the grocery store - this book intellectualized the process that causes us to do that, as well as the economic model behind it.

There are not too many books out there like this - a totally worthwhile read. Highly recommended!
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