An overview of trends, how they are born—or made—and their dangers.
After contextualizing trends and fads with an introduction focusing on how a silly 17th-century fashion trend—the beaver-felt hat—had drastic and far-reaching consequences that included genocide, the book’s four chapters focus on what fads are, how fads spread, how they can be manufactured, and how much damage they can cause. Complex material is broken down into accessible language and explained with lively example stories, allowing for a surprisingly sophisticated overview. Each chapter is primarily organized into two-page spreads covering separate ideas: Pokémon Go illustrates the temporally linked rise and fall of a fad; stock market crashes and the rise of popular restaurants are both exemplars of an “information cascade”; Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino allows exploration of systematic strategies in corporate-driven trends; slime-making YouTubers demonstrate the power of the social media influencer; and the anti-vaccine movement exposes the persistence of logical fallacies. The design—punctuated with peppy cartoon drawings and comic-book pages that introduce each chapter—helps the book bounce along. Despite the book’s cautionary elements—how companies secretly use people’s internet browsing histories to manipulate their purchases and the ways that propaganda spreads hate—the text also offers empowerment, showing kids how not to be manipulated, and concludes with a call to action to harness the power of trends for positive ends.
A must-read for the modern, viral-content age. (index, sources) (Nonfiction. 8-14)