A landmark insider’s tour of how social media affects our decision-making and shapes our world in ways both useful and dangerous, with critical ideas on how to protect ourselves in the 2020 election and beyond
 
MIT professor Sinan Aral isn’t only one of the world’s leading experts on social media—he’s also an entrepreneur and investor, giving him an unparalleled 360-degree view of the technology’s great promise as well as its outsize capacity to damage our politics, our economy, and even our personal health. 

Drawing on two decades of his own research and business experience, Aral goes under the hood of the biggest, most powerful social networks to tackle the critical question of just how much social media actually shapes our choices, for better or worse. Aral shows how the tech behind social media offers the same set of behavior-influencing levers to both Russian hackers and brand marketers—to everyone who hopes to change the way we think and act—which is why its consequences affect everything from elections to business, dating to health. Along the way, he covers a wide array of topics, including how network effects fuel Twitter’s and Facebook’s massive growth to the neuroscience of how social media affects our brains, the real consequences of fake news, the power of social ratings, and the impact of social media on our kids.

In mapping out strategies for being more thoughtful consumers of social media, The Hype Machine offers the definitive guide to understanding and harnessing for good the technology that has redefined our world overnight.

This audiobook includes a bonus PDF of figures and graphs.
“This is the most important book of the year! Our friendships, economy, and society now depend on billions of social media connections, and no one on the planet understands them better than Sinan Aral. . . . A lively, engaging masterpiece.”—Erik Brynjolfsson, bestselling co-author of The Second Machine Age

“In a sea of books about social media, this is the one to read. Aral understands the new social age like no one else, and The Hype Machine offers the single best examination of how social media works and how we can make it better.”—Clint Watts, author of Messing with the Enemy

“An immensely interesting, informative, and provocative look at the biggest technological questions of our time, and the future of our democracy.”—Eli Pariser, bestselling author of The Filter Bubble

The Hype Machine is a riveting story of social media’s impact on how we live. Part spy novel and part science thriller, this book is an essential guide to ensuring our digital future.”—Jonah Berger, bestselling author of Contagious

“A breathtaking journey through the economics, technology, and behavioral psychology of how we can capture the promise of social media and avoid its peril.”—Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler and a Time Person of the Year for 2018

“Full of rigor and insight, The Hype Machine tackles some of the most pressing policy questions of the Digital Age while keeping you on the edge of your seat. . . . A must-read for policy makers, business executives, and parents alike.”—DJ Patil, former U.S. chief data scientist

“In this meticulous dissection of social media, Aral gives us a much-needed framework for understanding what happened in the 2016 election, and what will likely happen again if nothing changes.”—Scott Galloway, bestselling author of The Four

“A timely and far-reaching book of great interest to anyone concerned with building a healthy public sphere in the twenty-first century.”—Zeynep Tufekci, author of Twitter and Tear Gas