You Are What You Watch

How Movies and TV Affect Everything


By Walter Hickey

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$39.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD
  2. ebook $14.99 $19.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 24, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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, 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.

  • “Pulitzer Prize winner Hickey presents a refreshing analysis of media consumption… A worthy, fun dissection of pop culture that’s full of infographics and data.”
    Library Journal, starred review
  • "Hickey’s argument is cogent and original and couched informally, with palpable enthusiasm. He enlivens his research with witty opinions, amusing digressions, and arresting visuals... Hickey’s lighthearted approach will prove especially enticing for fellow data heads and devotees of pop culture.”
  • “The trivia surprises and the bounty of colorful charts and graphs offer fun insight into popular culture. This is a blast.”
    – Publishers Weekly
  • “Every page is lovingly written, reported, charted, and graphed in a way that only Walt Hickey could do.”
    Nate Silver

On Sale
Oct 24, 2023
Page Count
240 pages

Walter Hickey

About the Author

Walt Hickey is Insider’s senior editor for data. Formerly, he was chief culture writer at FiveThirtyEight. He also writes Numlock News, a daily stat-based newsletter full of stories about everything from solar-powered helicopters to Facebook’s AI. He won a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Illustrated Reporting for a story he edited about escaping a Uyghur work camp in China.

Learn more about this author