You May Also Like

Taste In An Age Of Endless Choice

Published by Knopf

you may also likeFrom the best-selling author of Traffic, an enlightening and illuminating look at why we like the things we like, why we hate the things we hate, and what our preferences reveal about us.

Why is showing up to work wearing the same outfit as a coworker so embarrassing? Why do we venerate so many artists who were controversial or ignored during their lifetimes? What makes an ideal cat an ideal cat, or an ideal beer an ideal beer, in the eyes of expert judges? From the tangled underpinnings of our food taste to our unsettling insecurity before unfamiliar works of art to the complex dynamics of our playlists and the pop charts, our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces. And in the digital age, a nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars” is helping dictate our choices. Taste has moved online—there are more ways than ever for us, and companies, to see what and how we are consuming. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies, how to spot a fake Yelp review, or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.

With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. Comprehensively researched and singularly insightful, You May Also Like is a joyous intellectual journey that helps us better understand how we perceive, judge, and appreciate the world around us.


  • “With significant research and a lot of curiosity and amusement, Tom Vanderbilt engagingly dissects the origin and evolution of our personal tastes.”
    Shelf Awareness
  • “We live in an age of bewildering choice, yet we are the sum total of our decisions. You May Also Like is my favorite kind of book— surprising, smart, and superbly researched. It tackles that most mysterious of subjects: what make us tick.”
    — Terry O’Reilly, author of The Age of Persuasion and host of CBC radio show Under the Influence
  • “The danger in reading You May Also Like is that when you finally put Tom Vanderbilt’s book down, you probably think he’s just made you the most interesting person in the room.”
    — Faith Salie, author Approval Junkie and panelist of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
  • “A fascinating romp through the mysteries of taste.”
    — Susan Pinker, author of The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect
  • “You May Also Like is the best kind of science writing — deeply reported and researched, a witty investigation that’s precisely to my taste.”
    — Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think
  • “An in intensive investigation of what we like, why we like it and why sometimes it’s so hard to decide… [V]anderbilt delivers the explanations with ample documentation and enough humorous asides to make his book deliciously palatable the whole way through.”
  • “Essential for readers who are interested in getting a glimpse of the decision-making process at influential online media companies, as well as those who are interested in the processes that govern individual preferences and taste making.”
    Library Journal
  • “Entertaining … an extremely convincing effort.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Reading this book will cause readers to think twice before clicking “like” on Facebook, rating a film on Netflix, or ordering what the server says is the menu’s most popular item.”
    Publishers Weekly
  • “His key takeaway is that taste remains a complex and erratic phenomenon that’s endlessly shifting according to environmental, physical, and—echoing Bourdieu—social pressures… Vanderbilt is a skillful synthesizer, and You May Also Like is full of unexpected connections among seemingly disparate ideas.”
    Bloomberg Businessweek
  • “[Vanderbilt is] an amiable and thorough guide to a subject that can get either fussy or murky fairly quickly, and he has an obsessive determination to get to the bottom of something we exercise so often and unthinkingly we tend to take it for granted.”
    — The New York Times Book Review
  • “Compelling… a brave and timely investigation by the bestselling author of Traffic.”
    —Bruce Philip, The National Post (Canada)
  • “As Vanderbilt explores the enigmatic forces driving these decisions, he paints an engaging, multilayered, often contradictory picture of taste.”
    —Benjamin Leszcz, The Globe and Mail (Canada)
  • “[Vanderbilt] goes behind the scenes at companies whose apps and algorithms have come to inflect, if not entirely direct, the way we conduct our lives, presenting data that will be new to most of us, along with explanations for sociological phenomena one might not have even guessed there were explanations for.”
    —Jessica Johnson, The New Republic

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