Published by Penguin on June 16th 2015
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At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.
In general I like comedy. I have recently been reading more books by actors and comedians. When I saw Aziz Ansari had a book coming out I was pretty jazzed.
Because I didn’t bother to read the blurb I assumed like most other funny people books I read it was a memoir or funny essays on his life. But no this was Aziz, along with researchers and what not, looking at romance today. Hence the title, Modern Romance. Despite this not being the book I thought it was it was super interesting and because Aziz wrote it, it was also quite funny.
The whole concept is to look at how romance, dating, relationships and marriage have changed over time. A lot of the book focuses on the effect technology played in the changes. Some of the ways he points out are the role texting has played in communication and online dating as a way to find a partner. I like that he points out not only the bad ways it has changed things but also the good. And really how, in some ways, nothing has changed.
Another interesting thing he goes on about is how back in the day (he interviewed old people) a lot of couples met because they lived on the same block or in the same apartment complex. Now people meet from all over. Whether it be going away to college, moving away from work or through the internet.
I liked that he did talk about a lot of personal experiences. He talked about past dates, relationships as well as his current one.
And of course, he was funny. I listened to the audio so it was even funnier. Sometimes just listening to him cracks me up.
It was quick, interesting and funny. Totally worth picking up if you are looking for something a little different.