Although this article was published over a month ago, we want to refresh those that read it, and introduce it to those that didn’t. Duncan Watts, a professor of sociology...

Although this article was published over a month ago, we want to refresh those that read it, and introduce it to those that didn’t.

Duncan Watts, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, suggests that even though industry experts and trend-watchers have countless years of experience, pop-culture mega-hits are quite simply, impossible to predict.

Because it is always possible, after the fact, to come up with a story about why things worked out the way they did — that the first “Harry Potter” really was a brilliant book, even if the eight publishers who rejected it didn’t know that at the time — our belief in determinism is rarely shaken, no matter how often we are surprised. But just because we now know that something happened doesn’t imply that we could have known it was going to happen at the time, even in principle, because at the time, it wasn’t necessarily going to happen at all.

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION CONTENT
This content is available for Premium Subscribers only.
Already a subscriber? Log in