science | June 15, 2015

The Comedian & the Sociologist: Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg tackle Modern Romance

Stand-up powerhouse and Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari releases his first book today, Modern Romance—a hilarious, thought-provoking look at dating. To write it, Ansari star teamed up with NYU sociology professor (and Lavin speaker) Eric Klinenberg. Together, the comedian and the sociologist designed a massive research project spanning hundreds of interviews across continents, from Witchita, Kansas to Tokyo, Japan.

Helen Fisher, Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute, writes, “Ansari and Klinenberg elegantly capture the entirely new ways that singles communicate, court, and find love today.” Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, striking at the core of the book's pull, writes, “Not only did I laugh my ass off, I really learned stuff.”

In the (very funny) video embedded above, Klinenberg and Ansari discuss their collaboration at an invitation-only book launch at the Strand bookstore in New York City.

In his previous book, Going Solo, Klinenberg charted the social and economic impact of one of the least talked-about aspects of modern culture: the staggering increase in people who choose to live alone, well into adulthood. Earlier this decade, Time pegged this trend—“Living Alone is the New Norm”—as the No. 1 Idea of the Year, with Klinenberg penning the cover story.

An excerpt from the publisher:

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? 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.

[In Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg] 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. It combines Ansari's irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

To book Eric Klinenberg as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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