Mini-Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

mrTitle: Modern Romance

Author: Aziz Ansari

Publisher: Penguin Press

Source: Purchased

Check this book out on Goodreads.

Buy at: Chapters | Book Depository

5 stars copy

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. (Source: Goodreads)

In this book comedian Aziz Ansari takes on the world of dating and love in the modern world, and he does so with a scientific mind. This book is a full on research project about how love, dating, and marriage works in the modern world, and while it presents its findings with humor, it also does so with solid research and a knowledgeable voice. I found this book fascinating and fun, I could hardly put it down, even when it got into heavy and a little depressing areas like infidelity.

Ansari and his research team take readers through a number of topics. He presents the ways in which romance have changed through the course of history, particularly throughout the 20th century. I found this portion of the book especially fascinating. Then he looks at online dating, dating around the world, infidelity, open relationships, and many more topics. I think that while the book isn’t all encompassing (something Ansari is very open about) it did paint a pretty detailed picture of the North American dating scene especially.

I don’t know how to evaluate this book, honestly. I think it’s a really interesting read, I think the information is presented in a way that makes it accessible and easy to understand. I found the book funny, and quick to get through. I also found the book a little depressing. I think we all have fairly idealized hopes for love and marriage and reading the ways in which love really works now makes you realize how wrong your hopes might be. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, or that this book somehow presents the one and only formula for love, I just think it’s a little tough to see this but it’s interesting none the less.

This book is probably not what you’re expecting from Ansari, but honestly it’s such a good book, such an intensely interesting read that I don’t think it really matters that it’s not a humour book per se. I highly recommend this book.

Ramble on,

Have you read Modern RomanceLet me know your thoughts in the comments!
Check out Aziz Ansari at his website and Twitter.
Connect with me on Goodreads, BlogLovin, and Twitter.

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