Walt Hickey presents YOU ARE WHAT YOU WATCH: How Movies and TV Affect Everything, with Alice Wilder

Graphic in orange for Walt Hickey's book event for You Are What You Watch on Thursday, November 9.

Thursday, November 9, 2023 - Signing Line at 5:30 pm, Talk begins at 6:00 pm

Scroll down to order your book and please indicate in the comments if you’d like 1-2 seats held for you at the event!

Flyleaf will offer seating for up to 70 in-person guests, with priority access given to folks who purchase the book.


Pulitzer Prize-winning author and data expert Walt Hickey explains the power of entertainment to change our biology, our beliefs, how we see ourselves, and how nations gain power.

Virtually anyone who has ever watched a profound movie, a powerful TV show, or read a moving novel understands that entertainment can and does affect us in surprising and significant ways. But did you know that our most popular forms of entertainment can have a direct physical effect on us, a measurable impact on society, geopolitics, the economy, and even the future itself? In You Are What You Watch, Walter Hickey, Pulitzer Prize winner and former chief culture writer at acclaimed data site FiveThirtyEight.com, proves how exactly how what we watch (and read and listen to) has a far greater effect on us and the world at large than we imagine.

Employing a mix of research, deep reporting, and 100 data visualizations, Hickey presents the true power of entertainment and culture. From the decrease in shark populations after Jaws to the increase in women and girls taking up archery following The Hunger Games, You Are What You Watch proves its points not just with research and argument, but hard data. Did you know, for example, that crime statistics prove that violent movies actually lead to less real-world violence? And that the international rise of anime and Manga helped lift the Japanese economy out of the doldrums in the 1980s? Or that British and American intelligence agencies actually got ideas from the James Bond movies?

In You Are What You Watch, readers will be given a nerdy, and sobering, celebration of popular entertainment and its surprising power to change the world.


Walt Hickey is Insider’s senior editor for data. Formerly, he was chief culture writer at FiveThirtyEight. He also writes Numlock News, a daily stat-based newsletter full of stories about everything from solar-powered helicopters to Facebook’s AI. He won a 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Illustrated Reporting for a story he edited about escaping a Uyghur work camp in China.

Alice Wilder is a Tar Heel living in Durham with her small dog June. Alice spends most of her time gardening, powerlifting and grilling hot dogs for her friends. She also works as a podcast producer and reporter. Her work has been featured in ProPublica, New York Public Radio, New York Magazine and The New Yorker. Her favorite reality TV show is Survivor.

Event date: 
Thursday, November 9, 2023 - 5:30pm
Event address: 
752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
You Are What You Watch: How Movies and TV Affect Everything By Walter Hickey Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781523515899
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Workman Publishing Company - October 24th, 2023