Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
- Publication Date: June 16, 2015
- Non-fiction, humor, sociology, psychology, probably other words that end with “-ology”, relationships
- Warnings: If you’re looking for something super scientific or the manual to getting more dates, this probably isn’t the book for you.
“A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices
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.”
Let me be honest. I didn’t read this book, at least not in the traditional sense. I actually listened to the audiobook since I had wanted to read this book for awhile now but the only version available at my local library was via audio.
I’m not usually a big fan of audiobooks. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with listening to audiobooks. Some people, like my mom, find them really helpful to understand what they’re reading but usually for me, I start zoning out within the first five minutes or so, no matter how hard I try not to. However, the book is read by Aziz Ansari and if you know Ansari from his other works, you know it obviously wasn’t going to be read like some dry textbook. Plus, there’s just something about his voice that I just love…
But back to the actual subject of the book: it was a fun read, though not really mind blowing read. Ansari and Klinenberg mainly focused on heteronormative relationships, which they acknowledged due to them feeling that the books 277 pages would not be enough to properly explain other type of romantic relationships and their histories with the needed and proper respect. It would be cool though if they create a follow up to this books focusing more on those type of relationships but I can understand them wanting to not misrepresent those relationships by barely scraping the surface.
Throughout Modern Romance Ansari and Klinenberg talk with different groups of people – young and old – about their experiences with romantic relationships, from seniors who married their significant other because they seemed like a nice guy/gal and wanted to be out of their parent’s home to millennials today using dating apps to find “the one”.
Though the information shared in Modern Romance wasn’t significantly groundbreaking, it was interesting to hear about different people’s perspectives on dating. For example, according to Modern Romance, people around my mom’s age, 40 and up think, that texting someone to break up with them is in bad taste while people on the younger end of the millennial spectrum think that that’s totally fine. (I personally think you should at least call them over the phone but then again, I haven’t really had to break up with someone so…). These along with other anecdotal tales from the many people spoken to for the skae of the book along side Ansari’s comedic insights and own personal experience give a bit of flavor to a narrative that, though is interesting, is nothing really new or unexpected. I think anyone reading this will probably be reading it more so for Aziz Ansari’s commentary then the actual topic of the book. I mean, this book could be about poop and I would probably still check it out if Ansari had anything to do with it.
Overall, Modern Romance is good book if you want to take a break from more serious toned books but still want to read something that can still be somewhat meaningful. If you are a fan of Aziz Ansari’s other works like Parks and Recs and Masters of None then you would probably enjoy this book as well (or audiobook, because I honestly think Aziz’s reading of the book is just pure joy). Besides, don’t you think you should “treat yo self?” (Sorry, had to.)
What do you all think? Have you read Modern Romance already? Have any other book suggestions that I should add to my Saturday Reading List? Leave your thoughts behind in the comments. Just be respectful please.