Starstruck by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
The Business of Celebrity

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How was Nike able to take a gamble on an unknown Michael Jordan and transform itself from a $900 million company to a $9.19 billion company in less than fifteen years? Why did the artist Jeff Koons’s Balloon Flower (Magenta) sell for a record $25.7 million in 2008? What does the high school football star have in common with the Hollywood headliner? And why should an actor never, ever go to Las Vegas?

Celebrity—our collective fascination with particular people—is everywhere and takes many forms, from the sports star, notorious Wall Street tycoon, or film icon, to the hometown quarterback, YouTube sensation, or friend who compulsively documents his life on the Internet. We follow with rapt attention all the minute details of stars’ lives: their romances, their spending habits, even how they drink their coffee. For those anointed, celebrity can translate into big business and top social status, but why do some attain stardom while millions of others do not? Why are we simply more interested in certain people?

In Starstruck, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett presents the first rigorous exploration of celebrity, arguing that our desire to “celebrate” some people and not others has profound implications, elevating social statuses, making or breaking careers and companies, and generating astronomical dividends. Tracing the phenomenon from the art world to tabletop gaming conventions to the film industry, Currid-Halkett looks at celebrity as an expression of economics, geography (both real and virtual), and networking strategies.

Starstruck brings together extensive statistical research and analysis, along with interviews with top agents and publicists, YouTube executives, major art dealers and gallery directors, Bollywood players, and sports experts. Laying out the enormous impact of the celebrity industry and identifying the patterns by which individuals become stars, Currid-Halkett successfully makes the argument that celebrity is an important social phenomenon and a driving force in the worldwide economy.   


About Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

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Elizabeth Currid-Halkett is the author of The Warhol Economy and an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern California. She holds a PhD in urban planning from Columbia University and divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.
Published November 9, 2010 by Faber & Faber. 320 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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More than anything else, people respond to visual stimuli, which, to a large extent, explains Paris Hilton’s camera-friendly rise to become the “ultimate celebrity.” There’s also the relatively recent sphere of reality-TV stars, like the Gosselins or Kardashians—talentless people who captured the...

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Publishers Weekly

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Having made this point, the remainder of the book is reiteration, supported with diagrams and tables that seem unnecessary in supporting the incontrovertible conclusion that “celebrity ultimately hinges on whether we decide to pay attention or not.” A glimmer of interest flares on the penulti...

Aug 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Starstruck: The Business of C...


Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett (Faber and Faber).

Nov 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Starstruck: The Business of C...


Not limiting her analysis to stars like Jennifer Aniston and Paris Hilton, Currid-Halkett also discusses the artists Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst and sports stars Alex Rodriguez and David Beckham, among several others, to illustrate the value of creating that “something extra” in a public persona.

Nov 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Starstruck: The Business of C...

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