By Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg
Penguin, 2015, 277 pages, Nonfiction/Humor
How has technology changed the way we find love? That’s the question comedian Aziz Ansari (Parks & Rec) asked sociologist Eric Klinenberg. Together, the two interviewed experts and laypeople alike, trying to figure out what the modern dating scene really looks like.
Ansari had an impressive goal here. His could have been just another funny book written by an up-and-coming funny person. Instead, he tackles scientific research and presents it in a way that’s very approachable, and yes, funny. He starts by looking at how our idea of romance has changed over the last hundred years, then zeroes in on the positive and negative sides of modern dating practices. While this book is not for everyone (language, Mr. Ansari!), this book did make me think about how I present myself online; whether that’s on social media or even through a simple text message.
Listening to the audio book version really helped Ansari’s sense of humor shine through. He pauses where he expects a laugh, and reads all of the quotes in extremely exaggerated voices. He also occasionally wanders slightly off-script to berate the listener for listening to the book instead of reading it.
(For those who are curious about the book but are wary about the content, I mostly got interested after listening to an online book talk with both Ansari and Klinenberg. The one I found covered the first half of the book pretty well.)