52 in 52 Book Summaries

I Wear the Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman

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forces of habit book summary of I wear the black hat by Chuck Klosterman

forces of habit journal summary

I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman


The Essence

Cultural critic Chuck Klosterman addresses the veil of ignorance surrounding how people affect society. Using our unintuitive fascination with villainy, Chuck picks apart how we sway towards specific categorical qualities when distinguishing good and evil. He does so by using famous figures all throughout history—mostly modern—that we may have considered ‘evil’ and provides a perspective of the theme in a new light—one less bias by status quo. What’s good and bad is not as clear as we tend to make it. When we start thinking more like the person in the black hat, we start to see they aren’t as bad as it seems.

I Wear the Black Hat Summary Journal Entry:

This is my book summary of I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains by Chuck Klosterman. My notes are a reflection of the journal write up above. Written informally, the notes contain a mesh of quotes and my own thoughts on the book. The Journal write up also includes important messages and crucial passages from the book.

  • America is a look-based superficial society.
  • The medium is far more problematic than the message: how we view a piece of information, how it is distributed, drastically impacts our perception far before the actual substance of the matter is even considered.
  • The villain is the person who knows the most but cares the least.
  • Physical attraction alters our perception of someone whether we choose to accept it or not. “The way people look is so central to how we live that we’ve managed to collectively underrate it.”
  • Progressives, over time, are always the winners.
  • Favorite Quote: “I have slowly come to believe that overcoming this self-focused worldview is impossible, and that life can be experienced only through an imaginary mirror that allows us to occupy the center of a story no one is telling.”
  • The modern has been raised to personalize everything. No matter how irrelevant to their life, they obsessively personalize everything they encounter and absorb it as somehow related to their life experience.
  • “If you want to satirize the conditions of a society, going after the apex of the pyramid is a waste of time. You need to attack the bottom”.
  • Fiction is a type of one-way. We appreciate the detestable things when they are ‘fake’—not actually occurring to anyone. Yet, why do people then only support certain desirable things if they remain unreal? Such a double standard of application is confusing, yet interesting.
  • Refrain from drawing attention towards a collapse. Those who realize public remarks are going dreadfully and then apologize or draw attention to its occurrence are failing to realize perspective. Things have only fallen apart in your own mind and you have no reason to publicizes the matter other than to solidify its now fruition.
  • People consumed by lust make NO decisions… They just react—it is neither emotional nor intellectual. It is physical and unmanageable (at least at the time of the action).
  • Emotion is the intangible drug that passive audiences crave; we immerse ourselves in fictional drama to feel something we want (or miss) from real life.
  • Writing about others is really a form of writing about oneself. I feel Chuck mentioned this because a lot of the villainy he mentions is a representation of how he himself has protruded the standards of right and wrong.
  • We create what we want. Necessity is no longer. When we run out of things to need, we fill the gaps with our desires. Nothing new is ever created out of necessity, we only create what we want.

Reading Recommendations

If you liked what you saw. Here are 3 titles that I recommend based on what discussed in I Wear the Black Hat.

1. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

2. Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

3. But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past by Chuck Klosterman

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