Modern Romance (Aziz Ansari & Eric Klinenberg)

>>>>  Nº 14 on My 2015 Reading Challenge – A non-fiction book #2 <<<<

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s most popular and 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 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.


I first became aware of this book when Aziz when on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I never watched Parks & Rec, and I never saw anything with him, though I had a general idea of who this person was. I didn’t know however that he was a biologist, that sparked my attention, and then the description of the book got me hooked.

See, contrary to what most people who see the book in various bookshelves think, this is not an autobiography, or even a humour book. It is a real sociological investigation, and the scientist in me was tingling to get my hands on this book. After listening to Tina Fey‘s audiobook, I thought this would be a perfect way to “read” this one as well.

BEST. DECISION. EVER! Aziz is funny as hell, and the book, which by the way is amazeballs, is even better when is read by him. What he and Eric Klinenberg did was establish what has changed in the dating world in the last few decades, the why and how does it affect us and the relationships we have. It’s a bit daunting!

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It all comes down to how before marriage was viewed as a coming together of family and funds, money, lands, with the clear objective of contentment and progeny. Today’s views are nothing like that… we’re searching for our soul-mates.

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He mentions how we now have much more choices than people had in the old days, we have a whole new phase of our lives that didn’t exist years back, when we are adults and independent. We also have something more: internet and smart-phones.

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Yeah, today there are so many choices that nobody wants to “settle”, but it also induces people to believe they are settling, because it makes us believe that there’s something “better” out there. Is this really better than decades ago? Can we truly be happy if we’re convinced that someone better might be just around the corner?

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Oh yeah, and how much easier is it to say stuff online and on our phones? Stuff that we probably would not say face to face? This is a huge problem with today’s society, how when he are behind a screen we all become braver and bolder (and sometimes, a whole lot stupider).

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I completely loved this book. I loved the work behind it. I didn’t see it (as many did) as a dating advice book, sure, it will red flag a few things for you, for me it was how I wouldn’t want to live in Argentina! Also, many people were shocked by some statistics, but people, that’s statistics for you, just because you don’t agree with them, doesn’t mean they’re not true!

Seriously, all love for this book/audiobook! I will be obtaining a physical copy of it as soon as I can get it. Yeah! I loved it that much!

Rating: 5 Stars

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