Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge

by Michael Chwe

Selected for Facebook's A Year of Books

"The book is about the concept of 'common knowledge' and how people process the world not only based on what we personally know, but what we know other people know and our shared knowledge as well. This is an important idea for designing social media, as we often face tradeoffs between creating personalized experiences for each individual and crafting universal experiences for everyone."

—Mark Zuckerberg

"Communal activities, with lots of emotional and symbolic content . . . serve a rational purpose, argues Michael Suk-Young Chwe . . . [His] work, like his own academic career, bridges several social sciences."

—Virginia Postrel, New York Times

"A gem of an idea. . . . The originality of Chwe's thinking, and his courage in stepping over the boundaries of academic disciplines, deserve admiration."

—Tilman Börgers, Economica

book cover