In books such as Plenitude, McCracken catalogued the explosion of new lifestyles and identities in North America and the developed world more generally. In his most recent volume, last year's Chief Culture Officer, McCracken argues that an understanding of how consumers play with their identities is key to making products that people want. His next book, Culturematic, will be published next year and examines how people create self-replicating cultural experiments that producers and audiences either dig or reject. One example: MTV's invention of reality television in 1992, just as the station's old programming model was beginning to flag. Out of a moment of desperation grew today's dominant form of serial TV.