The Breakfast Table

Everybody’s Doing It

Dear Margaret,

Question: How much do we all read and watch because we know others are reading and watching the same thing? I can tell you that the prime driver of any business publication (like the American Lawyer was) is defensive reading. Lawyers read it because they knew everyone else was and didn’t want to feel stupid or unprepared when their colleagues brought it up at lunch or in partners’ meeting or in court.

But what about the converse, and what about other types of media, the stuff we watch or read just to be informed or be entertained? Do we care less about news that no one talks about? Less about a great book that we know our friends aren’t reading? Or do we just feel smarter?