Everything Bad is Good for You: How Popular Culture is Making Us Smarter Paperback – 6 Apr 2006
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"Revelatory...Daring...Finally, an intellectual who doesn t think we re headed down the toilet!" Washington Post Book World
"Persuasive...The old dogs won t be able to rest as easily once they ve read Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson s elegant polemic.... It s almost impossible not to agree with him." Walter Kirn, The New York Times Book Review
"A thought-provoking argument that today's allegedly vacuous media are, well, thought provoking...A brisk, witty read, well versed in the history of literature and bolstered with research...Johnson, it turns out, still knows the value of reading a book. And this one is indispensable." Time
"There is a pleasing eclecticism to [Johnson s] thinking. He is as happy analyzing Finding Nemo as he is dissecting the intricacies of a piece of software ... Johnson wants to understand popular culture in the very practical sense of wondering what watching something like The Dukes of Hazzard does to the way our minds work." Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
"The author Newsweek called one of the most influential people in cyberspace...is back. The beauty of Johnson s latest work beyond its engaging, accessible prose is that anyone with even a glancing familiarity with pop culture will come to the book ready to challenge his premise. Everything Bad Is Good for You anticipates and refutes nearly every likely claim, building a convincing case that media have become more complex and thus make our minds work harder." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Through a string of airtight, academic and very entertaining essays, Johnson maintains that prime-time TV is more intellectually engaging than ever." Time Out New York
"Sophisticated...nimble...strangely satisfying." Newsday
"Johnson s challenge to the oft-repeated lament that mass culture is dumbing down is as enlightening as it is necessary." BookForum
"Johnson may be the first mainstream writer to bring neuroscientific inquiry to 'The Apprentice'...It s scientific and literary rigor, couch-potato style." Chicago Tribune
"Johnson paints a convincing and literate portrait, and he shows himself to be a master of many disciplines, which deepens the well of his credibility." San Francisco Chronicle
"Engaging...Intriguing...Breezy and funny... Johnson is a forceful writer, and he makes a good case; his book is an elegant work of argumentation." Salon.com" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Steven Johnson is the author of the US bestseller Mind Wide Open. His previous book, Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, was named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, Amazon.com, and Discover Magazine. It was named as a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is also the author of the 1997 book, Interface Culture.
Johnson's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Harper's, and the Guardian, as well as on the op-ed pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He writes the monthly 'Emerging Technology' column for Discover magazine, and is a Contributing Editor to Wired. The co-founder of the award-winning web sites FEED and Plastic.com, Johnson teaches at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has degrees in Semiotics and English Literature from Brown and Columbia Universities.
Steven Johnson also hosts a web log at www.stevenberlinjohnson.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, a major flaw with this book as far as I see it is its concentration on America and American media. Whether older British television is indeed as simple compared to today's shows as Johnson claims American TV is, I cannot say; however, I suspect that at least some of our older television still challenges today's audiences. Equally, results of spurious IQ studies (with Johnson himself mentioning that IQ is not necessarily a good measure of intelligence) are entirely divorced from our culture. Having lived in America, I did understand most of the references to television shows, but there were still some which passed me by, unfortunately.
In terms of style the book is fairly heavy-going (at least initially) since it takes a more academic than casual tone. Certainly the term 'Sleeper Curve' is accurate as I fell asleep reading it a few times, and I felt more like I was ploughing through reams of justification than following a series of eloquent arguments.Read more ›
I no longer look at my children's fascination with playing computer games with such concern; it has not increased my viewing of TV (a medium I actually think too many people view with rose tinted historic spectacles given it formed such a key part of their early lives) but it has helped me appreciate the wider benefits of how TV series now operate and are structured versus the versions I saw as a child; plus the internet and its wider social impact is put into context with the end coverage that IQs are given these changes getting higher in the middle and lower zones of society if not so clearly helping the top intellectual end are well made even if you do not wholly agree everything.
The book is US centric but given the author's life, location and background that seems inevitable and indeed the beauty of the arguments presented for consideration is that you find yourself applying them to local UK TV programmes given the main messages are universal.
While the style is too academic at the start, once the writer warms to his subjects he does present well and in a very creative structure that interlocks across the book. Finally, the end section on summarising areas for further reading on the different topics is one of the best I have seen in such a small book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For my first non-fiction have enjoyed this much more then I thought, have given it five stars as I went into it thinking I might bore of it fast but it's fresh view has certainly... Read morePublished on 7 July 2014 by LeeM
Great idea of a book to look at new media from a different perspective, although I found it quite repetitive. Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2013 by giraffe
Several paragraphs of the preview chapter alone introduce a picture, diagram or other image which is simply absent, apparently not included in the electronic version. Read morePublished on 19 Nov. 2010 by Antbox
simply one of the best books i've ever read. it finally gave me valid arguments for things i knew to be true...Published on 5 July 2010 by ppferraz
Are you annoyed with classical music and classical literature fans who believe that they are somehow better, nobler, finer than the rest of us, just because everything they like is... Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2009 by Printul Noptilor
Very interesting and really sums up the current media debate! going to be really useful when starting by media uni course in september!Published on 26 April 2009 by Ms. Eilidh White
Johnson is one of my favourite writers; this might not be his best book, ('Emergence' is) but this is like spending a weekend with a fascinating eccentric, one whose arguments are... Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2008 by A. Stark