Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter

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9780141018683: Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter

We're constantly being told that popular culture is just mindless entertainment - but, as Steven Johnson shows in Everything Bad is Good for You, it's actually making us more intelligent. Steven Johnson puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. He shows that mass culture - The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto - is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before. When we focus on what our minds have to do to process its complex, multilayered messages, it becomes clear that it's not dumbing us down - but smartening us up. 'As witty as Seinfeld and as wise as ER' New Statesman 'Wonderfully entertaining' Malcolm Gladwell 'A vital, lucid exploration of the contemporary mediascape' Time Out 'A guru for Generation Xbox' Financial Times 'A must-read' Mark Thompson, former Director-General of the BBC Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, and Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, Amazon.com, and Discover Magazine, and a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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In his fourth book, Everything Bad Is Good for You, iconoclastic science writer Steven Johnson (who used himself as a test subject for the latest neurological technology in his last book, Mind Wide Open) takes on one of the most widely held preconceptions of the postmodern world--the belief that video games, television shows, and other forms of popular entertainment are detrimental to Americans' cognitive and moral development. Everything Good builds a case to the contrary that is engaging, thorough, and ultimately convincing.

The heart of Johnson's argument is something called the Sleeper Curve--a universe of popular entertainment that trends, intellectually speaking, ever upward, so that today's pop-culture consumer has to do more "cognitive work"--making snap decisions and coming up with long-term strategies in role-playing video games, for example, or mastering new virtual environments on the Internet-- than ever before. Johnson makes a compelling case that even today's least nutritional TV junk food–the Joe Millionaires and Survivors so commonly derided as evidence of America's cultural decline--is more complex and stimulating, in terms of plot complexity and the amount of external information viewers need to understand them, than the Love Boats and I Love Lucys that preceded it. When it comes to television, even (perhaps especially) crappy television, Johnson argues, "the content is less interesting than the cognitive work the show elicits from your mind."
Johnson's work has been controversial, as befits a writer willing to challenge wisdom so conventional it has ossified into accepted truth. But even the most skeptical readers should be captivated by the intriguing questions Johnson raises, whether or not they choose to accept his answers. --Erica C. Barnett

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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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We re constantly being told that popular culture is just mindless entertainment - but, as Steven Johnson shows in Everything Bad is Good for You, it s actually making us more intelligent. Steven Johnson puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. He shows that mass culture - The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto - is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before. When we focus on what our minds have to do to process its complex, multilayered messages, it becomes clear that it s not dumbing us down - but smartening us up. As witty as Seinfeld and as wise as ER New Statesman Wonderfully entertaining Malcolm Gladwell A vital, lucid exploration of the contemporary mediascape Time Out A guru for Generation Xbox Financial Times A must-read Mark Thompson, former Director-General of the BBC Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, and Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, , and Discover Magazine, and a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141018683

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. We re constantly being told that popular culture is just mindless entertainment - but, as Steven Johnson shows in Everything Bad is Good for You, it s actually making us more intelligent. Steven Johnson puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. He shows that mass culture - The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto - is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before. When we focus on what our minds have to do to process its complex, multilayered messages, it becomes clear that it s not dumbing us down - but smartening us up. As witty as Seinfeld and as wise as ER New Statesman Wonderfully entertaining Malcolm Gladwell A vital, lucid exploration of the contemporary mediascape Time Out A guru for Generation Xbox Financial Times A must-read Mark Thompson, former Director-General of the BBC Steven Johnson is the bestselling author of Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, and Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, , and Discover Magazine, and a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141018683

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Book Description Penguin Books. Book Condition: New. The author puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. In this title, he shows that mass culture - "The Simpsons", "Desperate Housewives", "The Apprentice", "The Sopranos", "Grand Theft Auto" - is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before. Num Pages: 256 pages, Illustrations. BIC Classification: JFCA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 127 x 17. Weight in Grams: 194. . 2010. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780141018683

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