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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 foodthe 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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Well, my first response is that the book, in its traditional form, has been as much of an idea generator as the Web or the city over the centuries. In part that was because it had been the best mechanism for storing and sharing information, before computers and networks came along. But also because the linear format of the book -- and the word count of most books -- allowed more complex and important arguments or observations to be presented. So I would hope we can preserve some of that linearity and that length in the digital age. But in general, I am exhilarated by all the new possibilities of the networked book. I wrote an essay for the WSJ journal a few years ago -- inspired actually by the Kindle I had just bought -- about where I thought the book was heading. Here's the link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123980920727621353.html
I thought the arguments were a bit weak. It seemed a bit of a stretch on an interestingly provocative premise.Published 18 days ago by Public Defender
Steven Johnson begins Everything Bad Is Good For You with a claim: "This book is an old-fashioned work of persuasion that ultimately aims to convince you of one thing: that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kali
A lot of the myths of video games and TV is proven false and it's very interesting to learn how everything that is thought to be bad for you is not as harmful as it is made out to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tarek
There were a few things that I thought were interesting, like the old fantasy baseball games and multi-threaded narratives, but otherwise the other 90% of the book was pretty banal... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mark Twain
I originally purchased this book for a university course, and ended up keeping it for my permanent collection. Read morePublished 10 months ago by maryfic
he did a good job explaining the complexity of popular culture but did not provide enough evidence to why it is making us smarterPublished 10 months ago by Karen Pavilando
We should be thankful that this book exists. Just look at the discussion it prompted on this page.
But to be thankful is not to agree. Read more
Did not know that I was ordering the hard-cover. Even so, I was ecstatic at the price of the book when I ordered. Very reasonable. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mathew T. Jordan
Steve Johnson brings upon the argument in this book that modern pop culture is vital to today's society. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Aleksandra16