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High Tech High Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning Hardcover – October 19, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway; 1 edition (October 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903837
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The great irony of the high-tech age is that we've become enslaved to devices that were supposed to give us freedom. That's why in High Tech/High Touch, John Naisbitt decided to revisit a chapter from Megatrends, his 1982 bestseller, in which he discussed the split between high tech and what he dubbed "high touch."

We all know what high tech is--these are the technologies that "make us available 24 hours a day, like a convenience store," Naisbitt writes. He says we live in a "technologically intoxicated zone," the symptoms of which include a continual search for quick fixes and lives that are "distanced and distracted." High touch, on the other hand, is the stuff we give up when we're tuned in to the technological world: hope and fear and longing, love and forgiveness, nature and spirituality. To discover where the twain shall meet, Naisbitt takes us on a journey that includes Celebration, Florida, the Disney-created community that was fully wired from the get-go; Martha Stewart, who shows people with complicated lives how to enjoy simple tasks like gardening; extreme sports and adventure travel, in which ordinary people expose themselves to the full fury of nature and gravity. And that's all just the first quarter of the book; Naisbitt goes on to look at how video games desensitize children to violence; the challenges the human genome project presents to religion and spirituality; and, finally, "specimen art," in which artists create disturbing images of life, death and human sexuality.

There's no conclusion, in the traditional sense, only a look at what's happening in our world. But the reader will probably take some sort of action after finishing High Tech/High Touch: switching off the cell phone for a few hours a day; permanently locking away the children's violent Nintendo games; maybe even booking a vacation at the most remote location possible. Anything to get away from the constant buzz of a wired world. --Lou Schuler

From Publishers Weekly

What do Martha Stewart, genetically cloned sheep and the scandalous Piss Christ artist Andres Serrano have in common? They're all manifestations of "high tech/high touch," an unwieldy concept pulled from Naisbitt's bestselling 1982 Megatrends and here dusted off as a cautionary paradigm for the technologically addled 1990s. Written collaboratively with Naisbitt's daughter, Nana, with additional help from artist Douglas Philips, the book draws on Naisbitt's indefatigable research techniques to spot trends in newspapers, television shows, magazines and the Internet. Naisbitt is concerned with the conundrums that technology has presented to American culture. Children soak up violence from video games like Redneck Rampage, while the specter of eugenics looms over the burgeoning biotech industry. A final section lightens the cautionary tone of much of this book, delivering an eloquent survey of artists who are probing the ethical questions raised by evolving medical practices. Naisbitt sees Americans trapped in what he calls a "Technology Intoxication Zone," and he urges people to unplug their laptops long enough to rediscover the simplicity of starry nights and snowfallsAand remember what it means to be human. Naisbitt at least raises questions about the effects of technology on culture and the spirit that the authors of The Long Boom (reviewed above) seem to think are a waste of valuable bandwidth. $125,000 ad/promo; 7-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

The entire book is like that.
G.
In High Tech - High Touch, a new book by John Naisbitt and coauthors Nana Naisbitt and Doug Philips, the questions of the next millennium are raised.
Kevin Giovanetto
While I think a few of the issues were oversimplified, this book was also well researched and most importantly- it makes you think.
C. Joan Villanueva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Giovanetto on October 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In High Tech - High Touch, a new book by John Naisbitt and coauthors Nana Naisbitt and Doug Philips, the questions of the next millennium are raised. The authors do not answer these questions, but they urge us to begin discussing them. Where are we taking technology or is it taking us? Has technology fulfilled its promise of giving us more leisure time or has it made our lives busier and more complex? Is the line between real and virtual blurring and if it is what does that mean to our children and our society? Are we on the verge of a leap in evolution through genetic engineering or will we tinker with life and create monsters like Dr. Frankenstein? Will religion and science find ways to understand and appreciate each other or will they continue their bitter battle over the turf of truth? And what does the Specimen Art movement say about who we are and where we're going? High Tech - High Touch is a fascinating exploration of these and other significant questions of our time. I highly recommend it to everyone living on our little island in space.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By G. on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't read this book. It will confuse you into thinking that the world of technology is dangerous and emotionally painful, without every actually explaining to you how or why. The only reason I don't give it fewer stars is that it's real easy to read. The problem is, it doesn't actually say anything.
I'm doing my master's thesis on how technology effects human experience of meaning, and I was really looking forward to this book as a layman's thought-provoking look at the subject. By the time I was halfway through it, I was ready to bang my head against a wall. There's just no substance, no logical progression of thought-the whole thing is full of semi-neurotic, somewhat morbid emotional appeals (e.g. naming a section about video games "From Pingpong to Murder") and unsupported logical jumps. The author clearly passionately believes that using technology isn't "soul enriching," and that using it so much is driving us into the arms of numb, addictive distractions; he bases the whole book on those assumptions without ever making a case for why they're true.
High Tech, High Touch is constructed more like a repetitious epic poem of lamentation than it is any real discussion of anything. Long laundry lists of statements, both of facts and of melancholy poetic conjecture, which never build to any kind of analysis. Example, on p. 45:
"The most dangerous promise of technology is that it will make our children smarter. President Bill Clinton's 1996 State of the Union address proclaimed 'the Internet in every classroom' to be a noble goal. Access to information will not teach synthesis and analysis. School expenditures in information technology reached [a high number] in 1997, yet at the same time programs for music and the arts were defunded. [sic]" (p. 45)
That sounds pretty bad, right?
Read more ›
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Phil Chien on February 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Recently I always keep asking myself a question: " Are we addicted to the Internet world too much?" This book raises some good questions for us to begin to think about: 1. Do we favor the quick fix, from religion to nutrition? 2. Do we fear and worship technology? 3. Do we blur the distinction between real and fake? 4. Do we accept violence as normal? 5. Do we love technology as a toy? 6. Do we live our lives distanced and distracted?
Reading this book is a very good beginning to look for signs of these symptoms in the world we live as well as in our culture. "Technology always originates from human nature."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GraberDC on May 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In Megatrends Mr. Naisbitt discussed the correlation between the human need to balance the high technological advances we achieve with a need to obtain a personal and humanistic approaches to our lives. Hence, impersonal and mechanistic high tech medicine correlates with the rise of personal vitalistic types of alternative medicine; personal computers have inundated our homes, but the #1 use of them is e-mail and now the lost art of letter writing is being reborn in an electronic form; the voluntary simplicity movement as an antidote to technologically induced lifestyle complexity. I expected that this book would continue in this vein, but it was more of how technology is further unbalancing us and depersonalizing us.
If you're looking for a book that justifies being a modern Luddite, or a warning for where we may be heading, this book is good for you. It's a good book at explaining alot of current trends in our technologically dependent culture, but not what the title lead me to expect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a lot of books written on technology and our interaction with it since this book was published. Certainly look at Neil Postman, Sherry Turkle, Nicholas Carr, Nancy Baym, to name a few. High Tech/High Touch was defined as "the conscious integration of technology into our lives" (p. xvi). Some of the authors I mentioned and many others continue to explore the intersection (integration?) of technology and human behaviors particularly identity, relationships, communication, and sense of community.

Naisbitt and Philips assume from the start the existence of a Technologically Intoxicated Zone characterized by 1) favoring the quick fix; 2) fear and worship of technology; 3) blurred distinctions between real and fake; 4) acceptance of violence as normal; 5) love of technology as a toy; and 6) distanced and distracted (p. 13). As a starting point, these filters influence the analysis and discussion contained herein on a range of topics including: the influence of technology, military-Nintendo games, violence, and impact, genetic technology and concerns surrounding it; death, sex, and the body.

Even though this is an older read - I marveled at how the questions and concerns are still discussed today with no clear answers or outcomes.
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