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The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy Paperback – Bargain Price, June 29, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (June 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452296196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452296190
  • ASIN: B004LQ0I92
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,680,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Delightful and provocative."
-Newsweek.com

"Tyler Cowen has written one of the most stimulating defenses of Internet information culture."
-"The American"

"A tour de force."
-Robert H. Frank, author of "The Economic Naturalist"

About the Author

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He is a prominent blogger at marginalrevolution.com, the world’s leading economics blog. He also writes regularly for The New York Times, and has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wilson Quarterly.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Norman DeLisle on July 29, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Age of the Infovore" is economist Tyler Cowen's personal panegyric to the cognitive abilities of people on the autism spectrum, and their critical importance in an age of endlessly flowing and incoherent information. He discovered his place on the autism spectrum when an adult with autism suggested the possibility. He has embraced his neurodiversity and explored it's possibilities and the contributions that people who are neurodiverse make to our society.

The central cognitive dimension that Cowen examines is the drive to create order that characterises many neurodiverse people. This drive allows such individuals to focus on a single arena of the world, and to bring a depth and scope of understanding to that arena that neurotypical people find very difficult. Sometimes the focus seems out of step with the larger society, and sometimes it seems prescient. In any event, it is driven by the internal experience of the person, and the activity brings great meaning to that person, and can do so to others (see how much of our entertainment focuses on collections).

I know in my heart what Tyler Cowen means.

I learned to read at the age of four and got my library card at the age of 6. From that first discovery of an infinite world of knowledge, I relentlessly tried to learn everything. I read whenever I wasn't asleep, and when I wouldn't be punished for it. I read everything regardless of topic. I often carried 2 or 3 books with me as I moved through my world. I won an award at a Catholic elementary school for a poem I wrote that praised science as the ultimate source of knowledge.

I was hooked.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Murray A. Sondergard on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Potential readers should be aware that this book is Cowen's badly titled "Create Your Own Economy", published last year, under a different name. This is only made clear when you look at the small print at the bottom of the cover of the book (caveat emptor, I suppose). When I read this book under its original title, I found it to be long on autism, short on "succeeding in the information economy". I still don't think that the book title is an accurate reflection of the content.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Kinchen on August 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Age of the Infovore'

Reviewed By David M. Kinchen

A few years ago, relates Tyler Cowen, author of "The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy" (Plume Books, an imprint of Penguin Books, 259 pages, index, notes, bibliography, $16.00), a woman named Kathleen Fasanella asked the author if he was an Asperger's Disorder person or a high-functioning autistic.

He relates the anecdote in his quality paperback book, a work that stretched my thinking like the best books of the late, great Neil Postman (1931-2003, especially "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and "The End of Education.")

Fasanella, a devoted reader of Cowen's website, [...], described herself as an "Aspie," the current shorthand for people with Asperger's Disorder, Cowen said. At first he was shocked to be so described, but he writes that in the years since receiving the e-mail he's become comfortable with autism, "and indeed proud of it, but it's not a thought I was ready for at the time."

In the six or seven years since he received Fasanella's e-mail, the world has been transformed into a universe of information, overwhelming many of us, but not autistics, Cowen writes: "Autistics are the true infovores, as I will call them. They have the tendency to impose additional structure on information by the acts of arranging, organizing, classifying, collecting, memorizing, categorizing, and listing."

He posits that many of the geniuses of the past and present have had more than a touch of autism, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. Both Doyle and his famous fictional detective exhibited the traits of someone with autism, albeit the high-functioning kind like that of Temple Grandin.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Taxy on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Original, well-written, thought-provoking. Would have been nice to have more suggestions about how specifically one might improve one's ability to categorize, organize and otherwise succeed. Still, an excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris on October 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand a bit about autism. It skillfully connects our neurologies with the rise of the information age. I was disappointed at first the the subject matter seemed to be to far afield of the title, but was pleased that I was given the economics 'treatment' I was looking to initially purchase.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don McGowan on October 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read and enjoyed Tyler Cowan's other books. What's not clear either from the editorial reviews or the other user reviews I've seen is: this book is about (a) how autistic people think and (b) why Cowan thinks it's better-suited to the information economy than non-autistic thought processes. I'm not sure I know how many people can learn to be autistic: I had thought it's something that's hard-wired into your brain. Presumably not being autistic is equally hard-wired. So if being autistic is better-suited for the information economy, what exactly are the non-autistic supposed to do about it? This whole premise seems engineered as a post hoc ergo propter hoc justification for why Cowan is smart and thinks he might be autistic.

That was the question that bugged me while I was reading. Perhaps a bigger point is that the book seems to beg the question: is being autistic actually more-suited to an information economy than not being autistic? Economists usually err on the side of trusting data that shouldn't be trusted; here, Cowan doesn't seem to have a whole lot of data. He just thinks intuitively that it must be right. Again, this could be interesting to some people, so if what I'm describing sounds awesome then you should buy this.
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