"Jason Benlevi has written a terrific book.
Too Much Magic
is a revealing look at the secrets of digital life in a work that all
readers can enjoy. I couldn't put it down."
--- John F. Rothmann - KGO News Talk Radio - San Francisco "It Starts The Discussion We Need to Be Having"
"Jason Benlevi gives critical warnings on how digital technology is magically entrancing us. Without realizing it, we are handing over our privacy, freedoms and way of life on a massive scale, without so much as a backwards glance."
---Adam Klugman Radio Host, Mad as Hell in AmericaAn insider's perceptive look at how digital tech is consuming the consumer.
In fast-moving text replete with engaging ad-like chapter headings, Benlevi traces the rise of digital technology and the manner in which it has been sold to the consumer. An entertaining, insightful book that a digitally dependent reader won't soon forget.
--- Kirkus Review"Five Stars! Well-deserving of a large audience.
There are many books about loss of privacy, civil rights, and the effects of video violence. This might just be the best of the lot... excellent examination on just what all those nifty, shiny little phones and tablets are actually doing behind their screens."
- The San Francisco Book Review
From the Author
Five Questions about Too Much Magic. Q. There seem to be a lot of books lately raising alarms about the Internet, what's different about your book?
A. Well, really there are two things that are different. Firstly, the digitization of our lives is a much broader issue than just the Internet...and there is a tendency in most books to narrow the discussion down to just one issue, say privacy, or education. Too Much Magic is a much more holistic approach that shows how all these digital touch points connect into an ecosystem that is more pervasive, and actually invasive.
Secondly, most books on tech culture are really an inner dialog among academics, marketeers and the digerati class, and they are a set of debating points, the kind of stuff that makes the authors great candidates for industry conferences, but often is just academic. They really are not addressing the human experiences of digital life the way that the rest of us are living it. This book is very inclusive and intuitive for people to understand. When I read the book to people I see a lot of heads nodding. Q. Given that you've been involved in this business for a while are you making enemies?
A. Let me be clear, I am a long-time lover of technology, I'm just not thrilled with the models that are evolving that are more focused on monetization for what are actually trivial applications of tech...or turning everything we do into just one more way to target people with advertising. We can do better. Q. The Cult of Tech makes it sound rather conspiratorial. Isn't that a bit farfetched?
Not a conspiracy, but certainly an alignment of self-serving mutual interests. That's what the "cult of tech" is really about. Like the financial industry, it has become extremely self-serving and seeks to intimidate those that are not "in the know." Just as banks became "too big to fail" without our being able to challenge that consolidation, we now have network and media companies that are "too big to trust." And there are interlocking interests that purposely misguide people.
The self-promotion is pretty shameless. Such as the game designer telling us that reality is broken and only game play can save us. Which is just an absurd notion given that the game industry has unleashed social dysfunction on an unprecedented scale...and the games are really unimaginative. Sure the graphics get better, but the gameplay is the same as it was 20 years ago. Shooting and driving. Braindead. And now our movies are starting to look like games. Q. With most development these days focusing on social media, do you feel that it actually has any value?
A. I think it has huge value for people to maintain connections with friends and associates...the troubling thing is that companies like Facebook are more interested in mining your social life to target you with ads than in creating a good experience. Also, as in the dotcom days, the circus is in town, and there are newly minted social media "experts" who have never actually done any work other than promote themselves, their books and conferences via social media. Q. You yourself continue to be involved in the Tech industry. Why?
A. It's all about change. Both good and bad. Originally the digital revolution was about Macs and PCs breaking us away from big computing...but the cloud is really a return to the bad old days of centralized services. Another bad change is how people feel that they need to be constantly connected or they have anxiety attacks.
Technology can solve a lot of problems, but the technologies often get too far out in front of the sociology. That said, I am still optimistic. If I wasn't I wouldn't have bothered writing the book.