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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 America
An 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
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Not only did this content really open my eyes about how the World around us is changing as we become smartphone and social networking dependent (this statement comes from a DC area super-wired rocket scientist who jumped on the web with a 14.4 modem in 1994 and never looked back), its content also showed me that the motivations underlying and underpinning the portable digital age has far more implications than what one sees on the surface, a truly Titanic iceberg lurking below, that is important to be realized exists.
But great content is nothing if its not fun to read; I have tried to digest other books on this subject and couldnt get through them (and this comes from a Mechanical Engineer that reads Space System Failure books and physics texts for fun).
This author's writing style grabs you immediately and draws you along in a manner as if you were sitting in a San Francisco espresso house with him and simply drinking in his vast experience base. He conveys personal experiences and places them in a context of the focus of the book so seamlessly i find i cant flip my kindle pages quick enough. His style is like the best mystery writers of the day unfurling of the kernel of the meat of the story in a manner that gets his points across in the book in a way that one needs to keep reading further and further, his concise style also ensures one retains what the messages are he desires to convey.
Guaranteed, after reading this book (and one wont be able to put it down once you start), one will look at that benign little computer in our pocket in a different light.
Two (smartphone text callused) thumbs up!!
The younger generation can't find a book in the library or go a day without sending a thousand text messages. The business generation can't go to lunch without access to email. Even those at retirement age have forgotten how to read a map. They rely on their GPS unit in the car to show them the way.
The number of devices strewn about my house is astonishing, but I never thought about it. It's just "normal" to have thirty different types of electronics within reach, and some of them are duplicates. Sometimes you really can't see the forest through the trees until someone points out the obvious to you.
Too Much Magic does exactly that, and in layman's terms. Jason Benlevi explains what it is that we are doing, and why in such a way that anyone can understand it. Even hardcore technophiles will be amazed at the wealth of knowledge presented.
I feel I've gained incredible knowledge from this book. I also feel I've been tricked for years by the people behind the technology. I once felt empowered by the electronics in my possession. Now I am a little leery of some of them.
Too Much Magic is a fantastic read from beginning to end. It's not often that a non-fiction book feels like a cliff-hanger thriller. This one does.
There is a potentially terrible price for the use of technology. Freedom and privacy are basic human rights and are being threatened as you sit on your computer and read this. Jason's book brings light to the darkness. It will fascinate you, scare you and, hopefully, move you to action.
Besides being a fascinating read, I feel that Too Much Magic primes and prepares us for the coming of Generation C (communicators, connectors and clickers), and adds a layer of awareness and realness to a world that is otherwise ethereal and invisible.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author's perspective on the dark side of the digital revolution is similar to my own, so I wanted and expected to like the book. I tried, but I just couldn't. Read morePublished 7 months ago by P. Frantz
Started off in an interesting way, but in the end just another book wanting to slow down tech without any good answers for how. Read morePublished 12 months ago by DeeMee
If every one of us ignores and essentially abandons the responsibility to live as raw humans, with the ability to discern meaning and values for ourselves, and if we limit... Read morePublished 17 months ago by P. van Winkle
Pulls together a great range of subtle insights on technology's double-edged sword as it does things for us but also does things to us, rendering us more and more helpless,... Read morePublished on October 4, 2013 by Jeff
Jason Benlevi's treatise on contemporary technology, provides honest documentation of the ways the human race has been affected by recent 'advances. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by Net Neu-Strategist
I believe everyone should be aware of the issues discussed in this book. For some this book will be a revelation, for others a confirmation. Read morePublished on September 23, 2012 by anubis
This book falls under the heading of a voice of reason crying in the wllderness. Benlevi expresses ideas that have been percolating in my poor brain since I realized my habits had... Read morePublished on August 2, 2012 by Liz Robbins
"Too Much Magic: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech" by Jason Benlevi was written to warn us about the loss of privacy we citizens are losing every day. Read morePublished on July 5, 2012 by HeatherMS