Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
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—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs
“Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that’s sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In this refreshing antidote to promises of digital Utopia, Rushkoff articulates his own well-informed second thoughts. We should pay close attention—while we still can.”
—George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral and Darwin Among the Machines
“If you read one book next year to help you make sense of the present moment, let it be Present Shock.”
—Anthony Wing Kosner, Forbes.com
“Present Shock holds up new lenses and offers new narratives about what might be happening to us and why, compelling readers to look at the larger repercussions of today’s technologically mediated social practices, from texting to checking in with a location-based service, jet-lag to The Simpsons, in new ways.”
—Howard Rheingold, author of Net Smart
“A wide-ranging social and cultural critique, Present Shock artfully weaves through many different materials as it makes its point: we are exhilarated, drugged, and consumed by the now. But we need to attend to the future before us and embrace the present in a more constructive way.”
—Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together
“With brilliant insight Rushkoff once again gets there early, making us confront the new world of ‘presentism’—the shif t in our focus from the future to the present, from the horizon-gazing to the experience of here and now. He points to signs of presentism all around us—in how we conduct politics, interact with media, and negotiate relationships.”
—Marina Gorbis, executive director, Institute for the Future
- Item Weight : 14.8 ounces
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1591844762
- ISBN-13 : 978-1591844761
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.25 x 8.75 inches
- Publisher : Current (March 21, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To his credit, Rushkoff clearly put a great deal of thought and effort into writing this book. Throughout the reading, most aspects of any given topic are brought to light and discussed, with both sides of the argument being brought up and explored.
Unfortunately, what Rushkoff has in breadth he lacks in substance; while he raises many topics he rarely delves into them, instead preferring to list numerous examples, discussing them only briefly and then linking one to the next based seemingly on nothing more than where his mind happened to wander to. Additionally, while he does explore both sides of his arguments, it's generally fairly clear which side he stands on- he tends to favor the "way it used to be" over the way it is now, and many segments read more like an out of touch baby-boomer complaining about millennials than anything else. He tries to play both sides, but ultimately does neither justice. Perhaps worst of all, Rushkoff does occasionally make very salient points which, given further discussion, could very easily be the basis for entire chapters themselves. Sadly, these points are rarely ever given more than a cursory mention before the author dashes off to his next example or long winded aside.
Ultimately, I can't recommend this book to many. Even at it's best, Present Shock is long and rambling, often taking paragraphs and pages to say what could be said better by others in far fewer words. The best potential audience I can see might be someone older who, while not entirely understanding about the internet, social media and the like, is interested in seeing what it means for the world. However, even in that case, there are better sources for that information. Overall, I firmly believe you should save your money and pass on this book.
Rushkoff takes a long journey through time and our relationship with it. He contrasts Kurtzweil with zombies and apocalyptic sects. He explores fractals and GTD.
In short, it is a journey, a chance to reflect more than a story you can just grab onto.
Great read, if not a bit dense at times.
Top reviews from other countries
Beyond that interesting claim, however, I didn’t find the rest of his thesis convincing. His argument that we no longer value narrative arcs, supposedly evidenced in flashback heavy Family Guy episodes, just doesn’t seem reasonable. Modern life is certainly accelerated, as Alvin Toffler argued in his book Future Shock, and it seems that the faster it gets, the faster we demand it goes. It seems to me though that we show just as much need for narrative arcs as ever, though perhaps less patience for long ones. Family guy still has a story – it’s just short and shallow.
Despite being on a fascinating topic, Present Shock didn’t add as much as I had hoped to the discussion, introducing few new ideas or ways of thinking about the world. There is interesting information in Present Shock, but I found a lot of it unlikely to be causal or irrelevant.