Everything Bad is Good for You: How Popular Culture is Making Us Smarter

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Penguin Books Limited, Apr 6, 2006 - Social Science - 256 pages

Tune in, turn on and get smarter ...

The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Grand Theft Auto: We're constantly being told that popular culture is just mindless entertainment. But, as Steven Johnson shows, it's actually making us more intelligent.

Here he puts forward a radical alternative to the endless complaints about reality TV, throwaway movies and violent video games. He shows that mass culture is actually more sophisticated and challenging than ever before. When we focus on what our minds have to do to process its complex, multilayered messages, it becomes clear that it's not dumbing us down - but smartening us up.

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User Review  - BraveNewBks - LibraryThing

I think I'm moderately convinced of the premise, but I think it could have been more thoroughly developed. An argument based primarily on examples (because of a dearth of holistic studies) benefits ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartinBodek - LibraryThing

The author does well to make his theory very clearly explained before he goes on to discuss it at a brisk pace. Had he not taken the pains to do so, the book would not be as enjoyable and readable. He ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Steven Johnson is the author of the US bestseller Mind Wide Open. His previous book, Emergence: The Connected Lives Of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software, was named as one of the best books of 2001 by Esquire, The Village Voice, Amazon.com, and Discover Magazine. It was named as a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is also the author of the 1997 book, Interface Culture.

Johnson's writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Harper's, and the Guardian, as well as on the op-ed pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He writes the monthly 'Emerging Technology' column for Discover magazine, and is a Contributing Editor to Wired. The co-founder of the award-winning web sites FEED and Plastic.com, Johnson teaches at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has degrees in Semiotics and English Literature from Brown and Columbia Universities.

Steven Johnson also hosts a web log at www.stevenberlinjohnson.com.

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