Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter

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Penguin, 2006 - Psychology - 254 pages
256 Reviews
The $10 billion video gaming industry is now the second-largest segment of the entertainment industry in the United States, outstripping film and far surpassing books. Reality television shows featuring silicone-stuffed CEO wannabes and bug-eating adrenaline junkies dominate the ratings. But prominent social and cultural critic Steven Johnson argues that our popular culture has never been smarter. Drawing from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and literary theory, the author argues that the junk culture we're so eager to dismiss is in fact making us more intelligent. A video game will never be a book nor should it aspire to be-and, in fact, video games, from Tetris to the Sims to Grand Theft Auto, have been shown to raise IQ scores and develop cognitive abilities that can't be learned from books. Likewise, successful television, when examined closely and taken seriously, reveals surprising narrative sophistication and intellectual demands. This book is a hopeful and spirited account of contemporary culture. The author demonstrates that our culture is not declining but changing-in exciting and stimulating ways we'd do well to understand. The glow of the video game or television screen will never be regarded the same way again.

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Interesting premise. - Goodreads
Disagreed with the premise, and the rest just followed. - Goodreads
Interesting insights into gaming and contemporary TV. - Goodreads
Good writer; I enjoy his stuff. - Goodreads
A rather black and white approach to storytelling. - Goodreads
... well Steven Johnson's got some useful tips for you. - Goodreads

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

I grabbed this book in an attempt to challenge my own snobbish disdain of reality television and the like. I got the sense from the title that Johnson would make the argument that lowbrow culture is ... Read full review

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Aaron - Goodreads

Everything Bad is to Better Angels as Johnson is to Pinker as Pop Culture is to Violence. That is to say, Everything Bad is a sweeping and powerful attack on the "we're all idiots now" narrative ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Steven Johnson is the author of seven bestsellers, including Where Good Ideas Come From, The Invention of Air, The Ghost Map, and Everything Bad Is Good for You, and is the editor of the anthology The Innovator's Cookbook. He is the founder of a variety of influential websites?most recently, outside.in?and writes for Time, Wired, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Marin County, California, with his wife and three sons.

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