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

Front Cover
Penguin, 2006 - Psychology - 254 pages
254 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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5 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars
85
2 stars
37
1 star
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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
Decent premise, gets old & repetitive pretty quickly. - Goodreads
A rather black and white approach to storytelling. - Goodreads

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Joyce Koor - Goodreads

Interesting proposition about how modern mass media like video games and the Internet are 'good' for you but it reads like a dry essay at times.... I felt compelled to skip some parts that were ... Read full review

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Richard Janzen - Goodreads

I see that many people have rated this book very poorly. It does have weaknesses and flaws. I rated it higher simply because it challenged my thinking about whether or not things like the prevalence ... Read full review

Contents

The Sleeper Curve
1
PART ONE
15
PART TWO
137
Afterword
201
Notes on Further Reading
212
Notes
222
Acknowledgments
251
Copyright

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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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