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

Front Cover
Penguin, 2006 - Psychology - 254 pages
176 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
23
4 stars
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3 stars
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2 stars
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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
My thoughts were that the writing seemed well done. - Goodreads
Now if only Johnson had backed them up with research. - Goodreads
The premise made sense, the book was just far too long. - Goodreads

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Chris Leroux - Goodreads

The premise becomes less convincing as the book continues. Relying primarily on arguments and dialogue rather than research and data becomes tiring by the end. I think there is potential for a better, more thorough book to exist on the topic, albeit by a different author. Read full review

Review: Everything Bad is Good for You

User Review  - Sean - Goodreads

Excellent book. Not especially authoritative, but nonetheless an enjoyable critique of the normal way of thinking about books and video games, and so forth. 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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