288 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.7 in
May 2, 2006
Penguin Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 1594481946
ISBN - 13: 9781594481949
About the Book
From the bestselling author of "Mind Wide Open" comes a groundbreaking assessment of popular culture as it's never been considered before: through the lens of intelligence.
Read from the Book
It is a truth nearly universally acknowledged that pop culture caters to our base instincts; mass society dumbs down and simplifies; it races to the bottom. The rare flowerings of "quality programming" only serve to remind us of the overall downward slide. But no mater how many times this refrain is belted out, it doesn't get any more accurate. As we've seen, precisely the opposite seems to be happening: the secular trend is toward greater cognitive demands, more depth, more participation. If you accept that premise, you're forced then to answer the question: Why?For decades, the race to the bottom served as kind of a Third Law of Thermodynamics for mass society: all other things being equal, pop culture will decline into simpler forms. But if entropy turns out not to govern the world of mass society - if our entertainment is getting smarter after all - we need a new model to explain the trend. That model is a complex, layered one. The forces driving the Sleeper Curve straddle three different realms of experience: the economic, the technological, and the neurological. Part of the Sleeper Curve reflects changes in the market forces that shape popular entertainment; part emanates from long-term technological trends; and part stems from deep-seated appetites in the human brain.The Sleeper Curve is partly powered by the force of repetition. Over the past 20 years, a fundamental shift has transformed the economics of popular entertainment: original runs are now less lucrative than
From the Publisher
Forget everything you’ve ever read about the age of dumbed-down, instant-gratification culture. In this provocative, unfailingly intelligent, thoroughly researched, and surprisingly convincing big idea book, Steven Johnson draws from fields as diverse as neuroscience, economics, and media theory to argue that the pop culture we soak in every day—from Lord of the Rings
to Grand Theft Auto
to The Simpsons
—has been growing more sophisticated with each passing year, and, far from rotting our brains, is actually posing new cognitive challenges that are actually making our minds measurably sharper. After reading Everything Bad is Good for You
, you will never regard the glow of the video game or television screen the same way again.
With a new afterword by the author.
Steven Johnson's newest book, How We Got to Now, is now available from Riverhead Books.
About the Author
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.
"Revelatory...Daring...Finally, an intellectual who doesn’t think we’re headed down the toilet!" –Washington Post Book World "Persuasive...The old dogs won’t be able to rest as easily once they’ve read Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson’s elegant polemic.... It’s almost impossible not to agree with him."—Walter Kirn, The New York Times Book Review"A thought-provoking argument that today's allegedly vacuous media are, well, thought provoking...A brisk, witty read, well versed in the history of literature and bolstered with research...Johnson, it turns out, still knows the value of reading a book. And this one is indispensable." —Time"There is a pleasing eclecticism to [Johnson’s] thinking. He is as happy analyzing Finding Nemo as he is dissecting the intricacies of a piece of software ... Johnson wants to understand popular culture…in the very practical sense of wondering what watching something like The Dukes of Hazzard does to the way our minds work." —Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker"The author Newsweek called one of the most influential people in cyberspace...is back. The beauty of Johnson’s latest work — beyond its engaging, accessible prose — is that anyone with even a glancing familiarity with pop culture will come to the book ready to challenge his premise. Everything Bad Is Good for You anticipates and refutes nearly every likely claim, building a convincing case that media have become more complex and thus make our minds work harder." —Cleveland Plain Dea