Monday, July 3, 2017

Everything Bad is Good For You by Steven Johnson - Book Report #189

Steven Johnson the master of seeing what is underneath things and how they are connected.  Here he takes on the notion that pop culture is bad and making people dumb.

He makes a compelling case for the benefits of video games.  Not only do they improve the obvious, hand-eye coordination, but, especially with the first-person and simulator games, critical thinking and observational skills are exercised to a greater degree than people give credit.

He also takes on television, where the popular notion is that TV is just getting dumber and dumber.  The explosion of "reality" shows is often held as an example of this.  But there is something else happening in scripted television where plots are much more complex and demand a commitment from the viewer to keep up and to engage in a greater degree that the average sit-com demands.

And people are eager for this kind of engagement.  Console games are nothing like the coin-fed arcade games I grew up with.  The immersion is much deeper and this activates parts of the brain that benefit the gamer in other aspects of real life.

The book may be over a decade old but it is still relevant even if its references are a bit dated.  But those references, Lost and The Sopranos, are still being enjoyed today.  So there is something to be said about the quality of these shows.

Like anything Steven Johnson writes I come away feeling like I understand the world just a little bit better.

Recommended indeed.

Steven Johnson's website -

Steven Johnson

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