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I like the new perspective on habits we think we know. It's not a definitive argument against normative responses to things like playing video games, but it does point out how complex these behaviors are, and the potential benefits we gain, in addition to the drawbacks.
This book has a great concept behind it: the idea that all our modern pop culture isn't destroying our minds, but rather making us smarter and teaching us problem solving and social skills.
I found it to be pretty good, although not fantastic. The early parts in which Johnson describes his childhood experiences with baseball games and D&D closely mirrored my own, and I found myself pleasantly reminiscing about those days. I had no real disagreements with any of the arguments he put forth, and overall this book was a well-written and fun read.
However, I was a little disappointed by the depth of it. Johnson goes through modern video gaming and reality TV, and although it's all interesting stuff, I started to feel that he spent a lot of his time repeating myself. That is, he gave examples of the same ideas over and over. While all the examples were effective, it became a tad redundant, and by the end, I was wishing that the book was just denser and deeper, a heavier exploration. Of course, with this subject matter, perhaps it is self-limiting with regards to depth.
It is a good book, but there's just not enough to it to be totally satisfying. This would've probably been better a large essay in a compilation of futurist and modern thought papers. Still, it is a worthwhile read.
It was a pretty good book, but I feel the author missed a number of opportunities to argue important points. While I share the opinion of the author, I don't think the book was particularly convincing.
Robert Kalinowski's review was made as part of a critical review assignment for the Spring 2009 Economics of Technology seminar at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, taught by Art Diamond. (The course syllabus stated that part of the critical review assignment consisted of the making of a video recording of the review, and the posting of the review to Amazon.)
This book was an interesting read. The author didn't go into extreme mode about quantifying everything; he simply brought up global points about how trends might be helping overall. His point: the lowest common denominator has, over time, raised to a higher level, and redeeming qualities are being built in to those lower levels. The overall effect is that people seem to have more interest in those things, and the higher-level thinking that an event introduces, the better the result will be.
What's most interesting in this book is the challenge Steven Johnson puts on our most common beliefs about the "problems of modern life", mainly the ones brought by technology and media. The particular part where he confronts books and videogames, their differences on social interactions, creativity and mind work, is brilliant. If you work with technology, media, culture or education, this is a absolute must read.