Saturday, April 13, 2013
Book Review: MUST READ book Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff
Book Overview from Amazon.com
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed reality that our human bodies and minds can never truly inhabit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and connect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed.
Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift. Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.
Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fiction signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.
As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.
Absorbing and thought-provoking, Present Shock is a wide-ranging, deeply thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.
This is a MUST READ for anyone questioning things that are happening in the world today. I will be diving deeper into this book and sharing my thoughts and ideas much in the same format as I did for both Quiet and To Sell Is Human.
This will be just a review and will talk about a general thought process of the book.
I came across the title of this book after hearing about it on Wired.com website. I was intrigued by the central idea and decided to give it a read. It took me about a week to finish, but I am glad I took the time to read this whole book. It is not a speed read, but worth every minute.
My brain has melted a bit and oozed out of my ear as I think about the world in the context that the future is here and we are in the Present. It is now and what are we going to do about it? I find this such a fascinating idea to ponder. I don't know how to describe it all without going into a dissertation. I will just say that it has given me a new way to view how things are in the world.
He weaves many examples and stories along with other thoughts of people to make the case. Obviously, depending on your interests and passions you will find some more engaging than others. There were parts that did not really apply to my frame of mind and I did read quickly, but other parts I read over and over again. This holds true for any book of this type, but does not take away from the overall feel of the book.
Anytime a book finishes with several tweets of quotes, several pages of bookmarks, and a notepad full of ideas you know you have a quality read on your hands. I look forward to going back and digging deep into my notes and expanding my thoughts to see what I can make of it all.
This is an excellent read and one that will stick with me for quite some time. If you are interested in how the world is operating and things are changing or have changed, then you must read this book. Well worth your time.
For more information check out the website and Twitter search of Present Shock.