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He ultimately established a precedent for the way modern city-dwellers, city planners, physicians, and public officials think about the spread of disease and the development of the modern urban environment. The Ghost Map is an endlessly compelling and utterly gripping account of that London summer of , from the microbial level to the macrourban-theory level-including, most important, the human level. Eric Schlosser. Fast Food Nation - the groundbreaking work of investigation and cultural history that has changed the way America thinks about the way it eats - and spent nearly four months on the New York Times bestseller list - now available on cassette!

Are we what we eat?

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

To a degree both engrossing and alarming, the story of fast food is the story of postwar America. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelling the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad.

That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning. Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of fast food's flavors are concocted.

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Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths - from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, even real estate. He also uncovers the fast food chains' efforts to reel in the youngest, most susceptible consumers even while they hone their institutionalized exploitation of teenagers and minorities. Schlosser then turns a critical eye toward the hot topic of globalization - a phenomenon launched by fast food.

Nicholas Carr. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: as we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration yet published of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Weaving insights from philosophy, neuroscience, and history into a rich narrative, The Shallows explains how the Internet is rerouting our neural pathways, replacing the subtle mind of the book reader with the distracted mind of the screen watcher.

A gripping story of human transformation played out against a backdrop of technological upheaval, The Shallows will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds. In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.

In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species—to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips.

Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe. Narrated by Jason Culp. Edward Tenner. A bold challenge to our obsession with efficiency—and a new understanding of how to benefit from the powerful potential of serendipity.

Algorithms, multitasking, the sharing economy, life hacks: our culture can't get enough of efficiency. One of the great promises of the Internet and big data revolutions is the idea that we can improve the processes and routines of our work and personal lives to get more done in less time than we ever have before. There is no doubt that we're performing at higher levels and moving at unprecedented speed, but what if we're headed in the wrong direction?

Melding the long-term history of technology with the latest headlines and findings of computer science and social science, The Efficiency Paradox questions our ingrained assumptions about efficiency, persuasively showing how relying on the algorithms of digital platforms can in fact lead to wasted efforts, missed opportunities, and, above all, an inability to break out of established patterns. Edward Tenner offers a smarter way of thinking about efficiency, revealing what we and our institutions, when equipped with an astute combination of artificial intelligence and trained intuition, can learn from the random and unexpected.

Bharat Anand.

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To confront these obstacles, Bharat Anand examines a range of businesses around the world, from The New York Times to The Economist, from Chinese Internet giant Tencent to Scandinavian digital trailblazer Schibsted, and from talent management to the future of education. Drawing on these stories and on the latest research in economics, strategy, and marketing, this refreshingly engaging book reveals important lessons, smashes celebrated myths, and reorients strategy.

Digital change means that everyone today can reach and interact with others directly: We are all in the content business.

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But that comes with risks that Bharat Anand teaches us how to recognize and navigate. Filled with conversations with key players and in-depth dispatches from the front lines of digital change, The Content Trap is an essential new playbook for navigating the turbulent waters in which we find ourselves. But it is also filled with stories of those who made strategic choices to strengthen the links between content and returns in their new master plans. The book is a call to clear thinking and reassessing why things are the way they are.

Louis L'Amour. Trent came to Idaho seeking solitude. He built a cabin, broke a few wild horses, and quietly put his pas behind him. Our minds run a series of lightning calculations having to do with tones of voice, facial expressions, ethical principles and psychological verities as we weigh the chances that the team leader will implode or the underling will revolt. And what will the Donald think? That's a factor, too.

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Though I side with Johnson in his contention that emotional intelligience is an authentic, important competency, and while I'll admit that "The Apprentice" delivers up enough half-baked strife and intrigue to absorb our inner office-politicians, I'm not sure why such a regimen is good for people except in the sense that it isn't actually harmful. As elsewhere in the book, Johnson's contrarian contempt for the knee-jerk vilification of pop culture seems to push him further than may be warranted into defending and elevating artifacts that are neither here nor there.

My grandmother's love of lurid true-crime magazines, with their blow-by-blow re-creations of small-town rapes, roused her emotional intelligence, too, telling her to avoid dark parking lots and pockmarked men with certain styles of mustaches, but, really, what of it? Stimulation is not a virtue all by itself. Johnson seems to feel it is, though. In temperament, he's like a cerebral Jack La Lanne. He admires exertion for its own sake -- in this case, neurological exertion.

The faster the synapses fire the better, no matter to what end, even if the body supporting them is growing sluggish and obese and the spirit animating them is chronically neglecting its family members in order to TiVo "The Simpsons. Considered purely on its own terms, Johnson's thesis holds up despite these quibbles. Our own internal computers are indeed speeding up, and part of the credit for this must surely go to the brute sophistication of our new entertainments, which tax the brain as "Kojak" never did.

Reward and exploration are also essential parts: Players have to probe the game, explain it, figure out its rules and find its weak spots. To put it another way, they have to think about the system and what are the limits of the simulation. In this aspect - that ambiguity is essential - video games are different from board games and other traditional games.

This is a highly entertaining account of games, and one that concurs very well with my own experience. Johnson also defends other parts of popular culture, such as television shows and films, that contain many more subplots and where action is expressed with much more subtlety than in previous times. Even reality shows and tv debates get a positive rap, since they require strategy and emotional intelligence and adaption as rule change, in the case of the former, and we are good at judging people by face.

To some extent all this seems right, but the question is how much of popular culture it holds for. Though it must be said that at least in the case of tv shows, Johnson argues at length that it is not only niche high brow shows that now have a bigger market to cater to, but that also middle or low brow culture have been lifted. Johnson sees in all this an explanation of the Flynn effect, i. That is a fascinating thought, but one that would demand more large-scale evidence than hitherto provided to be accepted.

Hopefully some researchers out there are on the case. Enjoyable essay on the sleeper curve. The lowest common denominator of entertainment is actually much more challenging for the viewer then it was 30 or 20 years ago. This means there is more expected of the consumer of entertainment, and to enjoy these more challenging forms we have to be smarter to keep up.

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

Good for librarians who are questioned why libraries should stock DVDs or games, they are more complex than ever and require a lot of work and learning to be able to enjoy and get the most out of them. I had both a personal and professional interest in this book. The value of pop culture has always been debated in libraries, and video games in particular are a very hot, contentious topic in the field right now. The arguments here were easy to follow even though I'm only familiar with most of his examples by reputation. Probably reversing most of the readers, I watched Dallas and Hill Street Blues back in the day, but have never seen ER, 24, or any reality series.

But the models were still perfectly clear. I think it made a lot of sense to switch the impact of pop culture from an arts and culture focus to a math and science focus. The neurological arguments were pretty interesting. I don't think most parents are willing to follow his advice that it's best to expose children to the most complex storylines available regardless of the ethical messages. But this was about brain development, not moral development. Although there was the redemptive idea of reality tv increasing viewers' emotional intelligence. The overall tone wasn't smarmy at all, but the jacket photo instantly made me want to punch him in the nose.

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Pop Culture Is Good for Us

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