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Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  963 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
A total departure from previous writing about television, this book is the first ever to advocate that the medium is not reformable. Its problems are inherent in the technology itself and are so dangerous -- to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to democratic processes -- that TV ought to be eliminated forever.

Weaving personal experiences through meticulou
Paperback, 376 pages
Published March 1st 1978 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1977)
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Sep 07, 2007 Evan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone.
A few ideas were so surprising that I had to put the book down and think about them for a while before I could read on.

Even though it was written thirty years ago, not a word has dated. Mander unwittingly analyzed not just television, but all electronic media, the ambient tech environment that we're in like fish in water. Even if you disagree with the title, his mode of thinking about how mass media work is so original that the book is worth it.

Unpretentious, nimble, broad-minded, and astonishin
Mar 22, 2016 hanna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: avid movie/tv watchers
This book was a testament to everything that is inherently wrong with television. I don't watch tv (surprise to everyone I meet who asks if I've catched the latest episode of scandal) because to be really REALLY honest, I can't sit down for more then 10 minutes straight without getting fidgety and commercials have always pissed me off. I would be wondering why a woman eating chocolate sensually is supposed to make me want to buy chocolate? Why is she moaning, I mean it's just chocolate for fucks ...more
Nov 25, 2007 jeremy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gen-nonfiction
the classic anti-tv book, well written and convincing. not merely a "television makes you stupid" diatribe, but rather a logical, compelling, researched argument against the medium and its effects on personal health, mental well-being, environment, and democracy. questions whether technology can ever really be inherently "neutral." probably more important now than when it was written three decades ago.

"television: a medium - so called because it is neither rare nor well done." ~ernie kovacs

"i wi
Ahmad Sharabiani
Four arguments for the elimination of television, Jerry Mander
عنوان: کندوکاوی در ماهیت و کارکرد تلویزیون؛ نویسنده: جری ماندر؛ مترجم: آیدین میرشکار؛ تهران، کتاب صبح، 1385؛ در 475 ص؛ شابک: 9646698174؛ موضوع: جنبه های اجتماعی و روانشناسی پخش تلویزیونی
Mark Singer
Jul 18, 2010 Mark Singer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the effects of television on people
Recommended to Mark by: no one
Shelves: technology
I read this many years ago and need to do so again. Jerry Mander was a successful advertising executive who quit the business in the early 70's and tried to make a difference. In this book, he makes a strong case against television. Sounds crazy?

In my opinion, his arguments about the diminished capacity to reason, the harmful effects of artificial light, the narrowing of experience, the inherent biases and the one-way nature of the medium still hold up. I would have given the book more than 4 s
Philip Morgan
Mar 23, 2008 Philip Morgan rated it it was amazing
At times certain people display a sincerity and a congruence with their deepest beliefs that is truly amazing. And often this state is combined with a simplicity of presentation. And the cynical among us might be inclined to laugh. Test yourself on this point if you like. See this video of Fred Rogers testifying before the US Senate:

Did you laugh at him at any point? Think he was silly or goofy or a pansy? How did you feel at the end of his speech?

This bo
Apr 05, 2009 Sophiebird rated it it was amazing
I read this book probably 30 years ago and found it to be such an eye opener. I didn't have a TV for years after reading this, but, alas, did have one while my kids were growing up. However, because of this book I think I was able to make them aware of some of the insidious methods used regarding advertizing and mind numbing constantly bombarding them from the glowing tube.

They are now, I am proud to say, all avid readers and learners and none of them blind consumers. Thank you Gerry Mander for
Aug 03, 2009 tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE - especially in the TV industry
As I've written elsewhere, probably in the Cognitive Dissidents Group, I put off reading this for 30 yrs. It came out in 1978 & I'd already stopped watching TV in 1969 or 1970 - one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, if I do say! Of course, saying that I "stopped watching TV" is, sadly, not as true as I'd like it to be given that there's usually a TV on in whatever laundromat I go to, in the bars I go to, etc.. There was even talk for a while of putting TVs on buses here in Pittsb ...more
Oct 31, 2012 emma rated it it was amazing
One of the three most important books I've ever read. This is more than an anti-television book. Along with Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto, it should be read by everyone to gain some sort of insight into why we, and society, are the way we are - and what we need to do to change it.
Dec 07, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it
I love television and I love this book. The point about it is that it objectifies the experience of watching and actually allowed me to go ahead and love TV. Yes, it may have some dated arguments in it, but it lays down a fundamental questioning of an act most of us do every day.
Dec 18, 2008 Richard rated it really liked it
Recommended to Richard by: DJ Big Rick Stuart, I think
I'd almost say this book was transformative, but I suspect I was already on the path towards eliminating television from my life. Mander's arguments provided justification, but the pandering idiocy of most of the stuff on the airwaves was already sufficient. At this point, I haven't watched a significant amount of television in about ten years -- I did enjoy some of the first season of West Wing at a girlfriend's place, but since then there's only been the sporadic Simpsons show once or twice a ...more
Alex Jeffries
Aug 16, 2016 Alex Jeffries rated it it was amazing
Shelves: television
Navigating this book was always going to be a minefield, as I bought it in the first place as someone with a television career and Sun Tzu's "know thy enemy" bouncing around my brain. Jerry Mander's arguments for the elimination of television are not easily refutable, and that's trouble (for me, for humanity, etc.). This book is a well-reasoned and researched dismantling of television, and the tendencies of our culture that paved the road for television's arrival. It was striking to see just how ...more
May 14, 2015 Deke rated it it was ok
This book hasn't aged well. Largely anecdotal and largely concerned with TV's one hegemonic position in American life, there are arguments to be made for at least the significant reduction and alteration of the nature of television, but this book either can't see them because it was written decades ago, breezes over them, or tags down on them but in a way that's unsupported by research. I recommend it only as a window into the past.
Feb 20, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: folks who are trying to pry open their third eye
Shelves: use-your-head
This book changed my life.
It is the reason I decided to work at The Hand.
That and something about chain stores...and the man.
Nov 03, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
Regarding this book, James Woolcott wrote in the New York Review of Books that "the special value of Mander’s call-to-arms is that by dedicating himself to a concrete destructive end he can more effectively marshall his facts. Such utopian ferocity can clarify one’s own misgivings about the medium - or so I thought until I actually cracked the book open."

Yes, certain personal misgivings I, too, have about watching television are represented here: Mander gives voice to what is, in essence, boring
Feb 14, 2015 T rated it it was amazing
"...all technologies should be assumed guilty of dangerous effects until proven innocent."

Convinced. Converted. Confirmed. I knew my babysitter (the television) was ill equipped as a moral guide. And yet he influenced me day in and day out over a period of years. I even wrote an "Ode to My First Love" while in middle school. It referenced my undying affection for what I've learned is the very cancer of the society we live in, television.

Perhaps I am a little melodramatic but what does ring true
Sep 11, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with intellect
Where do I start? My whole life I have been a TV addict. My mother used to advise me strongly against it, but I would never listen. Recently I vowed not to watch TV. I was doing well, only watching when visiting others who were watching it. After reading this book I am bound and determined to never watch it again. I am not easily swayed, but Mr. Mander's arguments are true and to the point. He talks about the effects of the ingestion of artificial light, to the hyperactivity of children, to the ...more
Oct 06, 2015 Marcus rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
An essential but flawed book. This book is the perfect example of a book where 70 percent of it is 5 star material... but that 30 percent... whew... hence the 4 stars overall. Mander is at his best when he is talking about televisions effect on thinking, perception, and limitations as a medium. He is at his shakiest when he delves into pseudo-science to "strengthen" his arguments. Trust me... his good arguments are solid on their own merit and are in fact weakened when coupled with the flimsy pa ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of the best books I've ever read in my life. Jerry Mander's arguments are thought-provoking, rational, well researched and terrifying. After reading this book I see everything in my environment differently. Politics, homes, cleaning supplies, relationships, vehicles and jobs - I see them all in a new light. Modern media has effectively brainwashed the last three generations and turned Americans into drones; insatiable, product-consuming machines. I recommend this book to ANYONE th ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Irvin rated it it was amazing
I could give this a hundred stars if I could. This book really gives deep insight on how television impacts our lives negatively. A couple of spots are difficult to read but after reading this book it was hard for me to watch television for at least a couple of months. It just didn't make sense to me. It still doesn't but the idiot box has lured me in every now and then. After reading this book, you will look at TV in a whole different "light".
Aug 31, 2013 Blair rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not convinced by arguments that go this far against television. The evils of network television is more understandable in this light, but television as a whole? Seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater to me. But Mander makes more interesting and compelling arguments than any I've read/heard. It's a credit to his ideas that they hold even more true now, some 40 years after initial publication.
Sonja Warner
Jul 27, 2012 Sonja Warner rated it really liked it
This was probably the most interesting book I've read this year. While I don't always agree with the author and he operates on some belief systems I don't share - he also makes a lot of very valid observations. This book brings up some very thought provoking issues regarding television and its effect on us and I'd highly recommend it. But bring your brain along! It's not "mindless" reading.
John Hawkins
Apr 08, 2016 John Hawkins rated it really liked it
Jerry Mander (interesting name) is correct. This, book written in the 1970s, forcasted the right wing take-over television. Mander states that televisin can not be a left-wing medium only a right-wing one. Now that the PR firm of Fox 'News" has dominated political dialogue it is easy to see.
May 14, 2015 Grant rated it liked it
I really liked this and thought that the arguments were very good, that being said: this book desperately needs an update.
Little could the author have guessed when he wrote this back in 1977 that TV would one day proliferate every possible surface from gas-station pumps to phones. Yikes!
Jul 23, 2007 Cinco rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: TV fans, TV haters, everyone everywhere
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites, own
Incredibly fascinating, well-written and reasoned book about the problems with television. Like the author, I haven't stopped watching television (not entirely, anyway), but this book really challenged me to think about television differently. Highly recommended to everyone.
Feb 26, 2009 Padraic rated it it was amazing
Mander is a particularly mesmerizing preacher. In the thirty years since its publication, the book's target has oozed across the cultural landscape, and we've all rolled over and died. Nonetheless, these arguments won't go away.
Jul 01, 2007 HeavyReader rated it liked it
I can't remember specifically what the arguments were, but I remember they were good ones. Taught me about why televisions no good.
Jul 28, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Valerie by: Marcia
If only I were stronger, I would heed these arguments. But I am weak, my TV stays. I blame Joss Whedon.
Jul 26, 2011 Jeff rated it it was amazing
memorable, thought provoking, you may find yourself on a TV fast after reading this book.
Berin Kinsman
Mar 29, 2016 Berin Kinsman rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was written as an indictment of television, but it extends to our current obsession with screens and devices of all varieties. Most of the evidence is anecdotal, as both the author and other reviewers have pointed out, and formal research is certainly called for. Yet it resonates with the experiences most of us have had, and speak to common sense. While the elimination of all screens is impractical if not impossible, this book does at least present a case for being mindful about how we ...more
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“The program is only the excuse to get you to watch the advertising. Without the ads there would be no programs. Advertising is the true content of television and if it does not remain so, then advertisers will cease to support the medium, and television will cease to exist as the popular entertainment it presently is.” 12 likes
“[T]he problem was too much information. The population was being inundated with conflicting versions of increasingly complex events. People were giving up on understanding anything. The glut of information was dulling awareness, not aiding it. Overload. It encouraged passivity, not involvement.” 3 likes
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