True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society
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True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  386 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Why has punditry lately overtaken news? Why do lies seem to linger so long in the cultural subconscious even after they’ve been thoroughly discredited? And why, when more people than ever before are documenting the truth with laptops and digital cameras, does fact-free spin and propaganda seem to work so well? True Enough explores leading controversies of national politics...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Wiley (first published January 1st 2008)
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This was my election 2008 attempt-to-escape-the-news read. And it served its purpose well. It covers an awful lot of ground, but its main point is this. People tend to interpret and understand new information in a way that accords with their existing views. Just as fans of opposing teams "see" different football games (and blame referees accordingly), consumers "see" different news reports. And although we look for truth (to a point), we are seeking information that jibes with our beliefs and af...more
Nicholas Karpuk
Not living up to the title irks me, even if the book remains thought-provoking and readable.

When you entitle a book with something like, "Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society", there's an implication that you might drop a few bits of wisdom on what the hell you should actually do about the current state of affairs.

Farhad Manjoo sets up his arguments quite well, asserting that the changes in media and the way humans think has led to a fractured culture where people don't merely disagree but de...more
If you like Malcolm Gladwell-esque social science books about how other people think and why they act the way they do, this is the book for you. If you've ever wondered how people can be so blind to the facts, or draw such stupid conclusions, or watch Fox News, "True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society" explains it all.

Manjoo, who now writes for Slate (but who wrote for Salon when the book was published) uses real-life case-studies to illustrate and illuminate how bias in the media,...more

There's really nothing new in Manjoo's book. Yes, I realize that I'm always being sold something. Yes, I realize that I have a pre-existing mindset. I know that there are right wing lobbyists that are always up to their nefarious ends...

The book wasn’t bad though. It just reiterated what I already knew. It relied heavily on some sociology experiments that were rather fun to read about, and heaven knows I would never pick up “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” or “Journal of Medical...more
Tim Chang
this book spotlights some terrifying implications around the fragmentation and silo-ing of media...and the effects can already be clearly seen in the flavoring of news programs, blogs, etc. :(

Key points for me:
- selective exposure: psych coping mechanism to reinforce listening to what one wants to hear and already believes. E.g. Smoking/cancer test in 60s, Alive & Well AIDS,
- media fragmentation: people can live in their own parallel versions of realities not based on fact/science (John Ker...more
"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?" --George Carlin

"This isn't about what is . . . it's about what people think is. It's all imaginary anyway. That's why it's important. People only fight over imaginary things." --Neil Gaiman, American Gods

"If they think it's the truth, then they believe it, and if they believe it long enough, then it becomes the truth." --Jason Carter Eaton, The Facttracker

"Each of us thinks tha...more
I didn't like this book much, even though I entirely agree with the author's premise. I'm interested in the media and societal theories Manjoo discusses, but the writing was a bit dull and didn't hold my interest. I didn't learn anything from it that I didn't already know, probably because I'm already quite familiar with this subject.
Mar 28, 2010 Richard marked it as to-read
Recommended to Richard by: NY Times article "Texts Without Context"
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is mentioned in the thoughtful-if-long New York Times Magazine article "Texts Without Context", which explores how technology is altering the way we absorb ideas, especially the written word, and how that change in subjectivity is setting us up for subtle but radical shifts in everything from political discourse to the rights of authors.

With respect to this book itself, the article includes the following paragraph:
As Mr. Manjoo observes in “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact
Joe Robles
This is a truly fascinating book that I just happened to finish reading at the same time as I was catching up on my Freakanomics podcasts. The podcast on Media Bias, offered even more support for Manjoo's argument on the subjective ways in which people on both sides of the political spectrum construct their reality.

My favorite part, which I think should be required reading during elections, is about the Weak/Strong Consonant/Dissonant arguments and how we are prone to react to them. In a study t...more
Manjoo's point is simple. In a world where people can get their news on any issue on the internet, they can select from a wide variety of sources. This impacts what we know, because these sources emphasize different perspectives, and do so differently, and sometimes dishonestly. These sources contain biases, usually political ones, or because they vary in terms of quality, and most importantly, in terms of their target readership. They seek a particular audience, and this audience in return seek...more
I really like what Manjoo has to say about technology and geeky techy stuff in the column he writes for Slate. I sort of thought his book might build off that, and talk about how technology and the Internet impact the way we perceive what is "true" and what we believe. That wound up being a very, very small part of this book. I'm not even sure what the majority of the book was about. It was just a disjointed ramble about cable news hacks (Lou Dobbs gets an entire chapter), Steven Colbert's "trut...more
Todd Martin
Let me start off by saying that True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society is the best book I've read in a long time.

In it, Manjoo sets out to make three main points:
1) People consume news in such a way as to confirm their own preconceived biases and notions of the way in which the world works.
2) With the splintering of media (tv > cable, newspapers > web, etc) it has become easier than ever before for individuals to only expose themselves to information which supports their wor...more
A lot of what I read now has to do with sociology and psychology, as it is at least peripherally useful when it comes to my job which involves influencing people. This book offers some ideas that I haven't heard of before, concepts of weak and strong dissonance, and the idea that different political leanings result in different reactions to weak dissonance and strong dissonance. I highly recommend this book to anyone who takes for granted that people can be convinced by reason alone--and especia...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Meyer
True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo is a well-crafted book that presents through the use of many examples how the quest for information is incredibly clouded by several outside and often conflicting influences. This book delves into the not so obvious ways in which politics, corporations, powerful publishers with agendas have affected both the content of information that is presented by news sources as well as the “slant” that the information is given, even when...more
Roger Leonhardt
Do we twist the things we read and watch to match our own beliefs? Do we dismiss those things that do not fit in our worldview? This book says "yes".

This Book was OK, but claiming to be non-partisan, he still has a bias. Those on the right are considered unintelligent (Rush Limbaugh) but the left just bend the truth (Truthers). He claims, according to research, Republicans are more likely to be bias in their information than Democrats.

He believes that those who disagree with Global warming are...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was really terrific, as might be evidenced by the fact that I flew through it in three days. But don't let that fool you - it wasn't all fluff and non-sense. There are some really great ideas in here and though the information is mildly complex and riddled with sociological terms, it never feels intimidating or unreadable; in fact, I'd say it reads like the perfect text book on modern mainstream media. A lot of ground is covered - how the left and right differ in their thinking, why th...more
This was a really good book that made me think quite a bit. Specifically, the changes in the way the news has been presented over the years were interesting. The concept of "naive realism" was especially intriguing.

I have a favorite paragraph, want to hear it? Here it goes:

"For people who feel strongly about an issue - for Apples fanatics, for abortion partisans, for folks who think they know the truth about global warming or what's going on in the Middle East - reality feels distinct and lumino...more
2009 Writer as Witness Book.

Another reviewer mentions how the book did not live up to the title, and I share that frustration. Manjoo bids us to "choose wisely" when we evaluate the information with which we are bombarded...but offers little on how to break free of our biases. I think most of us know which camps we fall into (for example, I watch the Daily Show and listen to NPR--guess which way I vote?!) and do choose the information that supports our views. And we understand this, and accept i...more
Oct 25, 2012 Kelli rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kelli by: Aaron Weidert
Shelves: non-fiction
Amazing! While the writing style feels relaxed and casual, the material has huge importance for understanding our current society. The author presents a non-biased collection of different social and political events as well as plenty of studies to back up his conclusions. We constantly bemoan the polarization of our country while simultaneously contributing to the problem. By recognizing our own "naive realism" and understanding that everyone operates based on their biases, we can begin to relat...more
Rhodes Hileman
How did we get to this state of society where 'truthiness' has meaning? Mr. Manjoo surveys the causes with many examples and studies. How we seek out the news has changed. How journalism is done has changed. How we establish the 'facts', if we do, has changed. How we determine what is real has changed mightily.

Much of what we either take for fact, or argue over, is generated by shadow organizations that feed into our "news" stream. Sometimes directly, but without 'credit', and just as often ind...more
Jun 28, 2008 J rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone
What do you know? Who do you believe? Who do you trust? Is there such a thing as objective truth anymore? True Enough is a great book for:

1. Making you think about how truly objective you really are.
2. Making you question the authority of the information (particularly news and "expert") sources you are willing to trust and the ones that you already doubt.
3. Understanding the increasing Balkanization of our communities by information/new/"expert" sources we trust as they relate to our social/poli...more
Wil Wheaton
Jun 05, 2009 Wil Wheaton rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: media critics, news junkies, people who liked the Fark book,
Shelves: political
True Enough is a quick and accessible read that never drags or becomes uninteresting. It's all very well-researched and very interesting, but I just wish that, having explained how and why we've come to live in a post-fact society, Farhad Manjoo had spent at least a few pages talking about how we can dig ourselves out of a world where Truthiness has taken over.

I thought this was a great companion to Drew Curtis' It's Not News It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap As News (disclosure:...more
A brilliant little book; almost a long essay on the nature of truth in the modern age. Manjoo describes a situation that is post-post-modern: not only is there no truth, only control of the narrative, but there is a myriad of narratives and the digital age gives us access to all of them: truth seems to be at once dead and continuoulsy created. Dealing with ideas like biased attribution and naive realism (where a subject agrees with facts that already fit his preconceptions but, at the same time,...more
Steven Grimm
I want to rate this both 3 and 5 stars at the same time. What it's saying is critically important and represents, I think, a huge danger to global society, and it has numerous interesting case studies and examples. Reading this book made Fox News's popularity make sense to me, for example (and no, not all the examples are on the right side of the political spectrum -- the "Bush stole the election" meme gets a good drubbing here too). So 5 stars for the intent and the content. But it's also a bit...more
Manjoo doesn't really present anything in this book that I haven't talked about, or heard about before. This may be because I spend way too much time thinking about how the Internet is changing the way we interact with each other.
He's very skeptical about the future of 'broad' trust in society, in part because the Internet allows for a segregation and flowering of small trust communities, that work to subvert general, broad trust.
I think he's being short sighted about community, communications,...more
Very interesting book, although Manjoo was really just preaching to the choir with me. It certainly gets the wheels turning though, and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks this nation as a whole is badly in need of some information literacy skills. Although I should point out that I think the best parts of this book were the ones that made me realize how multi-dimensional information can be. Some of the people who reside firmly in a "post-fact" world are VERY good at doing research. They a...more
This interesting and quick read explains how Republicans likely did NOT steal the 2004 election but how they did wildly mislead the public with the Swift Boat Veteran's for Truth campaign. It analyzes how our biases lead to our media choices which reinforce our biases, and how this cycle often makes it impossible for us to understand opposing viewpoints, which almost always have some degree of validity to them. I found the psychological and sociological insights of the book to be well-grounded,...more
Interesting information about biases in news coverage and in readers' and viewers' perception of that coverage. One study found that "presidents . . . don't matter much" when it comes to shaping public opinion about a particular issue: "For every broadcast featuring a president advocating a certain message, public opinion will move only about a third of a point in the direction the president favors. . . . Presidents with approval ratings under 50 percent have almost no effect on public opinion."...more
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