Kalen's Reviews > The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone
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Jul 11, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-reads
Read from July 10 to 11, 2011

Not entirely sure what to think of this one just yet. I love the premise but I'm not convinced it was entirely well-written. Having said that, I don't typically read graphic novels or non-fiction so the format took some getting used to and it's possible that was my real challenge.

I laughed when Gladstone cited Douglas Adams' comment that "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary. Anything invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things."

Of course, graphic books have been around a lot longer than that but I don't typically read them. There were several panels (pages) I had to go back and re-read several times because their meaning just wasn't clear to me and I think it's less to do with the book's form than it is awkwardly-written statements.

Still, there are a lot of important messages in this book about how we consume media (and have historically) and how media can and is manipulated. The last section, The Influencing Machines, was far and away the most interesting and now I'm scared of polymer nanotubes being inserted into my brain.

I recommend this to high school civics/politic science students and higher, with a caveat that there is coarse language in it (which doesn't matter to me but may to parents interested in sharing with their teens.)
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