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

Everything Bad Is Good for You by Steven Johnson
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's review
Nov 30, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: do-not-own, non-fiction, 2007
Read in December, 2007

This is a very intriguing book that makes the argument that instead of being dumbed down and depraved, today's popular culture is actually complex, thought-provoking and is helping make people smarter. The argument goes along the lines that today's movies, television shows, Internet media and video games are far more complex than ever before, which forces the users of these forms of media to think critically, make connections, analyze details and think beyond just staring at the screen.

I loved the video game chapter. I think that people who complain that video games are stupid have never played them. Games such as Zelda (my personal favorites) are like huge puzzles; the entire game, and every mini quest within it forces you to take stock of what you have and what you know, and from there make a guess at what you need to do going forward, all the while mapping out and navigating through a huge 3D world filled with a bunch of unique characters. (Although, I must say I was annoyed that the author didn't bother to copy edit the book enough to remove the glaring typo when he wrote about Zelda's "The Wind Walker", a simple Google search would have notified him of his error.)

The book was a pretty entertaining read, even though it's not nearly as scientific as most other non-fiction books I've been reading lately. The author makes some great points and backs them up well.

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