"If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism."
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, explains award-winning media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, but we don’t seem to have any time in which to live it. Instead we remain poised and frozen, overwhelmed by an always-on, live-streamed reality that our human bodies and minds can never truly inhabit. And our failure to do so has had wide-ranging effects on every aspect of our lives.
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and connect with anyone, at any time. We strove for an instantaneous network where time and space could be compressed. Well, the future’s arrived. We live in a continuous now enabled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technological shift.
Yet this “now” is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock. Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fiction signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.
As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.
Absorbing and thought-provoking, Present Shock is a wide-ranging, deep thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.
©2013 Douglas Rushkoff (P)2013 Audible Inc.
“Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that’s sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“If you read one book next year to help you make sense of the present moment, let it be Present Shock.” (Forbes.com)
“This is a wondrously thought-provoking book. Unlike other social theorists who either mindlessly decry or celebrate the digital age, Rushkof f explores how it has caused a focus on the immediate moment that can be both disorienting and energizing.” (Walter Isaacson)
Much less detail and side trips for historical reference.
Any worthwhile point was pounded into your head. Real effort to finish the book. Way too easy to zone out while listening.
Historical side trips that went on so long that you forgot what he was originally talking about.
Concept of the book was good. Presentation needed much more editing.
Rich & Ericka
Like Rushkoff's other books, there are a lot of thought-provoking ideas. Unfortunately, a lot are re-hashed from other books.
Yes. I enjoy his insight.
It seemed like he was imitating Rushkoff's voice- it didn't seem like he was paying attention to what he was reading.
The buzzword "iterate" was used so much it made me want to slam my head into a wall.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
"Present Shock" discounts the past and the future; i.e. this moment, the now, is the paradigm of individual’ knowledge and belief. Everything is in the moment. Douglass Rushkoff compels one to believe that the model of what is important in the world has changed. History and the future have become irrelevant.
Part of Rushkoff’s insight is based on the advent of the computer and how it affects education. Because history is at American’ fingertips, memory is not used to remember the past because the past is always present at the click of a mouse. Memory is only used to describe the present in real-time language, naturally acquired and innately available. The use of the brain becomes more focused on patterns of events in the now rather than relationship to a past or projection into a future. Past and future melt into the present. Rushkoff names the phenomena "Present Shock". When something happens, it is already past; history is irrelevant. The future takes care of itself by becoming today. All time is compressed into now. Everything is everything because the mind conflates events of now as a construct of a mind-patterned reality, the only perceived reality.
Rushkoff opines loss of interest in understanding the past and future by noting that writing a book is unlikely to be read by many. It does not have immediacy, immediacy demanded of by the click generation. As Alexander Pope, an 18th century poet, said, “Hope springs eternal…” Here is a book review that hopes Rushkoff is right; that the click generation will widen its field of vision to include a future. Ironically, Rushkoff’s and Pope’s hope are based on a matter of time.
Avid audiobook addict!
It starts off with extremely smug and totally out-of-touch narration. Just as I was about to abort after the first couple of chapters it became more interesting with a few fascinating real-life facts. It never becomes all that interesting though.
It was a great idea. It started off well. Then the writer started going on about people who don't believe in global warming, etc. etc. and he lost the focus of his own story. He kept tagging "present shock" at the end of sentences, like it would be enough to prove his concept.
Nope. One bad book doesn't ruin the whole bushel.
Not sure. If I find a book I'm interested. I don't listen to books just because of the narrator.
2/3rds of the book would have to go. How any editor let this one get published is beyond me. Maybe the editor was blindsided by the liberal sprinkling of "present shock" every few paragraphs.
Yes. Do not use your book to create a platform for your personal peeves. If you are going to do that, then be clear about that at the beginning. I felt that I was led in with a good start and then once the writer had my attention he just jumped onto his soap box and started spewing stuff about his own personal peeves and issues with what others believe.His litany on everything that is proven that people don't believe (global warming being one) just prooves that he's suffering from his own present shock. He's locked and frozen in what bothers him about others' beliefs.Mr. Rushkoff should listen to this audio book. Perhaps when he hears what he's written he'll understand that it needs a really good editor to work on a 2nd Edition. And after that he should read all of Malcolm Gladwell's books to see how this kind of book is written well.
hmm...... I don't think so.
His performances was fine but not great.
The second half of it.
No it does not deserve your time
Someone who is looking for justification for liberal thought or enjoys watching Beavis and Butthead
I really thought the topic was something I would like and probably would have if political "opining" wasn't the central theme. I think he could have made his very important points without dissing Fox News, the tea party, religion, and all conservative thought. He should listen to the book The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. Jonathan is also a Liberal atheist but is opened minded about different beliefs/moralities. He might learn from Jonathan about the fact that Liberals are unable to grasp 1/2 of the six moral pillars of society and therefore tend to be incapable of understand conservatives who act and think according to all six pillars. Douglas' approach certainly proves this point. He is proudly oblivious.
I really liked Kevin's delivery but after listening for a couple of chapters I started to think of him as a liberal elitist snob. Certainly not his fault.
The subject matter is very timely and important I think. I was really hoping to get more out of it.
"Oh dear, this was unfinishable"
Not of this type no. I could not finish this book, i have read some of Rushkoff's earliar books, namely Coercion, Media Virus and Children of Chaos which I enjoyed. But this book was unfocused and, quite frankly, filled with almost meaningless text. it was almost gibberish.
I would be wary, but I based on the earlier works, I would not give up on Rushkoff.
The narrator is fairly dry, and I can't blame them though given the book's contents.
There are no characters, this is a book of pseudo-intellectual waffle.
Only I made a poor choice and I hope other Rushkoff efforts are not so disappointing to me.
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