Progressive politics, ideas & culture


videogames make you smart (er)

This Magazine Staff

The latest buzz book, in the Blink/Collapse/Wisdom of Crowds mold, is Everything Bad is Good for You, by Steven Johnson. It was excerpted in the NY Times Magazine this weekend, and has been widely blogged.
I’m reviewing the book for the National Post, and I read it, cover to cover, in about three hours last night. It comes in at a very lean 206 pages, and for long stretches the breeziness of the writing builds to a full gale.
That isn’t to say the ideas are without merit. I think Johnston is right to claim that most of our culture — from videogames to TV to the Internet — is getting increasingly complex and sophisticated, and that this is, in turn, giving us a mental workout and making us smarter (according to some relevant definition of “smarter”).
But I’m going to hold off on any stronger judgments until I’ve sat down and thought about it some more. My first reaction is that this is yet another book that should have remained a magazine article. I’ll post more once I’ve done the review.

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