May serve as a useful handbook for digital media strategists and marketers, but this dense tome will take a major effort for...

SPREADABLE MEDIA

CREATING VALUE AND MEANING IN A NETWORKED CULTURE

A wide-ranging examination of the contemporary media environment as individuals increasingly control their own creation of content.

Jenkins (Communication and Journalism/Univ. of Southern California; Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, 2006, etc.) and digital strategists Ford and Green collaborate in a book combining abstract academic theory, how-to advice for businesses and popular-cultural anecdotes for lay readers. The basic message is simple—"If it doesn't spread, it's dead.”—but the authors express their theories with language that will feel unfamiliar to nonspecialist users of digital media. Even most Luddites probably know that circa 2012, content circulates from grass-roots sources as well as corporate sources. But why that is happening, and exactly what it means for corporate bottom lines, nonprofit think tanks and individual consumers, is less evident. The authors attempt to provide a framework for understanding the phenomena involved, going beyond the bits-and-bytes technology to the elusive democratization of communication throughout global society. The outcomes of a networked culture are not inevitable; without the predictions of further change, the authors write that their book would be pointless. In the introduction, the authors aid general understanding by sharing the example of Susan Boyle, the remarkable songstress who rose from obscurity through YouTube. The case study helps explain not only the spread of entertainment content, but also the spread of news content, overtly political and religious messages, advertising and branding. In the past, Boyle’s fame could have theoretically spread slowly through individuals sharing newspaper clippings by snail mail, but she never could have become an international celebrity within a week of her singing debut without the power of networked culture.

May serve as a useful handbook for digital media strategists and marketers, but this dense tome will take a major effort for nonspecialists to fully understand.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8147-4350-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more