People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, and compile knowledge. 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.
About the Author
Douglas Ruskoff's previous books, including Cyberia and Media Virus, have been translated into thirteen languages. He is the Technology and Culture Consultant to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and a regular consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and he writes a bi-weekly column for the New York Times syndicate. He teaches at the Esalen Institute and Banff Center for the Arts, and will be adjunct professor of Media Sociology at New York University in 1999. He lives in New York City.
“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, author of Steve Jobs
“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)
“In this refreshing antidote to promises of digital Utopia, Rushkoff articulates his own well-informed second thoughts. We should pay close attention—while we still can.” —George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral and Darwin Among the Machines
“If you read one book next year to help you make sense of the present moment, let it be Present Shock.” —Anthony Wing Kosner, Forbes.com
“Present Shock holds up new lenses and offers new narratives about what might be happening to us and why, compelling readers to look at the larger repercussions of today’s technologically mediated social practices, from texting to checking in with a location-based service, jet-lag to The Simpsons, in new ways.” —Howard Rheingold, author of Net Smart
“A wide-ranging social and cultural critique, Present Shock artfully weaves through many different materials as it makes its point: we are exhilarated, drugged, and consumed by the now. But we need to attend to the future before us and embrace the present in a more constructive way.” —Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together
“With brilliant insight Rushkoff once again gets there early, making us confront the new world of ‘presentism’—the shif t in our focus from the future to the present, from the horizon-gazing to the experience of here and now. He points to signs of presentism all around us—in how we conduct politics, interact with media, and negotiate relationships.” —Marina Gorbis, executive director, Institute for the Future