Synopses & Reviews
The modern human animal spends upwards of 11 hours out of every 24 in a state of constant consumption. Not eating, but gorging on information ceaselessly spewed from the screens and speakers we hold dear. Just as we have grown morbidly obese on sugar, fat, and flour—so, too, have we become gluttons for texts, instant messages, emails, RSS feeds, downloads, videos, status updates, and tweets.
We're all battling a storm of distractions, buffeted with notifications and tempted by tasty tidbits of information. And just as too much junk food can lead to obesity, too much junk information can lead to cluelessness. The Information Diet shows you how to thrive in this information glut—what to look for, what to avoid, and how to be selective. In the process, author Clay Johnson explains the role information has played throughout history, and why following his prescribed diet is essential for everyone who strives to be smart, productive, and sane.
In The Information Diet, you will:
- Discover why eminent scholars are worried about our state of attention and general intelligence
- Examine how todays media—Big Info—give us exactly what we want: content that confirms our beliefs
- Learn to take steps to develop data literacy, attention fitness, and a healthy sense of humor
- Become engaged in the economics of information by learning how to reward good information providers
- Just like a normal, healthy food diet, The Information Diet is not about consuming less—its about finding a healthy balance that works for you
According to Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt, we create more information every two days than we did throughout human history up to 2003. How can you cope with information overload? This insightful book makes a compelling case that information overload doesn't actually exist—the real problem is information overconsumption.
Just as junk food can lead to obesity, junk information can lead to a new form of ignorance. The Information Diet provides a framework for consuming information in a healthy way, by showing you what to look for, what to avoid, and how to be selective. In the process, author Clay Johnson explains the role information has played throughout history, and why following his prescribed diet is essential in today's information age.
With this book, youll learn:
- The relationship between power, authority, and information since the dawn of the first major information-technology boom
- How people react to information consumption, according to cognitive science and neuroscience findings
- How the new, information-abundant society is suffering consequences
- What constitutes a healthy information diet and how you can get started
About the Author
Clay Johnson is best known as the founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama's online campaign for the presidency in 2008. After leaving Blue State, Johnson was the director of Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation, where he built an army of 2000 developers and designers to build open source tools to give people greater access to government data. He was awarded the Google/O'Reilly Open Source Organizer of the year in 2009, was one of Federal Computer Week's Fed 100 in 2010.
The range of Johnson's experience with software development, politics, entrepreneurism, and working with non-profits gives him a unique perspective on media and culture. His life is dedicated to giving people greater access to the truth about what's going on in their communities, their cities, and their governments.
Table of Contents
Dedication; Preface; We'd Like to Hear from You; Safari® Books Online; Acknowledgments; Part I: Introduction; Chapter 1: Lessons from Obesity; 1.1 A Modern Epidemic; 1.2 The Birth of Industrial Agriculture; 1.3 A New Set of Consequences; 1.4 The Modern Diet; Chapter 2: Information, Power, and Survival; 2.1 Knowledge Is Power; 2.2 There Is No Such Thing as Information Overload; Chapter 3: Big Info; 3.1 Choice Lessons; 3.2 Seek and We Shall Profit; Chapter 4: We Are What We Seek; 4.1 Reality Dysmorphia; 4.2 This MSNBC Is Going Straight to My Amygdala; 4.3 Search Frenzy; Chapter 5: Welcome to Information Obesity; 5.1 Confident Ignorance; 5.2 Agnotology; 5.3 Epistemic Closure; 5.4 Filter Failure; Chapter 6: The Symptoms of Information Obesity; 6.1 The Connection Between Obesities; 6.2 Apnea; 6.3 Poor Sense of Time; 6.4 Attention Fatigue; 6.5 Loss of Social Breadth; 6.6 Distorted Sense of Reality; 6.7 Brand Loyalty; Part II: The Information Diet; Chapter 7: Data Literacy; 7.1 Search; 7.2 Filter; 7.3 Creation; 7.4 Synthesis; Chapter 8: Attention Fitness; 8.1 Willpower; 8.2 Measurement; 8.3 Elimination; 8.4 Training; 8.5 Distractibility Can Be Good; Chapter 9: A Healthy Sense of Humor; Chapter 10: How to Consume; 10.1 Consume Consciously; 10.2 Consume Locally; 10.3 Low-Ad; 10.4 Diversity; 10.5 Balance; 10.6 Support and Fine Tuning; Part III: Social Obesity; Chapter 11: The Participation Gap; 11.1 The Scalability Problem; 11.2 Transparency; 11.3 Bridging the Gap; 11.4 Political Infoveganism; A Special Note: Dear Programmer; Further Reading; People; Books; Blogs;