The San Francisco Chronicle * The Philadelphia Inquirer * Vox * The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
From Tim Wu, author of the award-winningÂ The Master SwitchÂ ( aÂ New YorkerÂ andÂ FortuneÂ Book of the Year) and who coined the term "net neutralityââa revelatory, ambitious and urgent account of how the capture and re-sale of human attention became the defining industry of our time.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ours is often called an information economy, but at a moment when access to information is virtually unlimited, our attention has become the ultimate commodity. In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of efforts to harvest our attention.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â This condition is not simply the byproduct of recent technological innovations but the result of more than a century's growth and expansion in the industries that feed on human attention. Wuâs narrative begins in the nineteenth century, when Benjamin Day discovered he could get rich selling newspapers for a penny. Since then, every new mediumâfrom radio to television to Internet companies such as Google and Facebookâhas attained commercial viability and immense riches by turning itself into an advertising platform. Since the early days, the basic business model of âattention merchantsâ has never changed: free diversion in exchange for a moment of your time, sold in turn to the highest-bidding advertiser. Full of lively, unexpected storytelling and piercing insight, The Attention Merchants lays bare the true nature of a ubiquitous reality we can no longer afford to accept at face value.
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