Sunday, March 16, 2014

Alain de Botton, "The News: A User's Manual" | Talks at Google

Alain de Botton's new book is The News: A User's Manual (2014) and was at Google recently to talk about the new book and about how we can more judiciously consume "news" media.

I used to be an avid news consumer, and back in the day I had a blog called Raven's View in which I was actively involved in local and state politics and was deeply tied to the 24-news cycle. It made me angry, bitter, and depressed, so I stopped, and it made a huge difference in my life.

Alain de Botton, "The News: A User's Manual" | Talks at Google

Published on Mar 13, 2014


The news is everywhere. We can't stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds?

We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. In his dazzling new book, de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories--including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview and a political scandal--and submits them to unusually intense analysis with a view to helping us navigate our news-soaked age. He raises such questions as Why are disaster stories often so uplifting? What makes the love lives of celebrities so interesting? Why do we enjoy watching politicians being brought down? Why are upheavals in far-off lands often so boring?

In "The News: A User's Manual", de Botton has written the ultimate guide for our frenzied era, certain to bring calm, understanding and a measure of sanity to our daily (perhaps even hourly) interactions with the news machine.
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