The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu is a fascinating historical review of how the television and advertising industries grew up and eventually got in bed together. Wu makes the case that our attention spans have been bought and sold as commodities, often without our knowledge or understanding. He’s a fine storyteller who offers many provocative insights into how we spend our lives and give away much of our time for free. You’ll never look at TV or advertising the same way after you read this book. I also highly recommend his NPR interview. Both experiences are well worth your time, free of advertising, and might even change your life.
I picked up a used copy of John Grisham’s novel The Associate for an airplane companion on a recent business trip. I’m a sucker for fast-paced thrillers, courtroom dramas, and intense nail-biters. Oddly, I can’t say this book is any of those things, but it’s a decent enough page-turner, and, well, I have a soft spot for Grisham. The plot revolves around a sexual assault scandal. Originally published in 2009, it seems even more relevant today in the wake of the Me Too movement. As far as I can tell, the film has been in development since at least 2014. If anyone knows more about this, please share.
I hope you’ve had a great spring reading season. Summer begins on June 21, so like all good nerds, I’m sure you’ve been researching your summer books. If not, you can count on The NYT Summer Reading guide. Check it out!