- Tapa blanda: 1 páginas
- Editor: Random House USA; Edición: Reprint (19 de septiembre de 2017)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 9780804170048
- ISBN-13: 978-0804170048
- ASIN: 0804170045
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- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº59.107 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
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The Attention Merchants (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 19 sep 2017
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"Vigorous, entertaining. . . . Wu describes how the rise of electronic media established human attention as perhaps the world's most valuable commodity." --The Boston Globe"The Attention Merchants is a book of our time, touching on an emerging strain of anxiety about the information age. . . . A bracing intellectual tour de force." --The San Francisco Chronicle
"Comprehensive and conscientious, readers are bound to stumble on ideas and episodes of media history that they knew little about. [Wu] writes with elegance and clarity, giving readers the pleasing sensation of walking into a stupendously well-organized closet." --The New York Times "A startling and sweeping examination of the increasingly ubiquitous commercial effort to capture and commodify our attention. . . . We've become the consumers, the producers, and the content. We are selling ourselves to ourselves." --The New Republic "The book is studded with sharp illustrations of those who have tried to stop the encroachment of advertising on our lives, and usually failed. . . . Wu dramatizes this push and pull to great effect." --The New York Times Book Review "An engaging history of the attention economy. . . . [Wu] wants to show us how our current conditions arose." --The Washington Post
"Dazzling. . . . [Wu] could hardly have chosen a better time to publish a history of attention-grabbing. . . . He traces a sustained march of marketers further into our lives." --The Financial Times " [An] erudite, energizing, outraging, funny and thorough history of one of humanity's core undertakings--getting other people to care about stuff that matters to you." --Boing Boing
"Engaging and informative. . . . [Wu's] account . . . is a must-read." --The Washington Times
Reseña del editor
One of the Best Books of the Year
The San Francisco Chronicle * The Philadelphia Inquirer * Vox * The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
From Tim Wu, author of the award-winning The Master Switch ( a New Yorker and Fortune Book of the Year) and who coined the term "net neutrality”—a revelatory, ambitious and urgent account of how the capture and re-sale of human attention became the defining industry of our time.
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.
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. Wu’s narrative begins in the nineteenth century, when Benjamin Day discovered he could get rich selling newspapers for a penny. Since then, every new medium—from radio to television to Internet companies such as Google and Facebook—has attained commercial viability and immense riches by turning itself into an advertising platform. Since the early days, the basic business model of “attention merchants” 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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In his insightful history of the business of advertising, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu casts a wider net. Beginning with the advent of the penny press in the 1830s, he explores in telling detail the now centuries-long battle between the commercial interests who want to seize our attention for their own ends and the individuals who want to keep our lives private and access news, information, and entertainment without distraction. This is a colorful story, and Wu tells it well.
Though Wu opens with the introduction of the Sun in New York in 1833, his history more properly begins much later in the 19th century with the emergence of the advertising industry to sell Snake Oil and other patent medicines. (Yes, Snake Oil Liniment was actually a widely sold product Good for Man and Beast.) “From the 1890s thr0ugh the 1920s,” he writes, “there arose the first means for harvesting attention on a mass scale and directing it for commercial effect . . . [A]dvertising was the conversion engine that, with astonishing efficiency, turned the cash crop of attention into an industrial commodity.”
The penny press, Amos ‘n Andy, and pop-up ads
Beginning in the early years of the 20th century, Wu frames his story around the development of radio and the four “screens” that have dominated our attention over the decades that followed: the “silver” screen (film), television, the personal computer, and the smartphone. The author relates the history of each of these technologies as a human story, describing the often outrageous personalities who pioneered and dominated each of these media in turn. However, in focusing on radio and the four screens, Wu overlooks the billboards that mar every urban line of sight and barely mentions the direct mail that floods our mailboxes. Though less than comprehensive, his historical account is engrossing and enlightening.
Here you’ll learn about the development of propaganda by the British government in World War I and its perfection by Nazi Germany . . . the first radio serial that was a smash hit (the grossly racist “Amos ‘n Andy“) in the 1920s . . . the invention of the soap opera in the 1930s . . . the battle between the networks on radio and later on TV from the 1930s through the 1990s . . . the development of geodemographic targeting for ads in the 1970s . . . the emergence of celebrity culture in the 1980s and its perversion by reality television in the 2000s . . . the wild proliferation of blogging in the 2000s . . . the identity theft committed by Google and Facebook in the 2000s and beyond . . . and, finally, “unplugging” and the emergence of free online streaming services like Netflix in the 2010s. This is not a pretty story.
A harsh judgment
The author is not a fan of the “new media” that have come to hold our attention in recent years. “The idealists had hoped the web would be different,” he notes, “and it certainly was for a time, but over the long term it would become something of a 99-cent store, if not an outright cesspool.” Similarly, Wu’s judgment about the advertising industry is harsh. “[U]nder competition, the race will naturally run to the bottom; attention will almost invariably gravitate to the more garish, lurid, outrageous alternative . . .” It’s difficult to find fault with any of this.
About the author
He’s the man who coined the term “network neutrality.” A specialist in media and technology, Tim Wu has written several books and numerous articles, all nonfiction. His work has influenced the development of national media policy under the Obama Administration.
Well Tim Wu has done a masterful job of tracking the story of a changing group of people, mostly men, who have sort to harvest the attention of publics and then sell that attention to a bevy of clients, mostly advertisers of one kind or another. The overall story isn’t new: there have been many fine histories of advertising over the years, and of its effect on culture and consumers. But Wu adds to the chronicle by focusing much of his argument on the modern incarnation of the attention merchants, no longer just newspaper publishers or admen or broadcast moguls but the ones who run the massively popular websites, say a Mark Zuckerberg, that wins our attention by offering an appealing service, a lot of supposedly ‘free stuff.’ Except of course it isn’t quite free, or rather it produces a saleable product, our eyes, that can generate huge profits. And the success of such enterprise shapes the whole character of the internet, just like the fact of advertising shaped first newspapers, then radio, and finally television news and entertainment.
It’s the details of the story that especially intrigue. Thus I was taken by his bio of someone he calls the alchemist, Claude Hopkins, an adman early in the 20th century, whose successes and views had a major impact on the course of marketing throughout the next few decades. Wu has obviously done much research and thought hard about his findings. He writes well, very well indeed: the story flows easily, the arguments are clear, and his claims are always interesting, even if you might doubt his conclusions. So his suggestion a consumer revolt is brewing nowadays I liked, and hope he’s correct, but I doubt – there have been too many such claims in times past but we still live in marketing’s moment. Things change yes, styles of persuasion get updated, but the rule of the persuader persists: so the political consultant may have suffered some hard times in the past election cycle (because so many expensive campaigns failed abysmally), but the triumph of Trump (who doesn’t figure in the book) shows the huckster remains a potent figure in the American mix.
The characters I found most intriguing here, like Hopkins, weren’t just selling our attention but manufacturing attraction, making products or people or causes appealing to the various markets and publics. Because in part our attention to the free stuff doesn’t mean our submission to the wishes of the elites. There’s another step, namely the crafting of the brand or the cause, making something that captivates or, apparently, fills a need. In short the real exercise of soft power came through the efforts of the adman, although now more the ad-maker and public relations counsel, what’s been called the persuasion industry. Sometimes I had the feeling Wu’s approach emphasized attention too much, attraction too little.
But the real point is that Wu’s book provokes thought about a brand of soft power that is both ubiquitous and compelling. The only answer, unfortunately inadequate I think, is to get off the grid – don’t Facebook, don’t tweet, don’t watch television, then you can’t be sold. Except, of course, you then miss out on the free stuff.
Still contains valuable insight, and an entertaining read.