Against the Machine by Lee Siegel
Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob

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From the author hailed by the New York Times Book Review for his “drive-by brilliance” and dubbed by the New York Times Magazine as “one of the country’s most eloquent and acid-tongued critics” comes a ruthless challenge to the conventional wisdom about the most consequential cultural development of our time: the Internet.

Of course the Internet is not one thing or another; if anything, its boosters claim, the Web is everything at once. It’s become not only our primary medium for communication and information but also the place we go to shop, to play, to debate, to find love. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life online doesn’t just reshape the ordinary rhythms of our days; it also reshapes our minds and culture, in ways with which we haven’t yet reckoned. The web and its cultural correlatives and by-products—such as the dominance of reality television and the rise of the “bourgeois bohemian”—have turned privacy into performance, play into commerce, and confused “self-expression” with art. And even as technology gurus ply their trade using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede more and more control of our freedom and individuality to the needs of the machine—that confluence of business and technology whose boundaries now stretch to encompass almost all human activity.

Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention against the Internet itself but rather a bracing appeal for us to contend with how it is transforming us all. Dazzlingly erudite, full of startlingly original insights, and buoyed by sharp wit, Against the Machine will force you to see our culture—for better and worse—in an entirely new way.

About Lee Siegel

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Lee Siegel writes about culture and politics for a wide variety of publications, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and is a recipient of the National Magazine Award. He is the author of three books: Falling Upwards: Essays in Defense of the Imagination; Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television; and Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.
Published January 22, 2008 by Spiegel & Grau. 194 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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News flash! The Internet has changed our lives!

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Against the Machine: Being Hu...

The Bookbag

I came away from it concerned that the people who are boosting the internet frequently have financial or professional interests in it and that people like Bill Gates see the solution to problems with the internet as being within the net.

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Against the Machine: Being Hu...

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed Lee Siegel is the author of the essay collections Falling Upwards and Not Remotely Controlled.

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Jan 24 2008 | Read Full Review of Against the Machine: Being Hu...

The Moderate Voice

Siegel dissects and dives into his above claim through much of the book, whereas I can say with some confidence the aforementioned critic likely just glossed and glanced his way through Siegel’s book, Googled a few reviews, and cobbled together his own.

Mar 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Against the Machine: Being Hu...

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