My book about gamification is out! You've Been Played (Bookshop.org, Goodreads) examines how points, badges, and leaderboards are creeping into every aspect of modern life as tools for profit and coercion. It’s a critique of gamification, sure – but by an actual game designer, games journalist, and former neuroscientist. And it goes far beyond the usual suspects like Fitbit and Duolingo to look at the historical roots of gamification. Foucault, Lewis Mumford, Skinner, medieval indulgences, Taylorism, ARGs – this book has it all! Reviews, talks, and excerpts inside... [more inside]
In Hawking Hawking, I explore how Stephen Hawking came to be thought of as humanity’s greatest genius. Hawking spent his career grappling with deep questions in physics, but his renown didn’t rest on his science. He was a master of self-promotion, hosting parties for time travelers, declaring victory over problems he had not solved, and wooing billionaires. In a wheelchair and physically dependent on a cadre of devotees, Hawking still managed to captivate the people around him—and use them for his own purposes. [more inside]
A personal essay on the frustrations and promise of Jean M. Auel's The Valley of Horses and Earth's Children series.
Dual-function site: New mailing list of my creative writing and limited archive of my past writing projects (Victory Shag, Wrestle the Future to the Fucking Ground, etc.) -- fiction, poetry, love letters, what have you. [more inside]
Surprised that Facebook has been experimenting on you, deliberately tampering with your emotions? Don't be. Our reliance on digital information in all aspects of our life -- from shopping, to reading the news, to interacting with our friends -- is having an unexpected consequence: we are increasingly dependent on information that's being manipulated by parties who are trying to get you to act against your own self-interest. Virtual Unreality is a book about how the digital revolution is blurring the distinction between what's true from what's fictional, what's genuine from what's fake, what's human from what's algorithmic -- what's real and what's virtual. [more inside]
For the past decade or so I've been off-and-on sending out various writing projects to subscribers' inboxes. I've now merged my mailing lists into one and have re-opened subscriptions, which had been closed since 2010. [more inside]
A curated monthly review devoted to spirited debate about books and the arts, created by and for a transnational community of writers, artists, and activists. Inaugural contributors include Tobias Kelly, Bruce Robbins, Lawrence Weschler (interviewing Errol Morris), Laura Norén, David Henkin, Adam Morris, and Sharon Marcus. Brought to you by the editors of Public Culture and NYU's Institute for Public Knowledge. [more inside]
Ages ago (1998 to be precise) there was a website called Legal Tilt that documented the inside story of life as a lawyer. It grew, became a book, then completely disappeared. Well, the whole thing is being re-kindled as a blog with old stories from the archive and (eventually) some new stories. Why would anyone want to read about a bunch of lawyers? Check it out and see.