Data Smog
Surviving the Information Glut
by David Shenk

  "David Shenk has written a brilliant confirmation of the fact that information is neither knowledge nor wisdom, and that too much data can dull the mind. One should read this splendid book very soon, while the mind is still intact."

—Roger Rosenblatt

Media scholar David Shenk launches a trenchant and informed critique of the impact of Data Smog—information overload—on individual well-being and our society as a whole. Picking up where Silicon Snake Oil and The Gutenberg Elegies left off, Shenk skillfully explodes the rosy myths of the technological revolution, points the way toward a saner and more meaningful future, and offers the most convincing and thorough rebuttal yet of the overhyping of the Information Age.

©1997 HarperCollins Publishers
More praise for Data Smog

"DATA SMOG is an indispensable guide to the big picture of technology's cultural impact."

The New York Times

"Shenk has written a concise, insightful and welcome critique of the communications world we have created."

The Chicago Tribune

"DATA SMOG is the *Silent Spring* for the Digital Age."

The Boston Globe

"A must-read for technophiles and neo-Luddites alike."

The New York Post

"Data Smog is a fascinating and important book...go and get yourself a copy. Unplug the phone, turn off the TV, and spend a few hours receiving data at a more human speed."

Omni Magazine Online

"Stunningly eloquent."

PC Magazine Online

"A valuable book....If everyone who isn't yet online read 'Data Smog' before joining America Online or getting Net access, their lives -- and the Net itself -- would have a much better shot at staying sane."

Salon (

"Required reading for anyone in the Internet news business."

- Editor & Publisher Interactive

"Over the past 150 years, humanity solved the problem of information scarcity. In solving it, we created the problem of information glut, incoherence and meaninglessness. David Shenk's brilliant book names the problem, describes it, explains it and—God bless him—offers us help in coping with it."

—Neil Postman, author, Technopoly and Amusing Ourselves to Death

"Data Smog is quite wonderful...a smart warning by a savvy aficionado of cyber-culture to be wary of too much of a good thing."

—Orville Schell, Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California at Berkeley

"This book breaks new ground. Here you will find a public ethic for an era of too-much information, delivered in a succinct and heroically civil style that puts to shame an entire shelf of books on the coming media environment. Shenk is a citizen writing for other beleaguered citizens...Data Smog is really a book about democracy and what it will take to keep that troubled idea alive and breathing in years ahead."

—Jay Rosen, Director, Project on Public Life and the Press, New York University

"This book is an oxygen mask. Take it along when you need to breathe. This careful, informed, and passionate argument should take the stuffing right out of the cheerleaders of the (indiscriminate) Information Age."

—Andrei Codrescu, commentator, National Public Radio

"Data Smog offers a rare combination of extensive research, clear thinking, lucid writing, and valuable advice. It's a must for anybody feeling overwhelmed but underserved by today's information sources."

—Edward Tenner, author, Why Things Bite Back

$24.00 USA/$34.00 CAN;
ISBN 0-06-018701-8;
Current Affairs;
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"; 250 pages; index.