The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters

Oxford University Press
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Technology and increasing levels of education have exposed people to more information than ever before. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. Tom Nichols' The Death of Expertise shows how this rejection of experts has occurred: the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine, among other reasons. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. When ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy or, in the worst case, a combination of both. An update to the 2017breakout hit, the paperback edition of The Death of Expertise provides a new foreword to cover the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election. Judging from events on the ground since it first published, The Death of Expertise issues a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age that is even more important today.
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About the author

Tom Nichols is Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, an adjunct professor at the Harvard Extension School, and a former aide in the U.S. Senate. He is also the author of several works on foreign policy and international security affairs, including The Sacred Cause, No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security, Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War, and The Russian Presidency. He is also a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion, and as one of the all-time top players of the game, he was invited back to play in the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions. Nichols' website is tomnichols.net and he can be found on Twitter at @RadioFreeTom.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2017
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780190469436
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Democracy
Social Science / Media Studies
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER 

A Book of the Year Selection for Inc. and Library Journal

“This book picks up where The Tipping Point left off." -- Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

Nothing “goes viral.” If you think a popular movie, song, or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today’s crowded media environment, you’re missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history—of power, influence, dark broadcasters, and passionate cults that turn some new products into cultural phenomena. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity if they fail to connect with the right network, and the consumers that matter most aren't the early adopters, but rather their friends, followers, and imitators -- the audience of your audience.

In his groundbreaking investigation, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives. Shattering the sentimental myths of hit-making that dominate pop culture and business, Thompson shows quality is insufficient for success, nobody has "good taste," and some of the most popular products in history were one bad break away from utter failure. It may be a new world, but there are some enduring truths to what audiences and consumers want. People love a familiar surprise: a product that is bold, yet sneakily recognizable.

Every business, every artist, every person looking to promote themselves and their work wants to know what makes some works so successful while others disappear. Hit Makers is a magical mystery tour through the last century of pop culture blockbusters and the most valuable currency of the twenty-first century—people’s attention.

From the dawn of impressionist art to the future of Facebook, from small Etsy designers to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson leaves no pet rock unturned to tell the fascinating story of how culture happens and why things become popular.
 
In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson investigates:
·       The secret link between ESPN's sticky programming and the The Weeknd's catchy choruses
·       Why Facebook is today’s most important newspaper
·       How advertising critics predicted Donald Trump
·       The 5th grader who accidentally launched "Rock Around the Clock," the biggest hit in rock and roll history
·       How Barack Obama and his speechwriters think of themselves as songwriters
·       How Disney conquered the world—but the future of hits belongs to savvy amateurs and individuals
·       The French collector who accidentally created the Impressionist canon
·       Quantitative evidence that the biggest music hits aren’t always the best
·       Why almost all Hollywood blockbusters are sequels, reboots, and adaptations
·       Why one year--1991--is responsible for the way pop music sounds today
·       Why another year --1932--created the business model of film
·       How data scientists proved that “going viral” is a myth
·       How 19th century immigration patterns explain the most heard song in the Western Hemisphere
“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I’ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.
 
In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.
 
By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

Adam Alter's previous book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave is available in paperback from Penguin.
Technology and increasing levels of education have exposed people to more information than ever before. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. Tom Nichols' The Death of Expertise shows how this rejection of experts has occurred: the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine, among other reasons. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. When ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy or, in the worst case, a combination of both. An update to the 2017breakout hit, the paperback edition of The Death of Expertise provides a new foreword to cover the alarming exacerbation of these trends in the aftermath of Donald Trump's election. Judging from events on the ground since it first published, The Death of Expertise issues a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age that is even more important today.
▍美國亞馬遜書店2017年度非虛構類好書、長踞知識論/哲學類暢銷榜 ▍


哲學傳播新創企業 哲學新媒體

朱家安(哲學雞蛋糕腦闆)

李取中(《大誌雜誌》《The Affairs 週刊編集》總編輯)

何飛鵬(城邦出版集團首席執行長)

馮勃翰(臺灣大學經濟系副教授)

蔡依橙(醫師、新思惟國際創辦人)

鄭國威(泛科知識公司知識長)

謝宇程(【真識】溝通創作事業創辦人)

謝青龍(南華大學哲學與生命教育系/通識教育中心專任教授)

翼劍制(華梵大學哲學系教授)

顏擇雅(作家、出版人)

——推薦


「專家與公民關係的瓦解,就等同於民主制度的失能。」

為什麼網際網路開放、高等教育普及、新聞媒體蓬勃發展,

卻讓當代社會鄙視專業、陷入前所未有的「反知識」思潮?


本書將帶我們反思「專業」的意義,爬梳專家與公民的關係在當代何以崩解,並找回民主社會中兩者應有的相處之道。


反智像一道綿延不絕的線,蜿蜒貫穿著我們生活中的政治與文化面,

至於滋養著這條線的謬誤觀念則是:

民主就等於「我再無知,也可以跟博學的你平起平坐」。

——艾西莫夫(Isaac Asimov)


隨網路科技與高等教育的普及,現代人可取得的資訊及知識量遠超過以往任何一個時代——但這也是所有人最不願學習、最不尊重專業的時代。


人們即使確實比以往聰明,卻以為只要靠Google、維基百科就能和專家並駕齊驅,對各種學識成就反唇相譏,面對專家建言也往往冷眼以對,從醫療、法律、教育到國家預算,人們都對專業採取不信任甚至鄙視的態度,這些應要公民和專家對話的事務因此失去了辯論的機會。此外,眾人也將「民主」的意涵誤解為每種聲音、即使最荒謬的意見也應該受到公平認真對待,否則就是不民主,就是搞菁英主義。


面對這種人們拒絕學習、懷疑專家的現象,本書作者美國海軍戰爭學院教授與哈佛推廣教育學院兼任教授湯姆.尼可斯將他的觀察與見解寫成文章刊登於網路報《聯邦主義者》後,迅速累積了上百萬的閱讀人次,也因此受到牛津大學出版社注意,進而邀請他將這個主題擴充撰寫成本書。


在書中,他將告訴我們人類拒絕溝通的天性加上網際網路普及、高等教育商品化、新聞產業娛樂化的推波助瀾,是如何讓大眾並未變得更有知識,反而變得憤怒、無知而反智。而專家當然也有可能出錯——究竟專家為何犯錯、如何犯錯,身為公民的我們又該怎麼面對、進而建立起與專家的健康關係,他在書中也有詳細的探討。


面對「專業之死」,我們如果置之不理,將導致民主社會中公民與專家停止對話,並有可能發展成暴民政治或技術官僚主義,導致民主崩潰。這不只可能讓人類辛苦累積了數個世紀的知識付諸東流,也將阻礙新知識的未來發展。


本書正是一份診斷報告,帶領我們理解專家與公民間的關係為何崩解,而每一個人,不論是專家或公民,又該如何化解這個迫切的危機。要力挽狂瀾,需要身處當代社會的你我共同努力,而本書正是我們急切需要的清晰導引。


【各界好評】


「這本書雖然說的是美國,但卻非常像是現在或未來的台灣,非常警世。」

——蔡依橙(醫師、新思惟國際創辦人)


「當網路時代到來,浩如湮海的資訊唾手可得,可謂毫無成本。我們曾經歡欣稱慶,以為知識將為我們帶來理智昌明的世界。但時至今日,當初的樂觀預期沒有成真。我們疑惑地發現資訊發達的社會,仍時時為膚淺的衝動驅使,甚至更常為虛假信息所欺騙。本書作者深刻地剖析了這個現象,值得每個讀者閱讀與自省。」

——謝宇程(【真識】溝通創作事業創辦人)


「『無知』是個討人厭的東西。因為無知,當在乎的人身心不適時,不知該如何協助;因為無知,選舉時不知該投誰;當社會出現爭議時,也不知該站在哪一邊。因為無知,很多事情都不知該怎麼辦。然而,無知是有救的,因為無知,所以去追求解答,詢問專家。但在資訊發達的現代,卻量產了『不知道自己無知』的人。這些人不僅帶給眾人紛擾、給自己引來麻煩,還不知問題的源頭就是自己,除非在無意間的某一天,讀到這本書。」

——翼劍制(華梵大學哲學系教授)


「湯姆.尼可斯正為真正了解自己發言意義的勇敢知識份子而戰。在這本說服力強、充滿聰明的反唇相譏的書中,他探討了為什麼專家經常被漠視,而我們又該做什麼讓經認可的知識能被看重。」

——勞倫斯.弗里德曼(Sir Lawrence Freedman),倫敦國王學院講座教授、戰史名著《戰略:一部歷史》作者


「正面面對後真相時代的危險問題並提出解方。一本具有說服力的好書,完全就是我們正需要的。」

——伊恩.布雷默(Ian Bremmer),政治顧問公司歐亞集團總裁,政經科普暢銷作家,著有《世界大恐慌》等。


「熱血十足……熱中政治與新聞的讀者將點頭如搗蒜。」

——《出版者週刊》(Publishers Weekly)


「迫切的問題,精闢的分析。」

——《科克斯書評》(Kirkus)





出版社 臉譜 (城邦) 

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