Present shock

when everything happens now

296 pages

English language

Published March 26, 2013

OCLC Number:

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3 stars (1 review)

"An award-winning author explores how the world works in our age of "continuous now". Back in the 1970s, futurism was all the rage. But looking forward is becoming a thing of the past. According to Douglas Rushkoff, "presentism" is the new ethos of a society that's always on, in real time, updating live. Guided by neither history nor long term goals, we navigate a sea of media that blend the past and future into a mash-up of instantaneous experience. Rushkoff shows how this trend is both disorienting and exhilarating. Without linear narrative we get both the humiliations of reality TV and the associative brilliance of The Simpsons. With no time for long term investing, we invent dangerously compressed derivatives yet also revive sustainable local businesses. In politics, presentism drives both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. In many ways, this was the goal of digital technology--outsourcing our memory was …

1 edition

Review of 'Present shock' on 'GoodReads'

3 stars

I like Douglas Rushkoff. I was first introduced to his work through his Merchants of Cool documentary in a college classroom, picked up Life, Inc. and Program or Be Programmed, enjoyed listening to his WFMU show Media Squat, etc. I was excited to read Present Shock, expecting my own theories on the pace at which life is presented as moving these days, via media, to be reinforced. They were, and Rushkoff's insights went beyond my own armchair philosophizing to bring things to poignant conclusions in a few chapters.

That said, this may have been my least favorite of Rushkoff's writings. With so much ground to cover, Rushkoff is forced to relegate supporting evidence culled from his research to footnotes, and to retrace his steps, bringing arguments around to points he's made in earlier books. Ironically, this book about presentism, written over a number of years, feels almost rushed at points, …


  • Social aspects
  • Philosophy
  • Technology