The Attention Merchants

The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads


paperback, 432 pages

Published Sept. 18, 2017 by Vintage.


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4 stars (4 reviews)

From Tim Wu, author of the award-winning The Master Switch ( a New Yorker and Fortune Book of the Year) and who coined the term -net neutrality---a revelatory, ambitious and urgent account of how the capture and re-sale of human attention became the defining industry of our time.

Feeling attention challenged? Even assaulted? American business depends on it. In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of messaging, advertising enticements, branding, sponsored social media, and other efforts to harvest our attention. Few moments or spaces of our day remain uncultivated by the -attention merchants, - contributing to the distracted, unfocused tenor of our times. Tim Wu argues that this condition is not simply the byproduct of recent technological innovations but the result of more than a century's growth and expansion in the industries that feed on human attention. From the pre-Madison Avenue birth of advertising to …

2 editions

Review of 'The Attention Merchants' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

It's an in-depth analysis of how the "attention merchants" have been capturing our attention and re-purposing it for more than a century now. It's a walk into the history of media and advertising from the 1800's to today: pamphlets, posters, ad-subsidized newspapers (The New York Sun), radio, TV, the internet on personal computer and mobile phones.
It's interesting to see the evolution of the advertisement industry and realize that old concepts were transported to new types of media. And also how advertisements were always fighting for our attention at any cost.
This book makes us think about our behavior towards our internet use because we realize we are being manipulated all the time. And the internet exacerbated the advertisement model, with companies like Facebook and Google, who serves and commercializes ads.

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