Posts From Author: the news a user’s manual

Can The News Make Us Better?

You’re back at work after a lovely long weekend. You log on to your computer. What’s the first thing you do? Check the news? Read on. In his latest book, Alain de Botton, who has made a career examining how we love, live and work, tackles one of the most ubiquitous yet under-analysed aspects of modern life. The News: A User’s Manual (Pantheon Books, 2014) sets out to expose the essentially weird and hazardous relationship we have with news. De Botton’s concern stems from a simple worry: given that the news is the dominant form of education for the world’s adult population, shouldn’t we be more concerned by its unselfconscious presentation of a simplistic worldview? After all, who hasn’t felt at times that the news is just depressing, unedifying, even boring? It affords us direct access to what de Botton calls “the crucible of human horror” without once acknowledging the flipside (“65 million people go to bed every night without hitting or murdering anyone”). It introduces us to a range of characters enviable for their looks, wealth and fabulous successes, then strikes them down for their hubris. It blows our tiny minds with fiscal stats no more truly comprehensible than the […]
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