Review: The News: A User's Manual by Alain de Botton
The News: A User’s Manual by Alain de Botton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Continuing my consumption of Alain de Botton non-fictions brings me his book called “The News”. Essentially a philosophical take on how the news came about along with its importance and impact on population.
De Botton as per usual takes you on a journey through the various facets of a newspaper such as politics, economy, world news, celebrity, disaster etc. He provides many examples and demonstrates the both conscious and subconscious impacts do the way behave in both the short term and long term.
It certainly wasn’t one of the best de Botton books that I have read. However, given I’m a big consumer of written news, it was interesting to challenge my beliefs and reactions to the written word in tabloids and determine whether I should read it differently going forward. A user manual indeed!
Three key takeaways from the book:
1. Two emotions in which we’re likely to become extremely well acquainted the longer we spend with the news are fear and anger.
2. For all their talk of education, modern societies neglect to examine by far the most influential means by which their populations are educated; the news.
3. The impulse to admire is an ineradicable and important feature of our psyches. Ignoring or condemning it won’t kill it off; it will simply force it underground, where it will lurk untended and undeveloped, prone to latch on to inappropriate targets. Rather than try to suppress our love of celebrity, we ought to channel it in optimally intelligent and fruitful directions.