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The Information Diet--New from O'Reilly Media: A Case for Conscious Consumption

December 12, 2011

The modern human animal spends upwards of 11 hours out of every 24 in a state of constant consumption. Not eating, but gorging on information ceaselessly spewed from the screens and speakers we hold dear. Just as we have grown morbidly obese on sugar, fat, and flour—so, too, have we become gluttons for texts, instant messages, emails, RSS feeds, downloads, videos, status updates, and tweets.

And just as too much junk food can lead to obesity, too much junk information can lead to ignorance. The Information Diet (O'Reilly, $22.99 USD) shows you how to thrive in this information glut—what to look for, what to avoid, and how to be selective. In the process, author Clay Johnson explains the role information has played throughout history, and why following his prescribed diet is essential for everyone who strives to be smart, productive, and sane.

"2012 aims to be more filled with junk information than any other year in human history," notes Johnson, the founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama's online campaign for the presidency in 2008. "That's why it's time for an Information Diet."

In The Information Diet, you will:

  • Discover why eminent scholars are worried about our state of attention and general intelligence
  • Examine how today's media—Big Info—give us exactly what we want: content that confirms our beliefs
  • Learn to take steps to develop data literacy, attention fitness, and a healthy sense of humor
  • Become engaged in the economics of information by learning how to reward good information providers

Just like a normal, healthy food diet, The Information Diet is not about consuming less—it's about finding a healthy balance that works for you.

New Year's Resolution
O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, LifeHacker founder Gina Trapani, and The Onion digital director Baratunde Thurston are among those joining Clay Johnson in making The Information Diet their New Year's resolution. Please join them:

Advance Praise
"I've decided to be much more selective about what information I feed my head."
—Gina Trapani

"80 percent of Americans suffer from information obesity. That's not true, but it could be!"
—Baratunde Thurston

"I'm cutting out low-quality information and I feel happier and more productive!"
—Jennifer Pahlka, Founder, Code for America

"My attention is the most valuable resource I have. I can protect it with an information diet."
—Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist, Bit.ly

"Unconscious consumption squanders our precious attention."
—Ev Williams, Obvious Corporation

For a review copy or more information please email peyton@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

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Make 'The Information Diet' your New Year's resolution: http://bit.ly/t7Vxeu

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Additional Resources
The ebook is available now. The print book will be available Jan. 3, 2012.

For more information about the Information Diet concept, see Clay Johnson's website:

For more information about the book, including table of contents, author bio, and cover graphic, see: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920019978.do

About the Author

Clay Johnson is best known as the founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Barack Obama's online campaign for the presidency in 2008. After leaving Blue State, Johnson was the director of Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation, where he built an army of 2000 developers and designers to build open source tools to give people greater access to government data. He was awarded the Google/O'Reilly Open Source Organizer of the Year in 2009, and included in Federal Computing Week's Fed 100 in 2010. The range of Johnson's experience with software development, politics, entrepreneurism, and working with non-profits gives him a unique perspective on media and culture. His life is dedicated to giving people greater access to the truth about what's going on in their communities, their cities, and their governments.

View Clay A. Johnson's full profile page.

The Information Diet The Information Diet
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
By Clay A. Johnson
Print ISBN: 9781449304683   Ebook ISBN: 9781449321550  
Pages: 160
Print Price: $22.99   Ebook Price: $19.99  

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About O’Reilly

O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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