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Here’s a new way to market a book. The Turkmenistan government deemed the latest text written by its leader a sacred text. If the country’s youths read the book three times, says the author, they will enter heaven.

Required Reading

Here’s a new way to market a book. The Turkmenistan government deemed the latest text written by its leader a sacred text. If the country’s youths read the book three times, says the author, they will enter heaven.

Posted by Joel on March 21 2006 • Books

More Media, Less News

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has issued its third annual report on the state of American Journalism. According to the New York Times analysis, the study has found that the number of media outlets in this country is growing, but with less news.

“As part of the review, a special study looked at how a variety of outlets,” writes Katharine Seelye of the Times, “including newspapers, television, radio and the Internet, covered a single day’s worth of news and concluded that there was enormous repetition and amplification of just two dozen stories. Moreover, it said, “the incremental and even ephemeral nature of what the media define as news is striking."”

Posted by Joel on March 14 2006 • Journalism

The Selfish Gene

It’s been 30 years since Richard Dawkins published his landmark book, The Selfish Gene. I’d highly recommend it. To mark the anniversary, publishers in England are putting out a collection of essays about the subject matter and the author early next week. Here, Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard, talks about how the book influenced his own thinking.

Even though Dawkins writes about evolution, says Pinker, his work has guided how many scholars think about intelligence. “The influence runs deeper than the fact that the mind is a product of the brain and the brain a product of evolution; such an influence could apply to someone who studies any organ of any organism. The significance of Dawkins’s ideas, for me and many others, runs to his characterisation of the very nature of life and to a theme that runs throughout his writings: the possibility of deep commonalities between life and mind.”

Posted by Joel on March 07 2006 • Books

Write Straight

NPR has a good piece about a new book about New Journalism, The Journalists Who Wouldn’t Write Straight. I always find the new journalist’s fascinating. Check out the interview Terry Gross has with author Marc Weingarten. “The book follows the evolution of a new style of storytelling, in which writers immersed themselves in the experiences they described in the pages of magazines like Esquire and New York. While based on fact, stories by early practitioners Norman Mailer and Truman Capote were also full of personal impressions,” writes NPR. “Weingarten follows that evolution—and the way it changed the business of journalism—by following the careers of writers and editors who were at the center of it all.”

Posted by Joel on March 04 2006 • Books