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Playing the Future: How Kids' Culture Can Teach Us to Thrive in an Age of Chaos

Author: Douglas Rushkoff
Publisher: New York: HarperCollins, 1996
Review Published: February 2000

 REVIEW 1: Vanessa E. Domine
 AUTHOR RESPONSE: Douglas Rushkoff

I've just recently revisited the bright and cheery ideas in Playing the Future, after taking a pessimistic detour over the past two years. Perhaps I had gotten a bit too sanguine for my own good, but I was startled to see how quickly marketers and other social manipulators would seize upon this generation of "screenagers." In fact, Playing the Future ended up becoming required reading at advertising and public relations firms, where it was used to develop new kinds of commercials, web sites and PR campaigns for media-resistant young people!

I got pretty stirred up about all this, and wrote another book -- a fairly dark portrait of how we were denying ourselves the potential of our new technologies by using them almost exclusively for marketing. The process of researching and writing took much of the optimistic wind out of my sails.

But re-reading my own book served as something of an antidote to the oppression I was experiencing. Again, it seems possible to me that our children might be better prepared to face the coming challenges than we might expect -- and that dualism (as well as the conflict and competition it brings) might be giving way to something entirely more cooperative. I think that's what I was trying to offer when I wrote it.

I do think this is particularly good timing for the paperback release. Parents and educators are looking for a roadmap to this cultural terrain, as well as for ways to relate to what their kids are going through.

Douglas Rushkoff


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