Economics, Literature, Press Releases

Press release: Lanham, Economics of Attention

jacket imageEconomics, as you may remember from ECON 101, is about the allocation of scare resources. There is an irony, therefore, to the overused phrase information economy, because information is hardly in short supply. From Google to Wikipedia to the dramatic rise of the blogosphere, we’re not lacking information, we’re drowning in it. What’s really scarce in our age of information is the attention necessary to make sense of it all.
Enter Richard Lanham, author of the critically acclaimed The Electronic Word, a 1993 New York Times notable book of the year that was prescient in the way it forecasted our epochal move from page to screen and the profound effects of the Internet on the way we read, write, and communicate to one another. According to Lanham, in order to understand our latest regime, we need to think of it as an economics of attention—one in which the essential commodities of our time are no longer things or stuff, but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media.
With all the verve and erudition of Lanham’s earlier work, The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information tackles many of the vital questions that information technologies have placed before us.… Read the press release.
Read an excerpt.