Review: Lanham, The Economics of Attention
Publishers Weekly recently praised Richard A. Lanham’s The Economics of Attention: Style and Substance in the Age of Information. From the review: "Lanham’s points are strong and well-researched, as shown through his ‘background conversations,’ substitutes for endnotes included at the end of every chapter. If style is going to increasingly operate as the decision-making arbiter, Lanham should be commended on his: clear, jargon-free and forward-thinking."
Richard A. Lanham here traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media. In such a world, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced. For Lanham, the arts and letters are the disciplines that study how human attention is allocated and how cultural capital is created and traded. In an economy of attention, style and substance change places. The new attention economy, therefore, will anoint a new set of moguls in the business world—not the CEOs or fund managers of yesteryear, but new masters of attention with a grounding in the humanities and liberal arts.
Read an excerpt.