Amusing Ourselves to Death

By Neil Postman

Words from the achiever

“The book that most people wouldn’t have heard of that had a fairly big impact on me when I was a freshman was a media critic named Neil Postman who wrote a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. And I began to realize that the structural means of communication — as Marshall McLuhan said, ‘the medium is the message’ — actually shaped our identity, shaped how we perceive the world, how we perceived each other, and how we came to judgments about what is truth. That’s where I started getting interested in how thought and language were important. How the way that we communicate, and the medium by which we communicated, we crafted messages, was extremely important to a better life.”

About the book

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell phones to DVDs—it has taken on even greater significance. Amusing Ourselves to Death is a prophetic look at what happens when politics, journalism, education, and even religion become subject to the demands of  entertainment. It is also a blueprint for regaining controlof our media, so that they can serve our highest goals.