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Achtung! Posted on 09/07/2001.

It's been quiet around here. I've been sick and busy. Thought I'd emerge for a bit to call, um, attention to a book, The Attention Economy (Amazon; book's web site).

It's a decent and quick read. I appreciated it most for it's persistent hammering at the "attention" meme... When your finished, you'll definitely look at business processes around you in a new light. I also was quite pleased with the degree of scientific foundation the authors brought to their thesis--there's a whole chapter on the "psychobiology of attention" which was quite good.

Still, business books such as this one need to be taken with many grains of salt (perhaps even a whole salt lick). The author's have an annoying tendency to re-frame all manner of interaction as being part of this overarching "attention economy." There's also a glib-ness to their evolutionary psychology references, comments that feel too pat when considered with reference to a real situation.

In all, I don't think the author's have hit upon a truly fundamental shift in terms of thinking about business and the world around us--while fighting for attention is an ever-increasingly important endeavor, I think it still fits within current economic understanding, as opposed to warranting a paradigm shift (but, hey, it's paradigm shifts that sell books!). Still, many of the points they raise are valid and interesting concerns that will need to be addressed.

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