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Posted May 18, 2005
A Contrarian View of Video Games
It is high time that we began to understand the depth of our children's investment in video games. Anyone with children-- especially male children--under 18 knows full well how deeply immersed kids are in video games. What we don't understand well is how they view that immersion or how it is shaping their thought and behavior. The standard rants about video games--that they are transforming our children into violent sociopaths, eroding literacy, turning young minds to mush--have become all too familiar. In fact, many of the same criticisms have been aimed at other new media, most notably television. If you want to go back far enough, you can find Plato's Socrates raging in similar fashion about that newfangled invention, writing. So we have seen plenty of analysis of the price we're paying for the younger generation's addiction to gaming. What we haven't seen much of, though, is hard-headed description of what impacts gaming is having or much assessment of the potential benefits. Into this vacuum comes a terrific book from Harvard Business School press. The authors, Beck and Wade, have surveyed and interviewed hundreds of young business leaders and entrepreneurs and found that nearly all shared one thing in common--a set of attitudes and behaviors traceable to their childhood immersion in videogames. Some of these include: a willingness to take risks; a strong interest in exploring innovative and offbeat approaches to problem-solving; the flexibility needed to multitask and play multiple roles in an organization. Moreover, these attitudes and behaviors were viewed by the interviewees as powereful determinants of their business success. 'Got Game' is thus a contrarian argument for the value of video games. Parents raising videogame-aholics should buy this book and read it. It may relieve some chronic anxieties, or at the very least give pause for reflection. Readers who remain unconvinced by the book's argument will still enjoy the book's wit and eloquence. It's livelier and funnier than one has any right to expect from Harvard Business School Press.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.