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Information Anxiety

Overview

In this breakthrough book, Richard Saul Wurman explains why the information explosion has backfired, leaving us stranded between mere facts and real understanding. In Information Anxiety, he presents a more sensible way to handle the barrage of information we face every day. Using three easy-to-apply principles and hundreds of innovative shortcuts, Wurman shows us how to get the information we really need and how to use it effectively. Fun to read, visually exciting, and continually stimulating, here is your ...
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Overview

In this breakthrough book, Richard Saul Wurman explains why the information explosion has backfired, leaving us stranded between mere facts and real understanding. In Information Anxiety, he presents a more sensible way to handle the barrage of information we face every day. Using three easy-to-apply principles and hundreds of innovative shortcuts, Wurman shows us how to get the information we really need and how to use it effectively. Fun to read, visually exciting, and continually stimulating, here is your anxiety-proof guide through today's information jungle.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wurman identifies a special ailment of this age of communicationsso-called ``information anxiety,'' caused, in his view, by an overwhelming flood of data, much of it from computers and much of it unintelligible. The author, a graphic artist and architect, argues that ``learning is remembering what you are interested in,'' and proposes to help the anxious individual to select personally relevant information from the body of raw data or ``non-information.'' He also demonstrates how to ``access'' resources and take advantage of experiences, suggesting specific information-processing skills and media habits. His breezy, colloquial style using short, headlined paragraphs is sprinkled with graphics and notes, imaginative quotes and anecdotes. This stimulating book is worth reading in or out of sequence if only for Wurman's views on education and the need to ``transform information into structured knowledge.'' Author tour. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553348569
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1990
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
1 The Non--Information Explosion 31
Telltale Signs 35
You Can't be too Rich or too Well Informed 36
A Word in Search of a Definition 37
Anxiety--Proofing Information 41
The Five Rings 42
Access is the Antidote to Anxiety 45
Order Doesn't Equal Understanding 48
What's Missing From This Picture? 49
2 The Understanding Business 51
Ode to Ignorance 53
Aesthetic Seductions 55
Just the Facts, Please 56
Personal Table of Contents 59
The Five Ultimate Hatracks 59
Vantage Points 65
Classifying Lassie: the Dog Story 67
The Space Between Things 72
The Smart Yellow Pages or Your Personal Guide to Living 74
Decision Trees 79
Making America Understandable to Americans 80
In the Beginning is the end 80
3 The Conversation 83
The Art of Listening 86
Talk is Deep 87
The Lost Art of Conversation 89
Teaching the President to Talk 89
The Architecture of Instructions 95
Giving Good Instructions 98
4 Language: Babel, Seduction, Content 101
Which Came First, Language or Thought? 104
Mind Your Mouth 108
Filler Phrases 109
Language is a Laughing Matter 111
Renaming the Wheel 112
Verbal Geometry 113
Sign Language 114
William Zinsser on Writing 116
The Write Stuff 118
5 Landmines in the Understanding Field 121
Polka Dots on an Edsel 123
Function is to Performance as a Model t Ford is to a Ferrari 123
Traps, Diseases, and Malaises 124
Communication Equals Remembering What it's Like not to Know 130
Drawing the Line 131
Ed Schlossberg Conversation 132
What You Take for Granted You Cannot Improve 135
6 Learning is Remembering What You are Interested in 137
You Can't Get Lost on the Road to Interest 140
Interest Connections 140
Discriminating Between Interests and Obligations 141
Access Guides 143
Getting Permission to Learn 145
The Importance of Being Interested 148
7 Education is to Learning as Tour Groups are to Adventure 149
Gin-Rummy Memory 151
Sacred Bull Fighting 152
Seeing, Hearing, Expressing 154
Fear of Learning 154
Defensive Expenditures 156
Learning About Learning 156
Conversation with Alan Kay 157
Learning Fantasies 159
Parallel Learning 161
Terror and Confidence 164
Information Ownership 166
8 You Only Learn Something Relative to Something you Understand 167
Motivating Models 169
Theme and Variations 170
Learning Means Making Connections 171
How Big is an Acre? 172
The Numbers Game 173
Say I do or Die 175
Screenplay Rights on Annual Reports 176
Slicing the Pie: the Nature of Recreation 179
Comparing Components 184
Conversation With John Sculley 184
The Joy of Discovery 187
9 Hailing Failing and Still Sailing 189
An Ode to Error 191
The Proper Management of Failure Breeds Success 192
What You Don't Know is as Important as What You do 194
Conversation With Paul Kaufman 196
You Won't Believe What Went Wrong 198
The Breaking Point 199
Museum of Failure is Overnight Success 200
Information Bulimia: A Reading Disorder 201
10 The Low-Fat Information Diet 203
Confessions of an Information Junkie 204
Absolutely Essential vs. Guilt 205
Paper Weight-Watchers 209
Resume Verite 211
Resume of Loring Leifer 214
Resume of Sally O'Malley 216
Distinguish Yourself 218
11 News Information: Violent Wallpaper 221
Risk Perception 223
Your Personal Media-Measuring Stick 227
Everything Takes Place Someplace 228
Conversation With Tom Brokaw 230
Orientation to Events 235
The Glory of Stories 236
Radius of Interest 239
Stream of Consequence 241
12 Cultural Information: Personal Vision 243
The Inequity of Perception 246
Selective Perception = Exaggeration 247
As the World Turns 250
Embellish With Flourish 251
Peter Bradford on Painting 253
Perceptive Perceptions 256
The Map as Communications Currency 256
13 Reference Information: the Map or Mankind's Ability to Perceive 259
The Power of Maps 260
Maps as Metaphors 262
Universal Maps 263
Mapmakers 265
Maps of Numbers and Ideas 269
Diagrams and Chapts 271
Nowhere Maps 280
Conversation with John Wurman 284
User-Participation Maps 287
Taxing Forms 287
Form and Delivery 290
14 Technomania: Information as Commodity 293
The Profit Potential 296
Information as Product 297
Taxing Information 299
Conversation with Dick Brass 301
Informational Cacophony 307
More is More Expensive 309
Information Vulnerability Quotient 310
The Rebound Effect 312
15 Prescription for Anxiety 315
Fewer, Fewer, Fewer 317
Painless Decisions 317
So Much Information, so Little Time 318
Robust Attitudes 319
Robust Actions 319
Communication Skills 322
Reference Materials 325
Media Habits 327
Information Involvement Inventory 328
A Starting Point 331
Epilogue: Predictions for Understanding 333
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