This book was given to me in the spur of the moment by an acquaintance to whom I had just given a book, and I was excited to have it. He told me the book was influential in his life, and one of his favorites. The book is, I am afraid to report, very bad. Each of Chuck Klosterman’s chapters is reminiscent of a rant that a tipsy and self-obsessed college sophomore gives to the young woman he has trapped in the corner of an otherwise interesting party. The chapters are filled with sweeping and purposefully edgy claims about the world and human nature, as well as a healthy heaping of completely inaccurate fact claims (I figured that out only halfway through reading, after I Googled a particularly egregious claim about Beyonce’s religious beliefs, which prompted me to start fact checking everything else that seemed wrong in the chapter—lo and behold, a bunch of it was just straight up wrong). Aside from being boring, often pointless, masturbatory, and largely inaccurate, Klosterman’s writing is painfully outdated. Writing before 2010, Klosterman’s assertions about politics, media, and art feel laughably obsolete, especially because they claim to be universal and transcendent truths.
The last chapter of this book, the big finisher, is Klosterman stating factually that the Unabomber was right: technology is ruining humanity, apparently by making us all less genuine versions of ourselves because we aren’t hunting for food and taking whatever we want when we want it. No other description should be necessary to communicate how much you don’t need to read this book.