Judging a book

"Must a book review take the form of prose — or can it be pure image?"

Source: New York Times

Source: New York Times

"Eleven Secrets," 2015, by Wangechi Mutu. From the NY Times "Five Artists, Five Book Reviews" where it appeared courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery

That's the question posed by a fascinating New York Times piece that features book reviews in the form of videos and artwork.

As a smart consumer of data, you may find it interesting to consider the medium in which different data is delivered. How does the medium affect the data that is conveyed? A video allows for music and sound effects, while a printed review does not. Reading a review online can offer links to related material, in a way that a printed piece can't.

How does the medium affect your interpretation of the data? Does hearing someone's voice make a book review more emotional - and therefore more memorable? Do you take a review more seriously if you read it in a printed newspaper, getting the ink on your fingertips as you feel the weight of the newsprint in your hands, versus on the screen of your iPad, where it can all disappear with the swipe of your finger?

As Marshall McLuhan famously wrote, the medium is the message. Something to keep in mind as you consume data in your everyday life.