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Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization

For a brilliant literary treatment of addiction, Western civilization, marketing, and technology (and the relationships among them), read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. The book's action hinges upon a superstimulus to end all superstimuli--an obscure film (called Infinite Jest) so addictive that anyone who watches it inevitably becomes addicted and dies, passing up food, sleep, and sex in order to watch the film over and over again. Who knows--maybe the film's addictiveness was just an order of magnitude or two greater than that of WoW.

It's one of those books that is frequently mentioned in conversation but few read. But it's one of a small number of life-altering books that I think about every single day, without fail.