Influencing Machine (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media
The cover to the hardcover edition of The Influencing Machine.
AuthorBrooke Gladstone
IllustratorJosh Neufeld
CountryUnited States
Subject Media
GenreComics, Journalism, Media Studies, Communication
PublisherW. W. Norton
Publication date
May 2011
Media typehardcover, paperback

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media is a nonfiction graphic novel by journalist Brooke Gladstone and cartoonist Josh Neufeld. Gladstone describes the book as "a treatise on the relationship between us and the news media."[1] It was further described by the New York Observer as "a manifesto on the role of the press in American history as told through a cartoon version of herself."[1] The title of the book refers to On the Origin of the "Influencing Machine" in Schizophrenia, a 1919 article written by psychoanalyst Viktor Tausk.

Publication history[edit]

The Influencing Machine was released in hardcover in May 2011. A paperback edition with a new cover was released in May 2012. A tenth anniversary edition, with a new cover, interior revisions, new material, and a new afterword, was released in January 2021.[2]


Much in the vein of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, Gladstone appears in the book as an illustrated character, taking the reader through two millennia of history — from the newspapers in Caesar's Rome to the penny press of the American Revolution and the activities of contemporary journalism. Issues discussed include bias, objectivity, misinformation, ethics, and a large chapter on war reporting. In a reference to the Trausk's "Influencing Machine," the book debunks the notion that “The Media” is an external force, outside of our control. Instead, it posits that the media is a mirror — sometimes a distorted one — reflecting society's beliefs and morals back at itself.


The Influencing Machine received recognition from magazines, newspapers, and websites such as The New Yorker,[3] National Public Radio,[4] the Associated Press,[5] The Nation,[6] Columbia Journalism Review,[7] and many others.

The book was named one of the best comics/graphic novels of 2011 by Publishers Weekly[8] and the Library Journal.[9] It was listed on a number of 2011 holiday gift guides, including New York magazine[10] and BoingBoing.[11] It was selected for 1book140, The's reading club.[12]

The Influencing Machine has been selected as a common read by a number of universities, including Alaska Pacific University, American University,[13] Millersville University,[14] the University of Alaska Anchorage,[15] and the University of Maryland.[16]


The Influencing Machine has been translated into Korean,[17] Italian,[18] French,[19] and German.[20]

  • The Influencing Machine (English paperback edition) ISBN 978-0393342468, W.W. Norton, May 2012
  • Digesting the Media: Detailed History of Media; Eloquent Media Criticism (Korean edition), DoddleSaeghim, 2012
  • Armi di Persuasione di Massa: Abbiamo i media che ci meritiamo (Italian edition) ISBN 978-8817058704, Rizzoli Lizard, February 2013
  • La Machine à Influencer: Une historie des medias (French edition) ISBN 978-2-916207-96-4 Çà et Là, April 2014
  • Der Beeinflussungsapparat (German edition) ISBN 9783981740004, Correctiv, April 2016
  • The Influencing Machine (10th anniversary paperback edition) ISBN 978-0-393-54157-1, W.W. Norton, January 2021

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Neyfakh, Leon (May 26, 2009). "Norton Buys Graphic Media Manifesto". New York Observer.
  2. ^ "The Influencing Machine," W.W. Norton website. Retrieved Feb. 14, 2021.
  3. ^ "Briefly Noted," The New Yorker (October 3, 2011), p. 79.
  4. ^ "AUTHOR INTERVIEWS: 'The Influencing Machine' Traces Myths Of The Media," National Public Radio "Weekend Edition" (May 21, 2011).
  5. ^ Ramde, Dinesh. "'Influencing Machine': We get the media we deserve," Associated Press (Deseret News) (June 7, 2011).
  6. ^ Richardson, Reed. "Our Media Ourselves," The Nation (JULY 15, 2011).
  7. ^ Rall, Ted. "Media Illustrated: Brooke Gladstone's new book, The Influencing Machine, reviewed in comic format," Columbia Journalism Review (May/June 2011).
  8. ^ 'Best Books 2011: Comics," Publishers Weekly (Nov. 7, 2011).
  9. ^ Cornog, Martha and Steve Raiter. "Best Books 2011: Graphic Novels," Archived December 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Library Journal (Dec. 1, 2011).
  10. ^ Kim, Wook. "The 2011 Vulture Holiday Gift Guide," New York (Nov. 30, 2011).
  11. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "Influencing Machine: Brook Gladstone's comic about media theory is serious but never dull," BoingBoing (JUL 7, 2011).
  12. ^ Matias, J. Nathan. "1book140: Recapping Our Twitter Chat with The Influencing Machine's Creators," (Aug. 23, 2013).
  13. ^ "LITERATURE: 2014 Writer as Witness Colloquium," American University website (August 15, 2014).
  14. ^ Barcoski, Maria. "Campus Unity Through Reading," The Snapper (Sept. 7, 2012).
  15. ^ "Brooke Gladstone talks about "The Influencing Machine," UAA Podcasts: University of Alaska Anchorage (Feb. 26, 2014).
  16. ^ "FYB 2012: The Influencing Machine," University of Maryland website. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.
  17. ^ DIGESTING THE MEDIA: Detailed History of Media; Eloquent Media Criticism (translated from Korean) (DoddleSaeghim, 2012).
  18. ^ ARMI DI PERSUASIONE DI MASSA (Rizzoli Lizard, 2012).
  19. ^ LA MACHINE À INFLUENCER (Çà et Là, 2014).
  20. ^ DER BEEINFLUSSUNGSAPPARAT (Correctiv, 2016).

External links[edit]