Enjoying Machines

Enjoying Machines

By Barry Brown and Oskar Juhlin

An argument that pleasure is a fundamental part of why we use technology, and a framework for understanding the relationship between pleasure and technology.





An argument that pleasure is a fundamental part of why we use technology, and a framework for understanding the relationship between pleasure and technology.

The dominant feature of modern technology is not how productive it makes us, or how it has revolutionized the workplace, but how enjoyable it is. We take pleasure in our devices, from smartphones to personal computers to televisions. Whole classes of leisure activities rely on technology. How has technology become such an integral part of enjoyment? In this book, Barry Brown and Oskar Juhlin examine the relationship between pleasure and technology, investigating what pleasure and leisure are, how they have come to depend on the many forms of technology, and how we might design technology to support enjoyment. They do this by studying the experience of enjoyment, documenting such activities as computer gameplay, deer hunting, tourism, and television watching. They describe technologies that support these activities, including prototype systems that they themselves developed.

Brown and Juhlin argue that pleasure is fundamentally social in nature. We learn how to enjoy ourselves from others, mastering it as a set of skills. Drawing on their own ethnographic studies and on research from economics, psychology, and philosophy, Brown and Juhlin argue that enjoyment is a key concept in understanding the social world. They propose a framework for the study of enjoyment: the empirical program of enjoyment.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262028783 232 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Overall, this book is a pleasure to read and has an impact disproportionate to its slim size.



  • Enjoying Machines shows that the greatest impact of computers may be in bringing pleasure to our lives, and it offers a serious look at the complex interrelationships of pleasure and technology. Building on their own design and ethnographic work but also providing crisp, clear summaries of work from sociology, psychology, and philosophy as well as from computer science, economics, human-computer interaction, and research methodology, the authors have created a valuable guide for researchers and designers of future systems. At the same time, they maintain just the right level of detail to be an enjoyable introduction to this important topic for a general audience

    James D. Hollan

    Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego

  • This is one of the most important books in the area of enjoyment and entertainment computing. The authors, who are leading experts on the topic, provide a sweeping and comprehensive work on a deep understanding of what enjoyment is and of its nature. They also expose enjoyment's profound effect on the design of analog and digital media, and how it may affect technology in the future. This book will have a significant impact on design, computers, and technology

    Adrian David Cheok

    Professor of Pervasive Computing, City University London; Director of Imagineering Institute, Malaysia; author of Art and Technology of Entertainment Computing and Communication