Steven Poole


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Steven Poole is the author of UNSPEAK, TRIGGER HAPPY, and YOU AREN'T WHAT YOU EAT. He writes for the Guardian, the New Statesman, and other publications.

His new book, RETHINK, will explore the evolution of ideas and will be published by Random House in the UK in June 2016 and Simon and Schuster in the US in 2017.


Publication DetailsNotes



Random House (UK)/ Simon and Schuster (US)

Everyone is interested in innovation, but our idea of it needs updating. Innovation is hardly ever about creating something from nothing. Much more often, it begins by looking in neglected corners of the past. This is a book about ideas whose time has finally come. RETHINK shows how ideas that were ignored or ridiculed for centuries are now storming back to the cutting edge in technology, science, and politics.



UK: Sceptre

Do you hate going forward? Do you shudder when a colleague wants to reach out? Are you disgusted by low-hanging fruit, sick of being on the team, and reluctant to open the kimono? Does the phrase blue-sky thinking make you see red? Do you really want to drill down or take a helicopter view? Are you past caring whether the key drivers are going to move the needle? Should anyone really punch a puppy? And can you bear to hear about a big hairy audacious goal? If modern office jargon makes you want to throw up, this book is for you. Taking a hilarious and scathing deep dive into the most hated and absurd examples of corporate-speak it is a come to Jesus moment for verbally downtrodden workers everywhere.



Fourth Estate

TRIGGER HAPPY, originally published in 2000 with the subtitle “The Inner Life of Videogames”, is a book about the aesthetics of videogames: what they share with other artforms, and the ways in which they are unique. The extra final chapter from the 2004 US edition is posted here. Steven also writes a monthly column of the same title in Edge magazine, and presented a BBC TV documentary entitled Trigger Happy: The Invincible Rise of The Video Game in 2004.

Trigger Happy 2.0, a revised and edited selection of the best columns from Edge, is now available on Kindle.

"Splendid… witty, comprehensive and passionate" — Times

"A critical contribution to our understanding… Essential reading" — Guardian

"From the design standpoint, I haven't seen any better history of the game industry, and more importantly what that history means, than Steven Poole's Trigger Happy" — Ernest Adams, Gamasutra



Union Books

Why is everyone so obsessed with food? How did chefs come to be the gurus of the age? And what’s with serving chips in a beaker and slivers of vegetable on hot stones? This polemic against “foodies” and their oral fixation pits Jamie Oliver against Jacques Derrida, and sees the author eating a nitro-frozen bolus of olive oil, marvelling at food fashion, and descending into the ninth circle of foodist hell at MasterChef Live. It is available now in the UK & Eire, Australia, and North America.

‘The more this book on gastronomy lays into its practitioners, the better it gets. He is brilliantly and consistently and winningly funny.’
(Jonathan Meades, Observer )

’A feisty and inflammatory little book, and well worth thinking about in the event that your gift-giving ritual lacks either of those qualities.’
(Zoe Williams, Guardian, Best Food Books of 2012 )

‘Scathingly funny and well-researched attack on ‘foodism’. As a polemicist, he’s highly readable and isn’t scared to slaughter holy cows. As well as tearing into the soft underbelly of contemporary food culture he provides belly laughs aplenty.’
(Guy Dimond, Time Ou)




Modern political speech is weaponized rhetoric. Words and soundbites smuggle in unexamined arguments, from “community” or “death tax” to “intelligent design”, “war on terror”, and the need to “reassure the markets” in times of financial crisis. On publication in 2006, Unspeak’s forensic analysis was called “required reading” by Slate, “compelling” by the Daily Telegraph, and “crap” by Alastair Campbell. The book is supplemented with new examples at its long-running blog.