Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other's values. He known for his role in the documentary The Merchants of Cool a report on how businesses market to American teenagers, and the effect they have together on popular culture. Rushkoff is known for examining the ideas of work and play, playground as factory and how people are both empowered and controlled by the digital space.
Rushkoff's most recent work is the book Program or Be Programmed, a followup to his award-winning Frontline documentary Digital Nation, a film about life on the virtual frontier. In it he urges citizens to take control of their ability to create rather than to consume. "I'm not asking you to know how your computer works", he writes, or "how to change the power supply or solder. I'm asking that you understand the language, the interface, the software that the computer is using. You don't want your kids to be James Joyce, you just want them to learn how to write. If you are not prepared to program then you are being programmed." He has written and hosted three award-winning Frontline documentaries He is also known for popularizing the idea that if something is free, you are the product. He's written more than ten books on digital culture and society, teaches media studies at NYU and the New School University, and lectures around the world.
- "Media Giants." Frontline: The Merchants of Cool. PBS Online, 2001. Web. 7 Mar. 2001.
- Digital Nation, Life on the Virtual Frontier. Published Feb. 2, 2010. Accessed Apr. 2010. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/
- Rushkoff, Douglas. "Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age". Published November 1, 2010.