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by Johann Hari
Like so many of us, Johann Hari was finding that constantly switching from device to device and tab to tab was a diminishing and depressing way to live. He tried all sorts of self-help solutions–even abandoning his phone for three months–but nothing seemed to work. So Hari went on an epic journey across the world to interview the leading experts on human attention–and he discovered that everything we think we know about this crisis is wrong.
We think our inability to focus is a personal failure to exert enough willpower over our devices. The truth is even more disturbing: our focus has been stolen by powerful external forces that have left us uniquely vulnerable to corporations determined to raid our attention for profit. Hari found that there are twelve deep causes of this crisis, from the decline of mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have robbed some of our attention. In Stolen Focus, he introduces readers to Silicon Valley dissidents who learned to hack human attention, and veterinarians who diagnose dogs with ADHD. He explores a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their attention in a particularly surreal way, and an office in New Zealand that discovered a remarkable technique to restore workers’ productivity.
Crucially, Hari learned how we can reclaim our focus–as individuals, and as a society–if we are determined to fight for it. Stolen Focus will transform the debate about attention and finally show us how to get it back.
“The book the world needs in order to win the war on distraction.”—Adam Grant, author of Think Again
“Read this book to save your mind.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
The point is, society has in the past changed itself for the better — equal rights for women is a good example — and, with regard to technology, it could do so again. But, as Hari demonstrates, it is only by solving the attention crisis in the first place that we can collectively shape a better society. Right now, we are too fractured, too frenzied, to understand what needs to be done. – Michele Magwood, Business Day