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This book has many redeeming qualities. It is highly informative about the aims and ambitions of what most of us are exposed to, not just daily, but practically all of our waking hours. We live on our screens. We tap. We look away, and return to tapping that screen. This book is very revealing as to why we are hooked to our social media and our ever growing screens (they're getting huge!). He delves into the origins of the internet, the people behind it, and the disturbing motives and greed of those who have profited (beyond) handsomely for their roles in our lives. I'm not going to say you need to read this, but you will be more informed of why you scroll, why the scroll even exists, and again, the motives of the inventions that engage you, and keep you engaged. Most of all, it attempts to explain the damage that is being done to us and our children. Our IQ, our concentration, and consequently, our learning, are all put at a disadvantage, and the author has the facts and figures to back up his claims. The author poses difficult questions for us as individuals and as parents. He doesn't have all the answers unfortunately, but knowledge and awareness can lead to power over what seems to control us, that's if we use the knowledge and awareness that we gain. A good read, but now how do we get our kids (and ourselves) to reduce media platform exposure to increase focus, without them hating us? I hope his next book can lend a hand with that!
This is one of those books that I can't say I enjoyed, but I'm very glad I read it.
Like most people, I have problems focusing and staying on task at times. The ubiquitous allure of social media being just a click away is an ever-present temptation that often becomes a self-imposed distraction. I fight it, but I often lose the battle.
In this incredibly researched, yet easy to read, book, author and journalist Johann Hari explains many of the reasons almost all of society is struggling with this issue. Along the way I learned a few new terms like "switch cost effect" and "surveillance capitalism" that will help me improve my focus.
Some of his solutions seem a bit extreme to me (and even scary - no way I want the government taking over Facebook!) but he throws them out for consideration and to get the reader thinking about this issue and how we can individually, and even collectively, reclaim our attention. I specifically like how he tied our problems with focusing on fixing climate change with our attention crisis. In that, I think Hari makes his best points.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who'd like to reclaim some of their focus. And I'd urge any parent with young children (or anyone dreaming of becoming a parent one day) to give this a read as he spends a lot of time on ADHD and ways we can improve children's attention without drugs.
Hari quotes someone as saying "You don't get what you don't fight for" and in that I think we can all agree. Whether or not you think fighting for your attention (and for society to regain its ability to focus) is up to you. I'd encourage you to read this book before deciding either way.
In Johann Hari’s Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again, the author treads some important albeit familiar waters: the breakdown of our attention in the age of social media, or as one popular meme on Twitter puts it: “Scrolling is the new smoking.” Using his keen storytelling talents, Hari writes about his own attention breakdown, and others’, in the digital age. He desperately wants himself, and us, to reclaim our focus, get into the flow, and regain our humanity. Just as individuals have gotten fat on the Wester Junk Food diet, Hari observes, we are getting brain-dead on the social media Junk Food diet, and the solution goes well beyond individual will; it will require institutional solutions when in fact these institutions profit at our mental decay as Jaron Lanier’s and Sherry Turkle’s books and Andrew Sullivan’s viral essay “I Used to be a Human Being” show us. While Hari’s subject is familiar and while is solution for corporations to change our digital diet is unlikely, his storytelling makes us see the crisis acutely enough to make the book worth reading though I wonder if it could have been better as a long essay.
An amazingly insightful, well-researched warning. Refreshing honesty about the tech industry. Some reasonable solutions will require significant effort. Yet, please note: when he injects social issues and politics, his balance is very left and even specifically anti our previous pres. (I didn’t use his name on purpose 😊 ) Knowing this, I would not have sought him out as an author. Even so, I am very grateful that I found his book and grateful for his research and insights.
This was ultimately a very solid, easy to read collection of Anton problems you probably have heard before. That said I still really liked the presentation. The ships of the problem becomes more emotionally apparent when it’s all in book form instead of a slow trickle over years.