Synopses & Reviews
The question of our time: can we reclaim our lives in an age that feels busier and more distracting by the day?
We've all found ourselves checking email at the dinner table, holding our breath while waiting for Outlook to load, or sitting hunched in front of a screen for an hour longer than we intended.
Mobile devices and the web have invaded our lives, and this is a big idea book that addresses one of the biggest questions of our age: can we stay connected without diminishing our intelligence, attention spans, and ability to really live? Can we have it all?
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a renowned Stanford technology guru, says yes. The Distraction Addiction is packed with fascinating studies, compelling research, and crucial takeaways. Whether it's breathing while Facebook refreshes, or finding creative ways to take a few hours away from the digital crush, this book is about the ways to tune in without tuning out.
"In this practical guide to better, more 'contemplative computing,' Pang, a historian of technology, teaches readers a valuable set of skills to better enable them to deal with an increasing reliance on ever-more intrusive and distracting forms of mobile technology. Along the way, the author provides an elegant tour through current neuroscience and an examination of the nature of attention to find better ways to handle our contemporary digital mediascape. In seven extended chapters, Pang assesses attention-focusing tools (e.g., aesthetically minimal word-processing software like WriteRoom and Internet blockers like Freedom), as well as strategies like meditation and scheduled 'Sabbaths' away from stimulation like e-mail, push notifications, and other calls for attention. Pang's methods will be familiar to readers of other time-management manifestos, but he successfully renders them concrete, practical, and contemporary. His history of technology is also fascinating, drawing from sources far removed from the digital sphere. Pang's tome is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to take control of his or her digital life, and it's a great primer on the interplay between mind and tech. Agent: Zoé Pagnamenta, Pagnamenta Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Pang reminds us that our brains are still capable of feats far beyond the reach of computers." Mother Jones
"A wise, urbane, funny, and delightfully deep book. This book is about much more than distraction and addiction in the smartphone age. It's about living life wholly and fully by paying deep, thoughtful attention to our tools and our bodies, and to the people we love. This book speaks to modern times, but its message is timeless." Michael Chorost, author of World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet
"The era of the smartphone and the iPad seems to present us with a deeply unappealing choice: either we can resign ourselves to a life of tech-induced anxiety and distraction, or we can renounce the many benefits of the web-connected world. In this important and hopeful book, Alex Pang explains that there's a third possibility. Using the approach he calls 'contemplative computing,' we can harness technology to foster, not disrupt, attention and calm — and thereby use our gadgets in the service of a meaningful life, rather than letting them use us." Oliver Burkeman, Guardian columnist and author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
About the Author
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has spent the past twenty years studying people, technology, and the worlds they make. A professional futurist with a PhD in the history of science, Pang is a former Microsoft Research fellow, a visiting scholar at Stanford and Oxford universities, and a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights, a Silicon Valley-based think tank. Pang's writings have appeared in Scientific American, American Scientist, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review, as well as in many academic publications.