The Distraction Addiction

Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Number of pages: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

BBB Library: Communication, Technology and Globalization

ISBN: 9780316208260

About the Author

Pang is a professional futurist with a PhD in the history of science. He is a former Microsoft Research fellow and a visiting scholar at Stanford and Oxford universities.


Editorial Review

The Distraction Addiction is packed with fascinating studies, compelling research, and crucial takeaways. Whether it’s breathing while Facebook refreshes (most of us don’t) or finding innovative approaches for reclaiming a few hours from the digital crush, this book is about the ways to tune in without tuning out. It is a vital book for business readers, techies, the tech-dependent. And anyone who wants to thrive in our technological world—and for the spouses, friends, and family who are usually the first to recognize when someone needs help.

Book Reviews

"Pang joins a growing list of authors who offer to help us battle our addiction to technology. This month also sees the publication of Catherine ­Steiner-Adair’s “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” addressed to parents suffering anxiety about what their kids are doing on their computers in the privacy of their rooms and the sinkhole of time they fall into while doing it." The Washington Post

Alex Pang’s The Distraction Addiction, by contrast, brims with suggestions for how to embrace “contemplative computing,” a mindful approach to digital technology that could buy an impressive supply of Kracauerian boredom. Instead of shunning the technological in pursuit of the mythical authentic experience, Pang wants to use technology to clean up the mess it created." New Yorker

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Wisdom to Share

We want our technologies to extend our minds and augment our abilities, not break up our minds.

Nothing in our relationships with information technologies is completely positive or negative.

Entanglement also suggests a degree of complexity and inevitability.

We’re stuck with our devices.

Our relationships with information technologies are incredibly deep and express unique human capacities.

Beliefs about ourselves and others can have a powerful effect on human performance and behavior, in part because the beliefs are subconscious.

E-readers are beloved by travellers who want to be able to carry lots of novels with minimum weight or who visit far-off and exotic locations.

Walking stimulates thinking because it offers a break from the hard focused work of writing, composing, or calculating but doesn’t completely distract the mind.

One evening, disentangle yourself from wires and wirelessness.Set your cell phone to vibrate, and don’t put it back in your pocket.Find that book you started last month, or year, and finish it.

Computers have changed our understanding of human work intelligence and memory and led us to value (computer-like) qualities such as efficiency, speed, and productivity more than creativity, deliberation, and thoroughness.