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Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again (2022) [audiobook]

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Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention - and How to Think Deeply Again
By: Johann Hari
Narrated by: Johann Hari
Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 01-25-22
Language: English
Publisher: Random House Audio

Our ability to pay attention is collapsing. From the New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections comes a groundbreaking examination of why this is happening - and how to get our attention 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)

In the United States, teenagers can focus on one task for only 65 seconds at a time, and office workers average only three minutes. 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 12 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 listeners 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.


this came at perfect time. needed new audiobook for walks.

Nice one. Thanks for sharing/commenting.

Sadly, the prognosis is not looking good for a non-distracted world.

The response to Covid-19 has officially disincentivized the world to get off digital.
There is now more online delivery and online payment options than ever before.
Every country that I am aware of now has made huge strides toward cashless payments.

So again this goes back to (1) data and (2) capitalism.

The matrix is one big distraction-maker anyway.

Put differently: what isn't a distraction? If the obstacle is the way, then distraction is the focus.

I think another component of distraction to the mind/ego, that is often overlooked, was talked a lot about by people like Terence McKenna and Ian Xel Lungold when they said that time and complexity (technology) were exponentially accelerating. Both of them made the mistake that 2012 was the culmination point of all of human and even biological history - time as having a spiral structure.

Lungold talked about the effects an acceleration of complexity/time would have on the human mind. Not many people that I know of have made those connections, although it might be made in this book - I just started it today. But he basically said that the human ego has a speed limit, something like 28 frames per second, and that more and more events and technological complexity would overwhelm the operating system of the brain. This would create enormous amounts of stress, which is the cause of many types of ailments and illnesses, fight or flight responses on the individual and societal scale, and ultimately more responses to the stress like increases of suicide etc.

But he said the answer to this predicament would be to go into what athlete's call "the zone", an intuition-based mode of consciousness, like in meditation practices and/or using psychedelics, to be able to handle more information and complexity.

a return to classical liberal arts education to train the brain to discern the distraction, logical fallacies and ignore what is not true. It will take people who not only know how to quiet the mind, but also have developed good perception filters. Sometimes just turning "OFF" the TV, the ipad, the "smart" phone goes a long way toward reducing the noise.
So called "content creators" who can help decipher the bullshit and illustrate the illogical fallacies will become the new "experts" valued by those who desire quality over quantity of understanding. Like "Grand Theft World" hosted by Richard Grove from Tragedy and Hope