Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

I finished reading: Stolen Focus by Johann Hari 📚 (Hari 2023)

Stolen Focus does not provide a personal step-by-step guide to remove distractions from our lives. Instead, it is about how this Attention Crisis” impacts society.

Here are some of my notes about the author’s points in this book.

What impact is this Attention Crisis having on our lives?

  • We’re finding it harder to find Flow,” during which we become engrossed in an activity without disruptions.
  • With all the tiny bits of information continuously flowing into our lives, it becomes less likely that we’ll read books.
  • It’s harder to think because we don’t allow our minds to wonder as much as we should. Mind wandering is a critical stage in which our brain has insights, makes connections, and plans for the future.
  • Technology is becoming better at keeping us distracted. The more we look at their service, the more money the company makes, so they manipulate us to keep us engaged.

What is contributing to this Attention Crisis?

  • We’re bombarded with chemicals that harm our health and, ultimately, our attention.
  • Failing to explore ADHD. More people than ever are diagnosed with ADHD, yet we’ve prescribed medications rather than solving the causes.
  • Our children are not allowed to explore and play like in the past. They’re no longer playing in the streets and wandering the neighborhood. They’re told precisely what to do in school and what the outcome should be rather than allowing creative learning.
  • We’re not getting enough sleep due to artificial light and consumer capitalism. We’re spending too much time flipping through Tick-Tock videos rather than going to bed at a decent time and allowing our brains to recover and make connections during sleep.

How do we recover?

  • Fewer work hours to allow us more time to rest and recover.
  • Allow our children more time to play and explore, especially at school.
  • Change our technology to be less disruptive to our lives. Yet, the companies building it do not have an incentive to do so unless regulations are established, which is an entirely different issue.
  • Take it upon ourselves to control what we consume, get more sleep and exercise, and spend quality time reading and just being bored. It’s good for us!
Hari, Johann. 2023. Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention - and How to Think Deeply Again. Paperback edition. New York: Crown.

October 29, 2022
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