Have you noticed that your ability to pay attention is collapsing? Did you know that in the US teenagers can focus on one task for only sixty-five 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 went on a quest to find out what was happening to our attention and he wrote a phenomenal book called Stolen Focus.
He argues in the book that your focus has been stolen by some powerful external forces.
Hari found that there are 12 deep causes of this crisis, from the decline of the mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have rubbed some of our attention.
Hari says that we can reclaim our focus-as individuals and as a society-if we are determined to fight for it.
Some key points
- Why do we need to pay attention to our attention?
- How childhood is happening behind closed doors and the lack of free unstructured play and movement is affecting kids
- The myth of multitasking and the switch cost effect
- Why tech is not the only invader of your attention
- And why the solutions require both individual and collective approaches
- And so much more
About my guest
Johann Hari is a writer and journalist. He has written for the New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian and other newspapers. His TED talks and NowThis viral video have been viewed almost 100 million times, and his work has been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah Winfrey to Noam Chomsky to Joe Rogan. He was the Executive Producer of the Oscar-nominated film “The United States vs Billie Holiday” and of a forthcoming eight-part TV series starring Samuel L Jackson.
Mentioned links and resources
- Johann’s website
- Follow him on Twitter
- Follow him on Instagram
- TED talk: This Could Be Why People Are Depressed
- TED talk: Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong
Get his books
- God Save the Queen?
- Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
- Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
- Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention and How to Think Deeply Again
Other episodes you may enjoy
- Strategies for Digital Parenting with Jessie Liew
- Simple Tools to Feel Great with Rangan Chatterjee, MD
- The Gift of Presence with Caroline Welch
- The Impact of Loneliness with Dr. J. W Freiberg
- Simplicity Parenting with Kim John Payne
- Should You Worry about Your Kids’ Screen Time? with Anya Kamenetz
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