So most of us have experienced it; the day when you have to get a lot done, yet your nose is stuck in Instagram/Facebook/Twitter.
The authors come from backgrounds in Psychology and Neuroscience, and have achieved a rare triumph in a book that’s both a examination of the science behind distraction, and a practical manual for addressing it.
We learn about “goal interference”, and internal and external causes. We learn that the human brain isn’t truly a multitasking device – instead it rapidly switches from task to task, using working memory to temporarily hold information on these tasks. We learn that we are programmed to be information seekers – “information forgers” in the authors words – with our brain, via our Dopamine pathways, literally giving us a reward for new bits of information – FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, is a real thing.
It’s not solely a book about the effects of technology and social media, more about how modern life in general, of which these are part, challenge our ability to concentrate. Equally it’s not critical of new tech and social media, more exhorting us to recognise the challenges.
The book is split into three sections, looking at Cognition, how our brains work; Behaviour, how we respond to the modern world; and Taking Control, how we respond and change, and as I mention above achieved the rare feat of weaving science and practical aspects together.
I found this both a fascinating book, and which gave me a few thoughts about distraction and procrastination. It’s a book I’d recommend to anyone with an interest, professionally or personally, in these areas. It’s an interesting and readable book.