Stolen Focus by Johann Hari [8/10]

Johann Hari is a prodigiously busy journalist of ideas who surveys zeitgeist fields and presents the panoply of expert thinking with panache and readability. He can annoy, he can trivialize, he can over-dramatize, but in wrestling with current issues from a non-expert viewpoint, patching in his own experiences, he is mimicking what we, as global humanists, should do, and so his books perform a valuable service. “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention” tackles a general purported loss of focus or attention that can apparently be detected in modern societies over the past few decades. Indeed, you are probably like me and can detect a lack of sustained thought that bedevils those around you and you yourself. Hari identifies twelve factors damaging our capacity to pay attention, ranging from the individualistic to the mass-manipulative to the systemic. We think differently in a faster world, the tech companies manipulate our neurological fragilities to suck us into data purgatory, and the modern capitalistic world saps us of basic capacities. The final few of the dozen factors tilt at stranger topics, such as encouraging children’s free play. Finally, Hari offers some personal “daylight-seeking” strategies and posits an Attention Rebellion movement akin to my heroes Extinction Rebellion. It’s a heady brew and someof it is derivative, but Hari assiduously talks to everyone and sifts out his views, and I believe that to be a boon to readers. I, at least, am changed by this reading experience, and have sent Stolen Focus to a number of my friends as a gift. Enough said…

One Reply to “Stolen Focus by Johann Hari [8/10]”

  1. Ironic that the author invents a whole new “condition” we need to worry about and address in a world they suggest is already too full of distractions and things grabbing our attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *