I’d like to recommend you a book I read the other day. It changed me a lot.
The name of the book is Stolen Focus, by John Hari.
In my case, actually, I have read some similar books before, but I changed nothing, after reading this book, I put my phone down and now I finally have control over the time I spend browsing social networks.
The book’s subject is something that is affecting all of us.
Why does Attention matter?
The author mentioned three reasons why the subject is important for our time.
When you are unable to pay sustained attention, you can’t achieve the things you want to achieve. When you want to read a book, but you are attracted by TikTok or Twitter. When you want to spend hours with your kids, but you keep anxiously checking your email to see if your boss is messaging you. You want to set up a business, but your life dissolves instead into a blur of Facebook posts that only make you feel envious and anxious. If this goes on for months and years, it scrambles your ability to figure out who you are and what you want. If we want to do what matters in any domain, we have to be able to give attention to the right things. If we can’t do that, it’s really hard for us to do anything.
The fracturing of attention isn’t just causing problems for us as individuals—it’s causing crises in our whole society. As a species, we are facing a number of unprecedented challenges—like the climate crisis—and, unlike previous generations, we are mostly not rising to solve our biggest challenges. Why? Part of the reason, is that when attention breaks down, problem-solving breaks down too. Solving big problems requires the sustained focus of many people over many years. Democracy requires the ability of a population to pay attention long enough to identify real problems, distinguish them from fantasies, come up with solutions, and hold their leaders accountable if they fail to deliver them.
If we understand what happens, then, we can begin to change it. This crisis is human-made, and it can be unmade by us too. All we have to do is fundamentally redefine the problem and then take action.
These are the reasons you may need to read this book sometime.