Stolen Focus by Johann Hari Pdf

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari Pdf

Download Stolen Focus by Johann Hari Pdf book free online. Best Seller in the New York Times Our ability to focus is deteriorating. A pioneering investigation of why this is occurring – and how to gain our attention back – from the New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections. “This is the book that the world needs to win the fight on distraction.” (Think Again author Adam Grant). GET FREE AUDIOBOOK

“Read this book if you want to keep your mind.” (Quiet author Susan Cain)
Teenagers in the United States can only focus on one task for 65 seconds at a time, and office professionals can only focus for three minutes on average. Johann Hari, like so many of us, was finding that continually switching from device to device and tab to tab was exhausting and disheartening. He attempted a variety of self-help methods, including ditching his phone for three months, but nothing worked. So Hari embarked on a global quest to interview the world’s greatest specialists on human attention, and he discovered that everything we thought we knew about the crisis is incorrect.

We believe our inability to concentrate is due to a lack of personal willpower in controlling our electronics. The truth is far more disturbing: powerful external forces have hijacked our focus, leaving us uniquely exposed to corporations looking to profit from our attention. Hari discovered 12 root causes for the problem, ranging from the decline of mind-wandering to rising pollution, all of which have deprived us of some of our attention. He introduces listeners to Silicon Valley rebels who learned to hijack human attention, as well as veterinarians who diagnose canines with ADHD, in his book Stolen Focus. He visits a favela in Rio de Janeiro where everyone lost their focus in a particularly bizarre way, and a New Zealand business where a surprising approach for restoring worker productivity was developed.

Hari also learnt how, if we are determined to fight for it, we can recapture our focus as individuals and as a nation. Stolen Focus will change the way we think about attention and show us how to reclaim it.

Summary of Stolen Focus by Johann Hari Pdf

In this provocative research, journalist Hari (Lost Connections) investigates a developing “crisis”—people’s inability to focus their attention for long periods of time. He shows data indicating that students switch tasks every 65 seconds, whereas professionals in workplaces only focus on one item for three minutes. According to him, there are costs to this decrease in attention span, both intellectually and in terms of production, as studies have shown that workers’ IQ drops by an average of 10 points when they are constantly distracted by emails and phone calls. 


Hari cites a number of environmental factors that are contributing to the decline: technology companies promote innovations to keep people glued to their screens; sleep deprivation is widespread (40 percent of Americans are chronically sleep deprived); and overall stress levels have risen—all while “deteriorating diets and rising pollution” do little to help. Although Hari suggests some actions that readers can take (such as locking phones in a safe and taking a six-month break from social media), he concludes that the problem is one of regulation, not of individuals—but his call for people to band together to build “a movement to reclaim our attention” feels sincere.

During Johann Hari’s three-year investigation into our attention dilemma, essentially society’s ever-increasing inability to concentrate, one neurologist described the brain as “like a nightclub bouncer.” The brain filters ideas and other impulses in the same manner that a doorman filters partygoers trying to get into a popular nightclub. When hundreds of determined revellers attack his position at once, even the most strong gatekeeper is overwhelmed.

This is our brain’s current predicament: the massive amounts of information bombarding our senses at previously unheard-of speeds has overwhelmed, drained, and abused us. The consequences of this dreadful state go far beyond an inability to enjoy thousand-page readings.

Hari argues in his disturbing Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention — a book that truly deserves the “everyone should read it” tag — that our ability to solve pressing, even existential problems of the day, such as climate change, is hampered by our inability to focus on the complex issues as we must.

Hari’s evidence of an attention issue, and that it is severe, is more damning than one’s greatest fears. According to studies, the average US college student switches tasks every 65 seconds and only focuses on one item for 19 seconds on average.

Adults, on the other hand, do not fare much better: at work, employees spend an average of three minutes on a single activity. Book reading is just one symptom and casualty: between 2004 and 2017, men and women read for pleasure fell by 40% and 29%, respectively.

A big part of humanity’s conundrum is the sheer amount of information thrown at us. Between 1986 and 2007, the volume of data blasted at one has increased fourfold, with the internet accounting for the majority of this increase.

Hari, on the other hand, is sure that Big Tech and digital communication are not the only ones to blame.

Hari argues in his book that Big Tech isn’t the only thing robbing us of our focus. Sleep deprivation is also a factor. AFP
Hari argues in his book that Big Tech isn’t the only thing robbing us of our focus. Sleep deprivation is also a factor. AFP
For example, sleep deprivation reduces our concentration — not a profound insight. According to the National Sleep Foundation, we get 20% less sleep in our work-obsessed societies than people did a century before. This is the new normal — and consequently the default mode of operation for youngsters, who are disproportionately affected by the disease.

Big Tech, on the other hand, is at least partly to blame: the blue light from screens affects our minds for hours after we turn off our laptops, making sleep more difficult.

Perhaps Hari’s most unexpected realization is that social media and the internet aren’t by their very nature concentration-robbing. Rather, the creators of digital communication technology construct social media, news feeds, and other applications and sites to be as harmful to human attention spans as possible — and they are well aware of this. This structure is not a foregone conclusion, but a cynical, profit-maximizing design.

You may develop technology “with the opposite goal: to maximally respect people’s demand for continuous concentration, and to disrupt them as little as possible,” according to one Silicon Valley interlocutor. You may create technology to assist individuals in achieving their deeper and more important goals rather than distracting them from them.”

But what about the payoff? Substitute living time for screen time.
“For the same reason that wearing a gas mask for two days a week outside isn’t the answer to pollution,” one expert told Hari, “a digital detox, specifically going cold turkey by logging out totally — no smartphone, tablet, laptop, nothing” isn’t the answer. It may, for a limited time, put certain effects at bay on an individual level. However, it is not long-term and does not address structural concerns.”

Yes, a system designed to take away our ability to think and contemplate. What can one do if they can’t go to an internet-free island or form a commune?
Hari is clear that criticizing oneself is improper and futile, but he adds that it is ultimately up to you to regain your attention span.

He emphasizes that his is not a self-help book, although he does offer some sound self-help advice that he has followed with success: calm down, do one thing at a time, sleep more, daydream. He used to be a first-order news junkie, but now he spends six months a year (split into a few weeks at a time) avoiding relapse by having a friend reset his passwords. Hari walks for an hour every day – without his phone in his pocket, of course. (This is something I strongly advise!) He also works less, freeing up time for slow activities like yoga, meditation, and reading.

This is crucial information, and not just for Hari’s sake. We are in the midst of a global emergency. Temperatures and extreme weather continue to rise, as do greenhouse gas emissions. We must concentrate! somewhat ambiguous Nonetheless, it’s a thorough and terrifying overview. (Jan.).

About the Author

Johann Hari is the author of the New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,’ as well as one of the most popular TED speakers of all time.

Download Stolen Focus by Johann Hari Pdf

Share this:

Comment