Stolen Focus – Johann Hari
A book about our dwindling attention spans.
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
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In situations of low stress and safety, mind-wandering will be a gift, a pleasure, and a creative force. In situations of high stress or danger, mind-wandering will be a torment.
The sensation of being alive in the early twenty-first century consisted of the sense that our ability to pay attention—to focus—was cracking and breaking.
The Attentional Pathogenic Culture
We now live in “an attentional pathogenic culture”—an environment in which sustained and deep focus is extremely hard for all of us, and you have to swim upstream to achieve it. It is not your fault that you cannot focus.
Attention spans are decreasing just when we need them most. One of the biggest contributors to inaction on big issues such as climate change is a lack of focus. When attention breaks down, problem-solving breaks down.
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Empathy is one of the most complex forms of attention we have – and the most precious. Many of the most important advances in human history have been advances in empathy.