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Distracted

Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention

“… more essential than ever.” – Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows

In the first edition of this groundbreaking book, Maggie Jackson sounded a prescient warning of a looming crisis: the fragmentation of attention that is eroding our abilities to problem-solve, innovate, and care for one another. Now in this updated edition with an incisive new preface, she offers both a renewed wake-up call and a path forward as we reckon with one of the most pressing problems of our time.

How can we harness the technological marvels of our age more wisely and turn data into knowledge and distraction into attention? How can we reset human bonds in a time of deep disconnect? We must, she argues, curb technological excess by cultivating the full gamut of our attentional capabilities. We must look first to the human behind the device.

Jackson is our expert guide in exploring the historic roots of distraction, the perils we face in melding human and machine, and the cutting-edge science that reveals the attentional skills most needed in an age of overload. Timely and unforgettable, Distracted offers a harrowing yet hopeful account of the fate of our highest human capacity.

 

From the Foreword by Bill McKibben:

“This book, remarkably impressive both for its wealth of detail and the clarity of its synthesis, forces our attention on [our] inattention. And in so doing, it asks us implicitly the uncomfortable question about what our lives are for. Are they measured in busyness, the accomplishment of many and random tasks? Or do they require some kind of artful arc to be whole? Writing powerfully and subversively, Maggie Jackson raises issues that go straight to the core of what it means to be human in the early twenty-first century, questions that we need to think about clearly, slowly, deeply…”

Acclaim for Distracted

  • "Influential"

    — The New Yorker

  • “Distracted concentrates the mind on a real problem of modern life.”

    The Wall Street Journal

  • "... more essential than ever."

    — Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows

  • "A prize-winning columnist for the Boston Globe provides a timely and often horrifying look at our technology-addled lives today."

    Editor’s Pick, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • "A richly detailed and passionately argued... account of the travails facing an ADD society and how to reinvigorate a 'renaissance of attention.'"

    Publishers Weekly

  • "Timely and welcome ... Anyone who cares about the future of society should give Distracted some much deserved time and focus."

    Matt Curtin, founder of Interhack Corp., writing in Ergo

Related Articles by Maggie Jackson

Related Interviews

  • Andreasaveri.com — "An Emerging Culture of Attention,” an interview with Maggie by Andrea Saveri
  • Diane Rehm Show — Appearance on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, Washington, D.C.

Related Articles by Other Authors