A well-researched program to help reclaim personal downtime from the inundation of cyberinformation.

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THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION

GETTING THE INFORMATION YOU NEED AND THE COMMUNICATION YOU WANT, WITHOUT ENRAGING YOUR FAMILY, ANNOYING YOUR COLLEAGUES, AND DESTROYING YOUR SOUL

How to combat the crush of digital information available today.

With the invention of personal computers and smartphones, the world of information and updates from friends and family is just a split second away. "People who spend all day with computers used to be called hackers,” writes Stanford and Oxford visiting scholar Pang. “Today, that's all of us.” This overwhelming volume of information has prompted what many call a "distraction addiction," where everything feels urgent and in need of your immediate attention; this situation usually results in ineffective multitasking. Pang offers simple techniques to create a more peaceful and productive life. From taking mindful breaths to using meditation, the author focuses on the need to step away from the screen, suggesting walks to recharge an overly tired brain, like Charles Darwin did on his Sandwalk, what he called "his thinking path." Pang analyzes computer programs that effectively disconnect one from the Internet, forcing users to concentrate on the task at hand rather than clicking at every ping of their inbox. He suggests monitoring email and social media use, writing down the frequency, length of time and physical location where each site is checked, then eliminating those sites that take up time but provide little constructive feedback. For those willing to go one step farther, Pang recommends a digital Sabbath, one day a week when any or all screen-related activities are turned off in order to reclaim face-to-face relationships, start new hobbies and engage in interactions with the outside world. By following these methods of self-control, readers can better utilize the tools at hand and follow the buzz on the airwaves while still feeling in control of their lives.

A well-researched program to help reclaim personal downtime from the inundation of cyberinformation.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20826-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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