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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
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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

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  100 reviews
The question of our time: can we reclaim our lives in an age that feels busier and more distracting by the day?

We've all found ourselves checking email at the dinner table, holding our breath while waiting for Outlook to load, or sitting hunched in front of a screen for an hour longer than we intended.

Mobile devices and the web have invaded our live
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Start your review of The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: career
I was ever so happy to finish the Distraction Addiction last night, primarily because I was pretty bored with it. There are some very interesting ideas in here and a few jewels of wisdom, but they are spread out amongst long rambling stories of people he interviewed and places he has been. I think you could easily chop half the book out and have basically the same book. If you want the short route just read the final chapter where he summarizes all his ideas in "Eight steps to contemplative comp ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
In "The Shallows", a recent book covering similar territory, Nicholas Carr posits that the internet is making us dumb. And not just dumber, but less able to concentrate and focus. But if I recall from reading it, there were no solutions beyond, perhaps, the old Hee Haw punch line - "Don't do that!" In "The Distraction Addiction", author Pang focuses on what he sees as the ease of distraction caused by all the technology devices that we use (not just the internet connected ones). And unlike "The ...more
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, even while I don't completely agree with everything the author has to say. It struck me while I read it that this book is more for the Olds (like me), for a couple of reasons. One: He talks about the siren-song of email, a tool that NO ONE under 25 uses anymore. Two: He recommends web apps like OmmmWriter and WriteRoom, which ostensibly eliminate the distractions of feature-heavy applications like that evil, "bloated" Microsoft Word--but if you just hide the freaking ribbon ...more
David Richardson
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free from the Goodreads first-read giveaway. I gave this book 4 stars because I didn't want to discourage people from reading it. For me personally it was around 2 stars. Reason being I don't have the information overload that this book is trying to help people overcome. I do not have a smart phone. I don't text. I don't tweet. I check my E-mail once a day on a computer that is 9 years old. If you are having trouble with too many devices taking up your time then this boo ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I often struggle with my writing because I am addicted to facebook, a number of blogs, and other tantalizing aspects of the internet. I read this book in order to attempt to address these technological distractions, and I found it useful in many ways. The opening chapters on zenware directed me to a number of word processing programs (some of which are free) that can help one avoid the distractions of email and MS Word’s overwhelming buttons and functions. The later chapters, especially the one ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
“The Distraction Addition” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a book for our times. Mr. Pang recognizes how we are all becoming slaves to technology, with checking our email every few seconds, to “switch-tasking” which most people think is multi-tasking,” to forgetting how to just be with ourselves and with others.

Throughout the book, Mr. Pang brings things to the reader’s attention that seem obvious but really isn’t until he points it out. One of these is watching how you breathe before, d
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, gave-up
Well, I got about three quarters through this before putting it down for good. Guiltily, since this was my pick for my new book club! Oops. I got pretty much nothing out of it: I think if you've spent more than twenty minutes of your life ever thinking about your over-reliance on computers, you have thought of everything useful this book has to say. Really? Unsubscribe from mailing lists? Don't check your phone first thing when you wake up? THERE'S SOFTWARE THAT LET'S YOU BLOCK THE INTERNET? Sto ...more
Bảo Ngọc
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on Blinkist so I don’t waste many time for reading this book. I simply find that the way to focus and stay attention to your business is that you should walking like Charles Darwin or doing the meditation like the monk to have a good attention and memory.
Sarede Switzer
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nothing so innovative however I appreciated the author's overall approach that we can (and should) utilize technology to augment ourselves and that it can be done in a way where we are the ones in control rather than being ruled by tech. And how using "technology" to augment ourselves is something which can be traced back as far as our history goes. Also his understanding of the uniqueness of the human mind which so many futurists discard/minimize. His distinction between "multi-tasking" and "sw ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: dharma
Picked this up after hearing the author, Alex Pang, on a very intriguing episode of Buddhist Geeks. Maybe it just hit me in the right moment - my life had paused in a little eddy of Dharma Lite ("Hmm, maybe I should meditate again or something?"), and the ever-gushing torrent of INTERNETTTT OMGGGG (i.e. my techlove). Anyway, it really hit the spot in that sense.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with some of the other reviews I've seen here: it's a bit rambley, a bit meandering, and could have
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, non-fiction
I was really looking forward to this book, but I found myself disappointed... I was easily distracted while reading it, maybe all the talk of distractions kept me thinking of going online! I found the book to be a bit choppy, but there is some good advice! I am not one that is constantly texting or checking facebook, so, if you are, you may find this a much better read than I did!

He talks about meditation, which is a wonderful idea to relax your mind... Also, about taking a digital s
Book Riot Community
One of my ongoing bad habits is getting distracted by my smartphone and by the Internet at large. The Distraction Addiction was the first book I read about distraction that asked the right question about technology – “Can we stay connected without diminishing our intelligence, attention spans, and ability to really live?” – and offered smart answers to that question. Pang doesn’t advocate we get rid of our devices, but does encourage readers to think carefully about how we let them interrupt our ...more
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Odd title and even odder subtitle for a book that is really an argument for what the author calls "contemplative computing" - something one DOES rather than USES, he points out. The book is fun to read and succeeds in communicating the fruits of the author's intellectual quest undertaken in 2011 as a Microsoft Cambridge Fellow. It leans heavily to the Buddhist but brings in other, primarily Bay Area based voices as well. And concludes with an insightful read of Abraham Joshua Heschel's life-alte ...more
Marc Leroux
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this through the Goodreads give-away program. Thank you.
The book is well written and thought provoking. As I was reading it I realized that many of the characteristics of distraction are things that I do on a regular basis, and the solutions/alternatives presented are practical and effective. I've started to implement some of these in my own work (and home) practices.
This is a great book for everyone trying to survive in the ever increasin worls of digital distractions.
Lori Tatar
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is a revelation for technophobes and technophiles alike, not to mention those of us who fit somewhere in between. It offers a revelatory view of how much technology has been a part of human history since the beginning of human history. The main key today seems to be learning how to embrace technology without losing ourselves. There are tips on meditation and my favorite, on how NOT to be a monkey mind! Thank you, Goodreads!
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone spending too much time online
Loved this book, make one think about how much of our time we spend looking at the screen...and what our goals really are. I think parents of teens should read this book. Seems like many teens and adults are always texting, online or checking the phone and not in the moment. Like the idea of taking a tech break one day a week.

Jennifer Stringer
Some good ideas; maybe a few chapters could be more succinct, but that's the editor's job. Very solid and worthwhile information.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this dense, somewhat plodding, and potentially off-puttingly Buddhist - but incredibly important and often fascinating - work of nonfiction, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang describes the way in which modern technological devices (like smartphones) have predisposed many of us to a “distraction addiction” and suggests ways in which we can practice more “contemplative computing” in order to put our devices in service of our happiness and productivity rather than shaping our lives to their capacity.
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Title of the book: The Distraction Addiction; Getting the Information you need and the communication you want without enraging your family, annoying your colleagues, and destroying your soul.

Author: Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20826-0


The question of our time: can we reclaim our lives in an age that feels busier and more distracting by the day?
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is aimed at improving your life in a swiftly growing technological era. While push notifications of all sorts of networks crave for our attention, we are disrupted and distracted. Let's make the technology to work for us, not against us - is the main leitmotif of the book.
If you pick up this book as a guide for steps to improve your life, it's rather a bad choice, since the book is not well structured and moreover, can be cut off by half (I agree with the reviews that say the sam
Jared Dalton
Dec 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
As a millennial, I started reading The Distraction Addiction because I've been looking for insight into how to unplug and learn the social skills and means of authentic (meaningful) human connection which my parents' generation took for granted.

I was sorely disappointed. After 63 pages of Buddhist philosophy and how tools are extensions of our energy, I finally got a real-world example of the RESULTS of technology addiction. ...And then the author went right back to rambling for another 20 page
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
I read almost through the whole of the book before I decided that I had gotten the message and put it back down. I got this book to begin with because I assumed it was a more scientific approach to managing distraction, but this book reads much more like a primer on applied Buddhism. The point could have been better addressed through a long article. The gist of this book goes something like, "You'd be happier if you just buckled down and did whatever you were doing."
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Some interesting take-aways. Specifically: multi-tasking vs. switch-tasking
Pro-technology approach to using devices in more mindful ways. A lot of research behind how our brains react to the distracting environments of today's technology and thoughts about how we can more mindfully engage. Contemplative computing.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Decided to put it down after about 3/4 way into it. It was interesting at the start but somehow it fails to keep me interested. I started reading this at the same time as Cal Newport's "Deep Work" and thought I'd try to finish this first (as Cal also mentioned it in Deep Work). But unfortunately, I'm just going to have to not finish it and move on.
Wendi Lau
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Pang observes that people are good at multi-tasking for things that have a single goal, like taking care of children, cooking, driving. However, people are bad at multi-tasking when it breaks up our concentration, even though we think we are being efficient and are really good at it. We are wrong! Checking email, writing a paper, watching a movie, reading a text, all at the same time makes each thing take longer and requires a mental shift. Pang suggests taking a walk to both relax away from tec ...more
Listened to the summary on blinkist. I don't think I'll read the full book. Too generic and common sense-y. I didn't hear any new advice that made me go: ooh, I want to learn more about that. Mostly blah stuff. Underwhelming.
Lauren HOuston
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
The writer went off on small rambles here and there that I didn't feel were necessary. Other than that, the book was good. It had a lot of useful information and suggestions on how to balance the distractions and the utility of the internet/technology.
Zah Lucia
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Useful book for the digital century. Practical tips as what can we do in order to have a more focused mind while online. Software and techniques for blocking distractions.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
It's easy to blame other stuff but, above all, the source of all distractions is the state of mind.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Heard summary on Blinkist
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I write about people, technology, and the worlds they make.
“In the classic Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel’s teacher urged him always to take his next shot unburdened by previous failures to hit the target; as he improved, his teacher urged him not to be influenced by his successes either, to stay in the present moment.” 2 likes
“Eventually, though, my mind begins to quiet. I can feel everything slow down. I lose track of the chimes. I don’t know how many are left, and I don’t care. I focus now on a very modern kind of image: a picture of my own brain, like an fMRI, with thoughts flashing across it in angry red. As my mind slows, the red fades, and as my concentration increases, my brain begins to glow faintly white. Another unbidden thought; another trace of red that recedes like an afterimage. If it goes really well, the glow continues, and I feel the sort of exhilaration that comes when hard effort is paying off—when you reach the end of the steep trail, stand at a peak, and can see miles in every direction. But some part of me is careful not to enjoy it too much or too consciously. If I focus on it, it disappears. To sustain it, I have to just be present with it. Whether” 0 likes
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