Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked” as Want to Read:
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  6,394 ratings  ·  883 reviews
Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a br ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Penguin Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Irresistible, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Irresistible

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,394 ratings  ·  883 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, the book was quite irresistible, once I got started.

I couldn't put it down.

After finishing it, I had to ask myself why. There was nothing new in it. Nothing I didn't already know or experience every day with my young students. Social media and internet addiction are so widespread, they are almost normalised.

What made me feel hooked to the book was rather that I recognised myself in so many of the behaviour addiction patterns. I am not addicted to Facebook or World of Warcraft
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Take it with a huge grain of salt. There are some fun cocktail-party facts and some reasonable suggestions for changing your own habits, which are fine as "hey, why not try it, it might work for you."
It's just not much good as "scientific evidence proves that..."
[For example: Experimental group improved by a "dramatic" 40%, but control group improved by only a "paltry" 30%! ... which actually meant that group A improved by 5 points out of 50, and B by 3 points out of 50! ... which is probably a
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Q: Why are the world’s greatest public technocrats also its greatest private technophobes? Can you imagine the outcry if religious leaders refused to let their children practice religion? Many experts both within and beyond the world of tech have shared similar perspectives with me. Several video game designers told me they avoided the notoriously addictive game World of Warcraft; an exercise addiction psychologist called fitness watches dangerous—“the dumbest things in the world”—and swore she’ ...more
I read as far as the fifth chapter in Alter's book and learned a few interesting things along the way. However, based on what I did read, I found the book's subtitle inaccurate. Huge amounts of the first four chapters are dedicated to substance and behavioural addictions, in general, not "addictive technology" per se. There was interesting information about the importance of context or environment in addiction. Alter provides the example of veterans of the Vietnam war, many of whom used heroin w ...more
Michael Perkins
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
How I Ditched My iPhone (pretty funny)

"My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations."

“Distraction, rather than being occasional and derivative, becomes perpetual and primary. Rather than being a diversion from the main thing you do, it becomes the main thing you do.”

-The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace: Boredom and Addiction in an Age of Dis
Jun 08, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017
This is a gutless book.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked purports to be an examination of contemporary media and their addictive qualities, yet very few of these pages explore any such ground. Rather, Alter parades psychological experiment after psychological experiment after psychological experiment, one after another, again and again, mice pressing levers to receive the orgasm drug, pigeons pecking buttons for food pellets, kittens kept in dar
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This book is essential reading. I can't stop thinking about it or talking about it. I particularly appreciate the way the book breaks down what appears to be a wild lack of willpower (I'm looking at myself!) into its component parts of behavioral addiction. I am thinking differently about the consequences of my screen time (and my children's) and about the approaches I take to curb my excess. Well-written, well-researched, well-timed. I will be giving out many copies of this book to family and f ...more
Tara Brabazon
Jan 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is absolutely, astoundingly, brain-dripping-out-of-my-ear, dreadful. Once more, a 'researcher' explores digital media and - with little evidence and a lot of hyperbole - locates "The addict in all of us." Supposedly, online pornography, gaming and mobile phones have made 'all of us' addicts.

There is no understanding of the sociology of the internet, footnotes - or even in-text referencing - is absent. The randomness is infuriating. The binge watching of Breaking Bad on Netflix is compa
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a pop psych book that has its problems but still has interesting information to offer in an accessible package. I would change the subtitle to “The Rise of Behavioral Addiction in the Digital Age,” which more accurately describes the book’s contents. It is not all about screens – the author discusses exercise addiction frequently – and it is in no way an exposé of the tech industry, as the actual subtitle might lead you to believe. Rather than focusing on how companies suck people into t ...more
Kath ❅
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really interesting yet short read about how technology has changed to keep us hooked as the technology has become more mobile and ever present in our lives.

I wanted to read this book because recently I have been trying to step away from my phone more and be off the internet more because I have found it to stress me out. I recently deleted Instagram, which is the only social media I had. It is a decision that I have not regretted for a moment. I thought this book may help me flesh out ideas of
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to say that I enjoyed this book, because it is disturbing, depressing, and sad...but I loved it and enjoyed reading it so much. Irresistible was so informative, providing a great context for the world we live in and the one we're on our way to living in. I so appreciate having the curtain pulled back on behavioral addiction, especially how it relates to social media, gaming, and virtual reality. I feel like I can make better decisions for myself and kids regarding technology, preparing ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a really great read from the library. The beginning was slow because it goes into the history of addiction from a psychology perspective, but it picked up a quarter of the way in. As someone who has a love/hate relationship with technology, I could relate to the addictiveness of devices and apps. I enjoyed the origin stories of some of the most addictive games and apps, as well as some of the experiments described.

Even though I try to stay away from pop-psychology books and I thought th
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book is redundant and boring and is oversold. It is not what it says it is. It's basically a review of a bunch of addictions and then it tacks on some doom and gloom about the internet. But it's not new science and there isn't much in the way of analysis or solutions. skip it
Sarthak Pranit
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clear a crisp attack on Hooked by Nir Eyal.

I picked this book aiming to help me in my own addition towards technology - so yes, I had an agenda. But this beauty really entertained me with some astounding data and a focussed extrapolation of what might become of us if we continue.

'Man's evolution has been hand-in-hand with it's desire to be lazy' - this is a depressing yet awakening fact that we need to realize. As much as people might misuse, abuse or overuse the term 'innovation', it is just
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Think about this: The people who create the devices do not let their children play them. The people who create the games we love get addicted to playing them. Our brains betray us everyday by allowing big businesses to use us like rats in a maze to get rich. If those ideas concern you, then read this book. This book was well written and interesting. I appreciated how the author added many interesting tidbits about games, the people who created them, and some history about how they were created. ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
For anyone who has checked messages on a smart phone more than 4 times a day this book is for you. For anyone who has spent more than 2 hours a day in front of a computer screen this book is for you. For anyone who has played a video game or an internet game for more than one hour a day this book is for you. For the rest of us this book is a caution, and is quite informative.
Cyrus Carter
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of addiction itself. No, there is no "addictive personality" but rather we are all susceptible to addiction. Environment, marketing and our own desire to take the easy road play into it. An excellent read for anyone who wants to understand addiction and our willingness to give in. Especially with technology. You know who you are ...
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Note: the author is a friend and former colleague.

4.5 stars. Like Alter, I study the psychology of human decision making (I'm getting a PhD; I went to undergrad where and when Alter got his PhD, which is how we know each other). The further I get into my studies, the harder of a time I have reviewing popular treatments of the field, because so much of the research presented is often review for me. That's less the case here than with other popular psych books I've read recently, though, because
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
SOOOOO FASCINATING! I love learning about how things work, so this book was perfect!!! I loved every part of it.
Ren (A Bookish Balance)
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: standalone
3.25/5 stars

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked is a non-fiction novel exploring what causes individuals to become addicted to screens, how this addiction effects their lives, and what can be done to prevent these additions or deal with them.

I’d argue that Irresistible is more a novel that focuses on what addictive behaviour is and how its dealt with, screens just seem to be the main example used in the novel. There are a lot of interesting points
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
Originally reviewed at The Book Wheel.

Like most people I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love waking up in the mornings and checking my Twitter feed and the news but I hate how the distraction can make me run late. I love the satisfaction of hitting my step goals but I hate that I feel compelled to log what I eat. I love being connected to other people but I hate the guilt that comes with not responding to something right away. 

These situations are not unique to me but that does
Nelson Zagalo
A book about the social psychology behind the design of interaction of most applications we use everyday in the online world. The book presents some problems, exaggerations and lack of evidence, mostly if you are looking for therapeutic approaches to the addictions of these technologies. I've made a long analysis in Portuguese for my blog.

Podem ler uma extensa análise no Virtual Illusion, "Por que não conseguimos parar de olhar para os nossos Smartphones?" (
Jeff Wheeler
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been working through this book for over a month. It’s made me rethink social media and how I use my smart phone. Even more, it reveals how severely tech has impacted society. I saw this in abundance recently in Beijing on the subways. What China is doing about tech addiction is eye opening and more than a little scary. It’s made me glad we’ve been very restrictive with our kids. Worth a read. Even more, worth it for the self evaluation.
Bon Tom
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and insightfull. I think I would give it to my child as required reading before buying her the first gadget.

Second reading: This is really good. Essential reading for this day and age.
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Very interesting book that illuminates the dark side of technology. As I listened, I thought about how I use technology and some ways I should change my approach. Although I initially borrowed this audiobook from Scribd, I've since purchased it so I can listen again. Highly recommended.
Camelia Rose
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, psychology, science
There is a reason that Silicon Valley CEOs restrict their kids to use technologies they invented. As a mother and an engineer who makes money by building (hopefully) addictive software, I know perfectly well what that reason is.

This book is a summary of what and how modern technologies fuel addictive behaviour. We are in an epidemic behaviour addiction—Internet, gaming, gambling, shopping, fitness addiction, eating disorder, work addiction—you name it. Any activity can become addictive. It will
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
We all know the general principles of this. Ever since we started monitoring our kids' TV time we knew this. Women's magazines, self-help books, picture-books, developers of apps that send us signals to stop surfing (or even shut our device down altogether), know that behavior addictions are just as real as substance addictions, and that many of the same processes are in play as we develop them, and as we fight with them.

But we also know how hard that fight is for some people. So a book like thi
Samuel Salzer
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review: Illuminating read on online behavior and behavior addictions in general. Extremely informative and well-researched book that looks at our increasingly intimate relationship with our screens. Alter argues that many technologies including smartphones have become the panacea to many of our daily problems from boredom to loneliness. This is how behavior addictions arise-short term rewards in form of solving emotional problems lead to a chain of undesired behaviors done despite knowledge of a ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very important book on a topic that I've been thinking a lot about recently. There is a hidden societal cost on our population's obsession with smartphones and social media, that is not talked about and poorly understood. This book explores behavioural addiction, how it compares to previous addictions (like substance addiction) and what causes it. There's a good mix of research and anecdotes in this book, and the book is very easy to devour in a couple days.

I think there's going to be
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
  • Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
  • Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe
  • Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction
  • Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
  • Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
  • Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day
  • How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life
  • The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads
  • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  • Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
  • Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
  • iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
See similar books…
Adam Alter is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Psychology at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and the author of Drunk Tank Pink, a New York Times bestseller about the forces that shape how we think, feel, and behave, and Irresistible, a book about the rise of tech addiction and what we should do about it.

Alter was recently included in the Poets and Quants “40 Most Outstandin

News & Interviews

Summer is a great time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked five of the season’s hottest myst...
22 likes · 16 comments
“Walter Isaacson, who ate dinner with the Jobs family while researching his biography of Steve Jobs, told Bilton that, “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.” It seemed as if the people producing tech products were following the cardinal rule of drug dealing: never get high on your own supply.” 8 likes
“To some extent we all need losses and difficulties and challenges, because without them the thrill of success weakens gradually with each new victory. That’s why people spend precious chunks of free time doing difficult crosswords and climbing dangerous mountains—because the hardship of the challenge is far more compelling than knowing you’re going to succeed.” 6 likes
More quotes…