CONNECTION IS INEVITABLE. DISTRACTION IS A CHOICE.
THE MONKEY MIND
YOUR EXTENDED MIND
YOUR ATTENTION IN A DISTRACTING WORLD
THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION
Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul
The Distraction Addiction
Little, Brown & Co., August 2013
From the introduction:
"Rather than being forced into a state of perpetual distraction, with all the unhappiness and discontent such a state creates, we can approach information technologies in a way that is mindful and nearly effortless and that contributes to our ability to focus, be creative, and be happy.
"It’s an approach I call contemplative computing.
"The term sounds oxymoronic. What could be less contemplative than today’s technology-intensive environment? What could possibly be less conducive to a clear, meditative state than interactions with computers, cell phones, Facebook, and Twitter?
"Contemplative computing isn’t enabled by a technological breakthrough or scientific discovery. You don’t buy it. You do it."
나는 왜 이렇게 산만해졌을
The Korean edition of The Distraction Addiction, available from Sigongsa in late 2014.
THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION has gotten some amazing press.
San Francisco Chronicle
G. Pascal Zachary
"The Victorians had nervous anxieties. The Roaring Twenties had psychological breakdowns. In our age, we can't concentrate. We battle to pay attention. We suffer from an illness spawned by our immersion in digital worlds. We are the prisoners of our distractions.... In a perceptive new study of how best to cope with the relentless interruptions presented by digital life, and its costly effects on our ability to stay focused, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang persuasively and carefully constructs a remedy he calls 'contemplative computing.'"
The New York Times
"Pang doesn’t want you to unplug. He wants you to achieve balance, to 'reach flow,' to achieve a 'mirrorlike mind.'... He gets pretty Zen. I can see Keanu Reeves in the film version."
"His amusing and edifying new book, The Distraction Addiction... addresses those of us who feel bereft to the point of panic without our cellphones. Who worry that we are descending into early dementia, so dependent are we on our search engines to remember anything. And that, he claims, is pretty much all of us."
The New Yorker
"Skeptical without pandering to technophobia or neuroscience.... The Distraction Addiction brims with suggestions for how to embrace 'contemplative computing,' a mindful approach to digital technology... Instead of shunning the technological in pursuit of the mythical authentic experience, Pang wants to clean up the mess it created."
"In this practical guide to better, more 'contemplative computing,' Pang, a historian of technology, teaches readers a valuable set of skills to better enable them to deal with an increasing reliance on ever-more intrusive and distracting forms of mobile technology."
Spirituality and Health
Kathryn Drury Wagner
"Pang is no finger-waggling Luddite. He points out that people have been attached to technology for millennia—wheel, stone ax, sword, microscope. We even bury our dead with tools. We will always be enamored of technology, but Pang suggests that we be more deliberate about how we engage with it and practice what he calls contemplative computing."
"Pang offers simple techniques to create a more peaceful and productive life.... 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."
"Pang reminds us that our brains are still capable of feats far beyond the reach of computers.... We may be afflicted with 'monkey mind,' he concludes, but rather than fight our compulsions with web-blocking software like Freedom, we're better off embracing technology as an extension of self, wielding it as unthinkingly as we would a bionic arm."
"Pang implores us to use technology more mindfully in this thoughtful book that is rich in research and anecdote. Perfect for readers who enjoy books on the nature of attention such as Maggie Jackson and Bill McKibben's Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age and on the behavior of human-computer interaction."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"In seven chapters ('Breathe,' 'Simplify,' 'Meditate,' 'Deprogram,' 'Experiment,' 'Refocus' and 'Rest'), Pang gives advice to help our simian selves become masters of our domains. Providing an antidote to 'monkey mind' has clearly become a mission for Pang — the 35 pages of endnotes alone demonstrate the breadth and depth of his interdisciplinary research into this cause."
Arab News (Saudi Arabia)
"The Distraction Addiction is a wise and deep book. The author gives us some important information on how to avoid being a smartphone addict and how to reclaim a few hours from the digital crush."
J. Walter Thompson
100 Things to Watch in 2014
J. Walter Thompson Intelligence include contemplative computing in their list of 100 Things to Watch in 2014. (They also listed "raging against the machine" and "mindful living" among their 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond.) Learn more here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
I study people, technology, and the worlds they make.
I'm a visiting scholar at Stanford University. Previously I held fellowships at Microsoft Research Cambridge, the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, University of California-Berkeley, and Williams College.
I have a Ph.D. in history of science from the University of Pennsylvania.
I'm a senior consultant at Strategic Business Insights, a Silicon Valley think tank.
My work has appeared in Scientific American, The Atlantic Monthly, American Scholar, Los Angeles Times, and many scholarly journals.