Review Eyal’s Indistractible

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Nir Eyal

I’ve lost count of how many books on attention I’ve read over the years, yet still I struggle with putting my phone away.

This one is pretty middle of the road. It still feels a bit padded. There’s lessons here on running good meetings, being smart about group chats, and writing emails, none of which felt all the new to me. There’s also a number of very helpful “hacks”* to limit you phone, which, while helpful, also could have been a magazine article. Perhaps the most important idea in the book is the one Eyal starts with — that when we want to change an unhealthy behavior we need to look at the behaviors root cause. What’s the trigger that’s making you go for you phone? When you can start answering that, you can start solving the problem.

All in all, not the best book in this burgeoning genre, but not terrible either. For that, I’d suggest the works of Cal  Newport, especially his latest, Digital Minimalism. 

Recommended for the enthusiast.

*  Can we please stop using this word for every type of human activity?


Review: Zomorodi’s Bored and Brilliant

Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self
Manoush Zomorodi

Another in a long line of books fretting over our distraction culture, this one focused on the importance of boredom in the creative process. I’ve read far more of these books than I care to admit (yet remain active on twitter). This one is better than most, grounded squarely in the science, and reasonable in its recommendations. Zomorodi isn’t saying you need to go live in a yurt without electricity to be creative, but she is saying, and the science backs her up, that time in reflection, time just spacing out, is necessary not only to be mentally healthy, but also to be you best, most creative and productive self.

If you’ve been paying attention to the attention economy issues, there isn’t much that is new here. But taking a step back  and reflecting is an important (and in our age, difficult) thing to do and Zomorodi gives you the ammunition (and inspiration) to make some changes in your own life to create more space for boredom, creativity, and brilliance.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Manoush Zomordi

Manoush Zomordi