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Irresistible: why you are addicted to technology and how you can set yourself free
by Adam Alter
Irresistible is written by psychologist Adam Alter about how society is becoming addicted to our smartphones, laptops, game consoles and television. In other words time in front of a screen is becoming all consuming for most of us. Adam Atler explores how this affects our everyday life, relationships and mental well being. Towards the end of the book, Atler suggests ways we can use technology differently and how it will lead us to living happier lives.
My Quick Review
Well, this is a book I was in urgent need to read. I am as guilty as the next person of spending too much time on my phone, endlessly checking one social media site and then swiftly onto the next. I would say 80% of my smartphone use is probably completely unnecessary. The amount of productivity I could achieve instead of perusing the Instagram photos of a friend of a friend of friend’s account and LOLling at cute cat videos is beyond ridiculous (though I’m still not convinced cat videos are a complete waste of time). So, I thought this book would be perfect for me to read and digest. By the reaction I got when I first published the list of books we were going to read this year, it seems many of you out there were in need of this book too.
I found this book fascinating and very informative. I learnt a lot about addiction. For me, this book completely dispelled the myth that certain people have “addictive personalities” and it’s only these people that become addicted. It was also very interesting how the way game designers engineer their games, deliberately fosters behavioural addiction.
One small negative that I found with this book was that, I’m not sure how necessary or helpful some of the diagrams in the book were. I’m not convinced that I really needed a breakdown of the number of books that contain the word “perfectionism”. Just the fact that it’s increased over the years would have sufficed.
Alter, covered most aspects of screen time addiction, but I do feel it slightly lacked when it came to discussing people who just aimlessly peruse the internet without any interaction. Adler does provides a very good explanation on the gambling side of technology (referring to both actual gambling and the gambling high people obtain from “likes” on social media).
I also felt it would’ve been useful to have a short, accessible list of his suggestions for reducing technology use at the end of the book. Instead if you want that information again, you would have to read through the final chapter again.
The book did a good job of fairly representing the positive aspects of technology. I don’t feel the book could be accused of presenting a one-sided arguement.
As I said before the book was very interesting and I couldn’t put it down (making the book “irresistible”- boom!), but felt the title was slightly misleading. Whilst there were some suggestions, I didn’t really feel it was a book one read to enable the reduction of technology usage. Though it did provide excellent and detailed information regarding addiction and why technology is so addictive.
Overall, this is an excellent & fascinating book. However, I don’t appear to have reduced my screen time. Maybe I need to reread that final chapter?
Questions to Consider
- Did you learn anything new about addiction from reading this book?
- Since reading this book has it changed your attitude towards technology?
- Have you reduced the amount of time in front of a screen?
- Do you think the book explained the influence of the internet on society in enough detail?
- After reading this book, what are your views on society’s future with regards to technology and it’s influence?
- What do you feel was the overall purpose of this book?
- Do you feel this book succeeded with its purpose?
- What section/paragraph/sentence left a lasting impression on you, if any?
- Do you feel the writing style of the author was accessible?
- Has this book inspired you to read more books on a similar subject matter?
(Questions created by me)
You don’t have to answer these questions in your comments, but they might help to get you thinking about the book or to prompt a discourse.
October’s book is A Million Little Pieces by James Fey. I’ll be starting the conversation for this on Monday 6th November.
For a list of all the other books we’ll be reading this year, please click here.