Thursday 28 September 2017

Irresistible by Adam Alter

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

"I'm not hooked, it just makes my life easier with email on my phone." "I can stop anytime - I'd love a technology break." "It's more for work than anything else, I hardy ever check Facebook."

Oh for a penny for every time I heard that. Or as the author suggests, a dollar, in a jar, when you break whatever commitment you make in respect of device use, or social media overuse.

I listened to Adam Alter narrate the Audible version of this book, and really enjoyed it. I'm sure that if you read a lot of this type of work, this book doesn't offer much in the way of novel ideas.

But I found his non-judgemental approach to looking at addiction, if not revolutionary, refreshing. Because we don't have much in the way of historical studies in terms of assessing the impact of technology addiction, he makes reference to other addictions we know more about  - the Vietnam vets and heroin, for example. And alcoholism, and rats in mazes, and all that stuff. Looking at our technological habits through those lenses was revealing. 

It's pointless denying it. We are all more addicted than we'd like to be. And bottom line is, it's because someone is making money out of keeping it that way. Even if this book makes you think about a break - for a few hours, a day, a weekend, it's worth it, I think.

4 stars

You may also enjoy The Knowledge Illusion by Steven Sloman and Philip Furbach. Or The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

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