I found this book literally out of necessity, one day, while preparing the dinner I was listening to The Mindful Cranks, a podcast made by Ronald Purser. His guest in that particular episode was the Scottish journalist Johann Hari, who studied Social and Political Science at King’s College, Cambridge. This year (2022) he published his most recent book Lost Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention.
They had a conversation about how we are losing our focus and the reasons behind that pattern – it’s not only our lack of discipline or will power. For them many factors came into play; for example: the big tech is contributing to keep us distracted and impede us to focus for long periods of time – especially when it comes to social media platforms – they’re designed to keep us hooked. During the interview they mentioned the evidence: we are exercising less, sleeping less, resting less and eating more unhealthy food due to the lifestyle changes that technology has brought along. All these factors together are diminishing our ability to focus and the byproduct: decreasing our productivity.
Until that very moment I knew basically nothing about him, so I used the best technological tool that the world has offered me – I grabbed my phone and I googled him (soon I realized: I really urgently needed to read that book). I went to the public library website, searched for his name and voila! All the books he’s written (three) were available but – Oh surprise! – I had to stay in the online queue for 17 weeks or so before I could get a copy of Lost Focus in my hands… Long story short: I only waited 3 days to have that book in the commodity of my house.
I must say reading this book has changed my life, or better said: Johann Hari has changed my perspective about focus. For that I’m eternally thankful. I even got Freedom Premium and the Ksfe container he talks about in his book. That’s how influenceable I am.
The book talks to anyone who is unsatisfied with how they relate to technology. If you can’t put your phone down when you are with your friends, spending time with your family or even at work, then you should read Johann Hari’s work. There are so many facts and narratives that he shares with his readers; for example: the fact that we feel guilty for being so easily distracted.
Every time that we try to focus we end up checking the latest email, Facebook notification or Instagram feed. It’s not all our responsibility, there is a system that is impeding our focus and stimulating our constant distraction. This book is the perfect call for us to pause and reflect about the way we spend our lives. Yes, we move and break things, but at what price. Our habits are creating loops that are detrimental to our lifestyle and overall satisfaction.
Yes, technology and screens are creating a world more connected and full of possibilities, but only if we know how and when to use it accordingly. Otherwise we end up being targeted by big tech companies like Facebook and become their product. Always hurrying and speeding up, always breaking things and moving fast, for what?
I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. Please leave in the comments section your thoughts on the book!