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Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age Hardcover – June 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Maggie Jackson's fascinating book on America's collective attention deficit disorder is a wake-up call to all of us to take back our lives, turn off the technology, and focus on paying attention to what makes us human and fulfilled." -- Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and author of America the Principled and Confidence.
"This is an important book. I found it to be a harrowing documentation of our modern world's descent into fragmentation, self alienation, and emptiness -- brought on, to a large extent, by communication technologies that distract us, dislocate us, and destroy our inner lives. Others have commented on these issues, but I have never seen them gathered together and documented as completely as Maggie Jackson has done." -- Alan Lightman, author of the bestselling Einstein's Dreams and National Book Award finalist The Diagnosis and MIT professor
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Top Customer Reviews
Why does the stupidity epidemic continue to spread, despite its horrible cost? One answer may simply be that people are too distracted to pay attention. Consequently, they are not fully engaging their brains and focusing on what they are reading, saying, seeing, or hearing. This is a real problem in, for example, the task of driving an automobile. All of us can spot the "cell phone driver" from a distance, and there's a reason why.
It's the same reason this country has a shortage of qualified engineers, a shortage of senior project managers (average age now for the SMs in the construction industry is north of sixty), and such widespread ignorance of basic science, geography, and other subjects that require study. It's why only about half of voting-age Americans can correctly identify the three branches of the federal government.
When people are chronically distracted, something is wrong with their ability, desire, or discipline to filter out nonessential things and focus on what matters or what really has value. The result is a watered down life experience and a weakened intellect.
The effect is so pronounced and ubiquitous that, Jackson asserts, we as a society are poised on the edge of a coming dark time.Read more ›
This latter point, of course, is a paraphrase of the title of Maggie Jackson's latest book "Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age." The major problem we face now, Jackson seems to say, is INATTENTION; that is, we are no longer engaging in such activities as reflection, searching for deeper meanings, taking time to relax and participate in traditionally intimate conversations, getting to know people in a personable way, taking the time to discern the really important from the merely transitory, and so on. We as a society and as individuals are, in other words, not paying ATTENTION. At least to the things we ought to be paying proper attention to.Read more ›
Jackson's book is not without its merits. She examines the crucial issue of attentional capacity and growth in children, and how electronic stimuli fracture attention and foster an 'attention deficit' society. She effectively discusses America's simultaneity - the idea that internet connectivity, technology, and travel, have rendered people both 'everywhere and nowhere.' Decrying this neo-nomadic culture, she also asserts - with convincing narratives - that simultaneity and attentional distraction tends toward the dissolution of American families and relationships.
However, "Distracted" also delves into topics that fail to demonstrably progress its thesis. Jackson discusses individual people and problems which only bear tangential importance to the implications of a 'distracted' society. The virtual world's treatment of death, the dangerous preference of information by an unreliable internet rather than books, and a curious digression on the eating habits of an overworking population, are but a few topics that waste the reader's time. Here and elsewhere, Jackson tries to weave a quilt with discordant fabrics and patterns, and the result is a disjointed and scattered product.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book almost made me dislike reading. There were some typos. The author is way to wordy. I get what she was trying to say but it could have been said in less pages. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is all over the place. I feel like the authors must have been distracted when trying to structure it.Published 15 months ago by mike301
"Distracted" is a riveting read. Several times over the course of the past year, men and women have commented to me about their disappointment in the fast-paced, instant... Read morePublished 18 months ago by nana
Maggie Jackson's Distracted: The Erosion on Attention and the Coming Dark Age (ISBN 978-1-59102-623-5) offers still more commentary on a popular subject these days: the damaging... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jeff Minick
The author did a wonderful job in the book in describing why a healthy attention span is so important and what we are losing in the deterioration in our ability to focus. Read morePublished on August 21, 2013 by ThrillCozby
It doesn't matter how one feels about the ways in which Jackson goes about exploring the nature of our distracted lives; the important thing is that she did it. Read morePublished on May 26, 2013 by melissa o'brien
loves creative language ... overpowering, bombastic
technical language .... a penchant for going too far with the explanation ... Read more
I'm drawn to write this review on revisiting Jackson's book after reading it not long after its publication in 2008. Read morePublished on April 8, 2013 by John Hitchcock