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iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us Hardcover – March 27, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Thoughtful, clearly written and full of ideas and data you'll want to throw into dinner-party conversation.” ―The New York Times

“Rosen's ideas are thought-provoking, and the changes he suggests are realistic to implement. Very readable.” ―Library Journal Xpress

“In iDisorder, Dr. Larry Rosen takes readers on a thought-provoking tour of how new technology is dramatically changing our lives and redefining what we consider normal versus disordered behavior.” ―Gary Small, M.D., director of UCLA Center on Aging and bestselling author of The Memory Bible

“Rosen's book, iDisorder, tells us how not to let too much of a good thing become a bad thing. Digital technologies are machines that can enhance or harm our minds. Rosen tells us how to keep our minds safe and sane.” ―James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University

“Well-researched insights into the impact of technology on our psychological well-being and mental health. Rosen continues to serve as a pioneer in the field with this groundbreaking book that provides guidance and expertise on the deeper roots of psychological problems related to technology use.” ―Dr. Kimberly Young, author of Caught in the Net and Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide for Evaluation and Treatment

“In iDisorder, Dr. Rosen provides comprehensive coverage of many mental health issues facing our overuse of technology. This complex and challenging book provides clear and concise guidance when dealing with these issues.” ―Martin A. Saeman, managing editor, The National Psychologist

iDisorder is a futurist psychologist's fascinating glimpse into the 21st century. In this book, Rosen shows you and your loved ones how to regain control over your technology-centric lives.” ―Pat DeLeon, former president American Psychological Association

About the Author

Larry Rosen is past chair and professor of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is a research psychologist and computer educator, and is recognized as an international expert in the "Psychology of Technology." Dr. Rosen and his colleagues have examined reactions to technology among more than 30,000 children, teens, and adults in the United States and in 23 other countries. Dr. Rosen has been a commentator on Good Morning America, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, and Lifetime Television, and has been quoted in hundreds of magazines and newspapers, including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and USA Today. He is a featured blogger for Psychology Today and has spoken to audiences around the world for the past 30 years on how technology is affecting our way of life. He lives in San Diego, California.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230117570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230117570
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Graham H. Seibert TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We clever humans are better and better at manipulating our environment. At the same time, we are better and better at manipulating each other and letting ourselves be manipulated.

Technology has invaded every aspect of our lives, and now that it is portable, it follows us everywhere. Rosen says there is a technology jacket available that can carry 22 different portable devices, with custom pockets for iPod earbuds and other quirky features.

He opens with illustrations about how psychologically dependent we are on our technology. Our cell phones sit on the table at dinner, and on our nightstands as we sleep. We interrupt conversations with real people all the time to tap away at our portable devices to see what's going on.

Rosen goes into a long riff on the narcissistic personality disorder. He is a psychologist, and reads from the standard psychological textbooks and uses the updated Freudian categorizations that are within the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. He does not, however, adhere religiously to the DSM and proposes his own category, which he calls according to his title iDisorder. It would not be a clinical condition, affecting a continuum of normal to narcissistic people. It can, however, be debilitating. The purpose of this book is to tell us how to minimize the harmful effects of all this technology in our lives without forgoing the benefits. He recognizes, in other words, that one cannot fully live a modern life without the technology.

He has chosen Facebook for special attention. It caters to narcissists. He asks you to consider the care with which you prepare and post photographs, how frequently you post, how often your posts use pronouns in the first person.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best book I've read in a while. When I say "best," I mean in terms of its execution rather than by some subjective measure such as whether I "liked" it or how I feel about the subject. Rosen takes on an increasingly important subject and clearly communicates the issues involved. He puts those issues into a context that allows the reader to make sense of them and see the implications. Rosen also provides some guidance for readers in stepping back from the precipice. This last part was an unexpected bonus; I had expected merely an analysis of the problem.

Many authors tackle subjects that are important, timely, interesting, or some combination thereof. Typically, the work doesn't deliver on the promise of its title, its subtitle, the potential of the subject, or some combination thereof. And typically, the work needs copy-editing. Rosen's work didn't suffer from these problems.

So that's my commentary on the quality of the work. What about its substance? What is Rosen talking about, and why should you care?

First, it may help frame the discussion with a comment on my own phone usage. A few years back, I made the decision to stop carrying a cell phone with me. It dawned on me that if I'm out doing something (especially driving a car), then answering the phone simply diminishes what I'm doing. I also made the decision not to answer the phone just because it rings.

It simply is not true that I am of so little value and my activities have so little meaning that I should go through the whole stop/restart cycle just because someone else decides to use a synchronous communication method without seeking permission in advance. My e-mail system isn't set up to let me know when there's new e-mail, either. I find that out when I decide to check e-mail.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and I found the idea of this book very interesting. As an absolute lover of technology I was interested to discover the ways in which it might be negatively affecting my life. I found the explanation of the studies interesting, however I found that reading the basis of the book was enough to explain most of what I read after buying the book. I think that if you have a decent handle on the subject of Psychology you will be somewhat bored with this book. I didn't need an entire chapter to explain how constantly posting about yourself would cause your narcissism to develop, or that constantly checking your phone for notifications can exacerbate your OCD. The helpful tips for pulling away from technology enough to prevent an iDisorder were also pretty basic and somewhat obvious.

Dr. Rosen has inspired me to look much deeper into the research and ideas floating around about how technology can negatively affect our mental states, but his book didn't explain it as deeply as I would have liked.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thesis of this book is that our collective dependence on technology is causing postmodern Man (or Teenager) to exhibit symptoms similar to those that mimic disorders like schizophrenia and Asperger's. I wasn't expecting deep analysis akin to something by Jacques Ellul, but the book is very much pitched at a pop/junk science level, similar to the kind of thing that would elicit glowing praise from the likes of David Brooks a big shrug from pretty much everyone else. There is some fascinating stuff in here, along with much more self-evident/obvious info that makes this book feel as facile as an article or a blog post. The author also wades into the debunked non-argument that violent videogames are to blame for a lot of social ills, which is something I would expect from a high-school principal, rather than "an in international expert in 'the psychology of technology.'" The good news, however, is that the author quotes quite a few studies that, while shorter than his book, provide much more depth and insight than Rosen furnishes.
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