Subtitled “How to control your attention and choose your life”, it follows on from the author’s previous book, “Hooked” which was apparently taken up and followed by all the social media and gaming companies to get users to continue using their products, and teaches us basically how to get unhooked.

It’s clear that although there have always been distractions, both internal and external, and people worrying about how to concentrate on what they need to concentrate on (whether that’s work, their children or their partners), modern technology and especially our always-connected lives have made this worse and harder to deal with. Eyal aims to help us not to let our “attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others” and he has plenty of good, practical tips, once he’s established and convinced us that mind-set is always stronger than physical addiction (e.g. if we think we’re weak and have no self-control, we’ll make that true).

Tips include turning of push notifications, gamifying work and unexciting life admin, telling people in open-plan offices not to disturb you, bringing devices out of the bedroom and creating identity pacts (I am a vegetarian therefore I do not eat meat, as opposed to can’t). These are all key and are also all useful, however there’s nothing that radical here that you couldn’t think of for yourself. I’m aware here that that’s been said about my own self-help book, so I will say it’s useful to have all this stuff in one place, and I’m already the kind of person who plans her day out, so didn’t need the useful help with that aspect particularly. I did however ask not to be distracted the other day, so …

There was some slightly amusing stuff about helping his child to decide for themselves not to have their phone by them after 9pm – this seemed a little too perfect but maybe that’s really how they operate!

Useful if you need some help with distractions: maybe the book telling you precisely what to do will help you do it.


Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing for making this available via NetGalley in return for an honest review.