Book Review: Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Title: Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
Author: Nir Eyal
Publication Date: 17th September 2019
RRP: $29.99AUD (Price correct at time of writing.)

Synopsis: "What would life look like if we followed through on our intentions?

Nir Eyal, a former Standford lecturer and behavioural designer, spent over a decade researching the psychology behind habit-forming products. The result was his international bestselling book, Hooked.

Now, the man who identified the habit has delivered the cure. Eyal describes how to manage the discomfort that drives distraction, and explains why solving the problem is not as simple as swearing off your devices. With a four-step, research-backed model, Indistractable lays bare the secret to getting the best out of technology, without letting it get the best of you.

Empowering and optimistic, this is the book that will allow you to control your time and attention - and live the life you really want. This September, learn to master the most essential and powerful skill of the digital age: becoming Indistractable."

My thoughts: Alright, let's talk about this highlighter-yellow book - Indistractable certainly grabs your attention! (Does that make it a distraction in bookstores?)

This one was really interesting, but at times didn't quite gel with me.  The book is set out in seven parts - the first four are the aforementioned (see Synopsis) four-step plan of how to work towards being Indistractable, and the latter three are about certain settings or relationships and how to introduce more of the atmosphere of indistractability (is that a word?) into them. 

Within the parts, the instructions and suggestions are broken down into separate chapters. The chapters are really short and sweet - I wondered whilst reading if it was written that way in an effort to keep people's attention in a world where scrolling seems to be the norm. Either way, it ended up making me feel like I was getting through the book super quickly, which I definitely appreciated. At the end of each chapter, there's a little box reminding you of the main points of that chapter, making it even easier to remember the guidelines of Eyal's model. Everything about this book is designed in a way to help you work towards being more present and focused in your life. The model Eyal has designed is really interesting, and addresses all sides of how and why we get distracted in the first place. It's thoroughly researched and backed up; each chapter featuring some information, usually a small anecdote or relation to Eyal's life, and some data from different studies. And it's really readable.

The only difficulties I had with it is that it was a little bit ableist at times - one of Eyal's main instructions is to plan out your time completely, even booking in time for you to be alone and do nothing (if that's what you want to do - the important thing is that it's scheduled). For those with chronic illness, this is really difficult to do, given our conditions are extremely changeable. At another point in the book when Eyal was discussing how to make the workplace more Indistractable, he recommended that there only be one laptop in meetings for taking minutes (preferably no devices at all) to facilitate actual conversation and collabaration. That makes total sense to me. However, he also recommends that anyone using a laptop in meetings other than the minute-taker be openly glared at by the other members of the meeting - this doesn't sit right with me as someone who gets a lot of pain from using pen and paper (much to my sadness) and can manage to type for far longer than I can write longhand.

Honestly, though, these are relatively small things, and apart from them, I found the book to be informative and incredibly interesting, and I am even planning to include some of his suggestions in my life - just not the ones that actively disagree with my illnesses! I recommend this to anyone looking to move away from scrolling on social media and then realising more than an hour has passed...

{I received a review copy of this book from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'The one thing we control is the time we out into a task.'

You would like this book if: You are interested in the science behind addictive social media and games, and how to notice when it's doing it's work on you; you want to dedicate more time to the things that matter to you, and feel that you are losing a lot of time to your phone or various gadgets.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Book in some 'You' time and sit down with a cup of tea (perhaps find your own favourite!) and having tea can become part of your journey towards being 'Indistractable'. (I recommend a nice chamomile tea to really chill you out.)

Rating:  7.5/10

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