Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

August 7, 2019 - Comment

“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I’ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age

“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I’ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.
 
In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today’s products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.
 
By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

Adam Alter’s previous book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave is available in paperback from Penguin.

Comments

Anonymous says:

A story in anecdotes when all of the crucial information is right in front of us. The writing is decent enough, but the topic is more important than the way this argument is articulated. There’s a maliciousness to the way that social media and networked technologies are meant to engage users and then keep them hooked. This book could have and should have been built around really striking that chord entirely through relevant research on how corporations like Facebook, Google, Instagram, etc are doing this, but instead it’s mostly anecdotal, ie, each chapter is mostly…

Anonymous says:

More About Behavioral Addiction Than Technology This book was an interesting if shallow look into behavioral addiction as applied to technology, but I didn’t feel like it dove into the technical side enough. I wanted to see more details about the sites, apps, and devices we use and the specific tricks they use to hook us. Instead, this book was more about the general topic of behavioral addiction, as applied to technology, and I didn’t think it was particularly insightful in that. That’s fine, just not exactly what I came for.

Anonymous says:

They Know What Buttons to Push, and They Won’t Stop Pushing Them This is a well-written and entertaining, yet frightening book about how tech designers use our own evolutionary structures to get us addicted to their products. In addition to an explanation of the science behind addiction, the author uses interesting anecdotes to illustrate key points. As a result of reading this book, I’ve decided to be more cognizant of the time I spend on apps, social media, and just staring at my phone in general. I hope that by being able to recognize the weapons that…

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