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Distracted - Maggie Jackson

Hardcover Published: 1st June 2008
ISBN: 9781591026235
Number Of Pages: 327

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We have vast oceans of information at our disposal, yet increasingly we seek knowledge with brief glimpses at the Yahoo headlines while juggling other tasks. We are networked as never before, but we tend to communicate even with our most intimate friends and family via instant messaging, email, and fleeting face-to-face moments that are rescheduled a dozen times, then punctuated when they do occur with pings and beeps and more multitasking. Welcome to the land of distraction. Despite our wondrous technologies and scientific advances, we are nurturing a culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment. In this new world, something is amiss. And that something is - attention. Journey with Maggie Jackson as she explores the many ways in which we are eroding our capacity for deep, sustained attention - the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress. In her sweeping quest to unravel the nature of attention and detail its erosion, she introduces us to scientists, cartographers, marketers, educators, wired teens, virtual lovers from the telegraph age, and roboticists building smart machines to comfort and care for us. She takes us from the nineteenth-century roots of our mobile, virtual multitasking ways into a darkening future of snippets, glimpses, skimming, McThinking, and mistrust. Taking us beyond 'Blink and Faster', Jackson makes it clear that if we continue down this road of scattered attention spans and widespread societal ADD, we will be in danger of squandering and devaluing the essence of humanity, and our technological age could ultimately slip into cultural decline. But we are just as capable of igniting a renaissance of attention by strengthening our varied powers of focus and perception, the keys to judgement, memory, morality, and happiness. She describes some of the exciting new scientific research that shows how these skills can be nurtured. "Distraction" is unique in being simultaneously an original expose of the multifaceted nature of attention, an engaging and often surprising portrait of post-modern life, and a compelling roadmap for cultivating sustained focus and nurturing a more enriched and literate society. Pull over, hit the pause button, silence the ringer, and prepare to encounter our land of distraction-this may be your first, and maybe your last, chance to really fathom it.

"In a typical scientist-cum-philosopher style, Jackson manages to ask all the right questions, and ultimately leaves it up to us to decide our own fate. And in case we still aren't paying attention, she slaps us upside the virtual head with a frightening suggestion: 'We just might be too busy, wired, split-focused, and distracted to notice a return to an era of shadows and fear.'" --Pop Matters, Jul. 31, 2008 "Usually when a book is really good, I'll say it was a page-turner or I couldn't out it down. Oddly enough, I can't say that about Distracted. The reason, however, is the book made me stop and think. The author would sometimes make a point so profound or so worth mulling over that I just had to stop and digest it for a while. How many books can you think of that make you want to do that?" --Mind Connection, June 21, 2008 " Jackson offers us both a wake-up call Chr(45) and a reason for hope." --Psych Links Blog, July 21 2008 "If you are in the mood for a serious look at how society is in a decline amidst the greatest explosion of technological advance in the history of the world, you will not be disappointed." --My Shelf.com, 2008 "Jackson is not a pessimist; she believes we have the capability to regain our ability to pay attention and avoid the coming crisis she warns of. But whether or not you believe we are headed into another dark age, as Jackson claims, there is no question that taking at least some of her ideas to heart would do us all good." --Culture Cartel.com, October 20, 2008 "Maggie Jackson's book Distracted will serve as a wonderful guide for us on this journey as we begin to recognize and confess the ways in which we daily are inattentive and distracted." --Englewood Review of Books, September 5, 2008 "Jackson raises a number of important issues that deserve to be taken seriously." --Metapsychology online reviews, Vol. 13, Issue 2, January 6, 2009 "I was expecting something else when I picked up Maggie Jackson's book. I figured it would be another 'How to.' For example, How to focus, How to get organized, How to clear off your desk, How to get disciplined. It was quite different. It was deep. Through travels, case studies and meetings with ground-breaking professors, Maggie uncovers the deep implications of a society that is constantly distracted." -- ScottDig.com on May 3, 2009

Forewordp. 9
Introductionp. 11
Lengthening Shadows: Exploring Our Landscape of Distraction
Wired Love 1880-Tracing the Roots of an Attention-Deficient Culturep. 29
Focus-E-mailing the Dead and Other Forays into Virtual Livingp. 45
Judgment-Of Molly's Gaze and Taylor's Watch: Why More Is Less in a Split-Screen Worldp. 71
Awareness-Portable Clocks and Little Black Boxes: The Sticking Point of Mobilityp. 97
Deepening Twilight: Pursuing the Narrowing Path
Focus-Invisible Tethers: The Delicate Art of Surveillance-Based Lovep. 127
Judgment-Book and Word on the "Edge of Chaos"p. 153
Awareness-The Post-Human Age: A Battle for Our Attentionp. 183
Dark Times ... Or Renaissance of Attention?
McThinking and the Future of the Pastp. 213
The Gift of Attention-A Renaissance at Handp. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 267
Endnotesp. 269
Indexp. 311
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781591026235
ISBN-10: 1591026237
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 327
Published: 1st June 2008
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.0  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.58
Edition Number: 1