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

My husband and I have been downsizing for quite some time now, which is why this bookish blog of mine has several posts related to tidying up and organizing. But tidying up technology has been tricky for us, and examining how we want to interact with technology in our home has been an ongoing process. So when we heard about Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, we purchased the book and started reading it on the same day!

Alter_full coverIrresistible is written by Adam Alter, an academic with interdisciplinary research interests in marketing and psychology. Throughout this book, Alter pulls back the curtain and allows the reader to examine how technology is designed to keep us hooked.

Technology is designed to make us strive for more likes, to make us yearn to complete one more quest, and to keep us glued to our screens. For example, have you ever given far too much attention to whether or not someone liked a picture you shared on Instagram? Or, have you spent three hours or more playing Candy Crush, only to then wonder why you didn’t get more done in the day?  The examples offered by Alter allow us to better understand how such behavioral addictions are formed, and how the tech industry benefits from such addictions.

Although I’m very glad to have read this book and would recommend it for any one who is critically examining the role of technology in their own life, I do feel as though the book fell short of truly pushing readers to proactively change technology habits. But I suppose this wasn’t really Alter’s intention. What Alter provides is a thoughtful examination of the addictive nature of technology. While Alter analyzes behavioral addictions involving technology, he also recognizes that it would be difficult for most of us to fully remove technology from our lives, and ends on a note of encouraging us to learn how to live with and manage technology.

Overall, I think that how we use technology in our lives is a personal choice that deserves thoughtful consideration. My husband and I decided to deactivate our Facebook accounts in 2015 and we haven’t looked back. In the beginning, we used to worry that we were missing out, but I think we’ve both let go of that fear. Now we focus on spending our time reading, running, cooking, hiking, playing music, reading, traveling, and being present with each other. It can be emotionally challenging to explore your relationship with technology, but you may find that it is totally worth the effort.

A.

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