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Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping…

by Adam Alter

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4851344,702 (3.77)4
"An urgent and expert investigation into behavioral addiction, the dark flipside of today's unavoidable digital technologies, and how we can turn the tide to regain control. Behavioral addiction may prove to be one of the most important fields of social, medical, and psychological research in our lifetime. The idea that behaviors can be being addictive is new, but the threat is near universal. Experts are just beginning to acknowledge that we are all potential addicts. Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, is at the cutting edge of research into what makes these products so compulsive, and he documents the hefty price we're likely to pay if we continue blindly down our current path. People have been addicted to substances for thousands of years, but for the past two decades, we've also been hooked on technologies, such as Instagram, Netflix, and Facebook--inventions that we've adopted because we assume they'll make our lives better. These inventions have profound upsides, but their extraordinary appeal isn't an accident. Technology companies and marketers have teams of engineers and researchers devoted to keeping us engaged. They know how to push our buttons, and how to coax us into using their products for hours, days, and weeks on end. Tracing the very notion of addiction through history right up until the present day, Alter shows that we're only just beginning to understand the epidemic of behavioral addiction gripping society. He takes us inside the human brain at the very moment we score points on a smartphone game, or see that someone has liked a photo we've posted on Instagram. But more than that, Alter heads the problem off at the pass, letting us know what we can do to step away from the screen. He lays out the options we have address this problem before it truly consumes us. After all, who among us has struggled to ignore the ding of a new email, the next episode in a TV series, or the desire to play a game just one more time? Adam Alter's previous book, Drunk Tank Pink:And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behaveis available in paperback from Penguin"--… (more)
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English (12)  Dutch (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
You didn't realize you pick up your phone, on average, 39 times an hour?

That you have a slight addiction to that game your niece installed on your iPad?

That your shopping tendencies, such harmless fun to you, may be controlled by invisible strings?

Welcome to the modern world, where behavioral addictions are surging far past chemical ones.

Adam Alter tells you about the history of addiction (from the hapless inventor of Coca-Cola to today's World of Warcraft, where you're lucky if you manage to will yourself to take a break to use the bathroom or sleep) leaving no stone unturned (hello, Sigmund Freud, you big promoter of the wholesome values of cocaine!) in the new field of behavioral addiction. ( )
  Ricardo_das_Neves | Jan 14, 2023 |
A smooth and enjoyable read. Good for those interested in psychology (there are studies galore in this book). ( )
  soylee22 | Jun 21, 2022 |
This had some interesting parts but got a little repetitive making the same point over and over again. ( )
  Dairyqueen84 | Mar 15, 2022 |
A really interesting yet short read about how technology has changed to keep us hooked as the technology has become more mobile and ever present in our lives.

I wanted to read this book because recently I have been trying to step away from my phone more and be off the internet more because I have found it to stress me out. I recently deleted Instagram, which is the only social media I had. It is a decision that I have not regretted for a moment. I thought this book may help me flesh out ideas of why being on the internet and being on social media was so stressful for me.

This book did help with that by covering a broad range of topics under the umbrella of behavioral addiction. It focused a little more on gaming that I would have liked just because I don't play really any sort of video game. I wish there had been a bit more focus on social media behavior because that is what I have found most addiction when it comes to technology. I also really liked the section on raising children because its a topic I think about a lot when think about my childhood and how important offline play was for my growth and how different it might be growing up today.

I do wish the author had acknowledged a bit more how hard it is socially to be disconnected for days at a time. It was brought up how ubiquitous technology is but people who took days to answer emails or phone calls were spoken of fondly without the author ever really acknowledging that not everyone's job allows them to disconnect like that. Many jobs have a requirement that emails are responded to within 24 hours so many people cannot afford to just turn off email notifications. I think it would have been good to acknowledge that unplugging like that can be the hardest for the people making the least amount of money and the people who can least afford to lose their job over a missed phone call or unanswered email.

I think if this is a topic you're interested in, I would recommend this book. It isn't overly preachy about the dangerous of technology and it doesn't tell you never to use your phone. Not all the information was new to me but this book does help to flesh out how technology has been designed to become more and more addictive and how users are studied to make it a product as addictive as possible.


Also! not about this book but I've now read 15 books in January! I'm particularly excited about this because last year I read 30 books the whole year and right now I'm already halfway to that in just one month. Even though I think this will slow down now that I'm back in school I'm hoping to read many more books this year and I hope I will enjoy a lot of them! ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
What do Marie Kondo, phones, gaming, Black-Friday shopping, PTSD, and emails have in common?

This book draws interesting ties between all of them. I particularly liked a lot of the ways that your expectations are overthrown. Think that the largest group of gamers is men between 14-40? Think again. Think that addiction is created by the game creators? Mmmm, the answer might not be so simple.

Alter takes us on a good journey through addiction, history, technology (pitfalls and benefits), and potential solutions.

Worth a read. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
All in all, Alter wrote a compelling, informative book about the dangers and drawbacks of the technology that defines our lives. Anyone can learn something from this book. This book can provide information for those dealing with a video game addiction to understand what is happening and possible steps forward. At the same time, this book is informative for someone who has never played a video game but checks emails 25 times a day. We all can learn something from Irresistible and hopefully better prepare ourselves for the future of technology.
added by Lemeritus | editMedium, Katharyn Peterman (Apr 7, 2017)
 
A clearly written account of a widespread social malady that is sure to gain further attention in coming years.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Review (Dec 26, 2016)
 
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At an Apple event in January 210, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad. - Prologue
A couple of years ago, Kevin Holesh, an app developer, decided that he wasn't spending enough time with his family.
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Addictive tech is part of the mainstream in a way that addictive substances never will be. Abstinence isn’t an option,
Most people spend between one and four hours on their phones each day—and many far longer.
Each month almost one hundred hours was lost to checking email, texting, playing games, surfing the web, reading articles, checking bank balances, and so on. Over the average lifetime, that amounts to a staggering eleven years.
On average they were also picking up their phones about three times an hour. This sort of overuse is so prevalent that researchers have coined the term “nomophobia” to describe the fear of being without mobile phone contact (an abbreviation of “no-mobile-phobia”).
Phones are disruptive by their mere existence, even when they aren’t in active use. They’re distracting because they remind us of the world beyond the immediate conversation, and the only solution, the researchers wrote, is to remove them completely.
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"An urgent and expert investigation into behavioral addiction, the dark flipside of today's unavoidable digital technologies, and how we can turn the tide to regain control. Behavioral addiction may prove to be one of the most important fields of social, medical, and psychological research in our lifetime. The idea that behaviors can be being addictive is new, but the threat is near universal. Experts are just beginning to acknowledge that we are all potential addicts. Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, is at the cutting edge of research into what makes these products so compulsive, and he documents the hefty price we're likely to pay if we continue blindly down our current path. People have been addicted to substances for thousands of years, but for the past two decades, we've also been hooked on technologies, such as Instagram, Netflix, and Facebook--inventions that we've adopted because we assume they'll make our lives better. These inventions have profound upsides, but their extraordinary appeal isn't an accident. Technology companies and marketers have teams of engineers and researchers devoted to keeping us engaged. They know how to push our buttons, and how to coax us into using their products for hours, days, and weeks on end. Tracing the very notion of addiction through history right up until the present day, Alter shows that we're only just beginning to understand the epidemic of behavioral addiction gripping society. He takes us inside the human brain at the very moment we score points on a smartphone game, or see that someone has liked a photo we've posted on Instagram. But more than that, Alter heads the problem off at the pass, letting us know what we can do to step away from the screen. He lays out the options we have address this problem before it truly consumes us. After all, who among us has struggled to ignore the ding of a new email, the next episode in a TV series, or the desire to play a game just one more time? Adam Alter's previous book, Drunk Tank Pink:And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behaveis available in paperback from Penguin"--

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