Book Reviews

Stolen Focus (Johann Hari)

Johann Hari's book is a summary of three years of research and interviewing specialists in a number of academic areas. The mission of his book is to investigate how technology is changing our ability to focus and pay attention.

The book provides extensive insights into what is happening to our attention and focus and worth a read if you want to gain some understanding of how technology is changing our brain structures and how we interact with the world around us.

About Johann Hari:

Johann Hari is a journalist and author. 

His book Stolen Focus is one of four that he has authored. 

You can read a longer review and watch some of the interviews he has conducted in this blog post. 

Indistractable (Nir Eyal)​

In his latest book, Nir walks through how technology is making us more and more distractable and has numerous suggestions on how we can claw back time in every area of our lives. 

Hooked (Nir Eyal)​

Nir is also the author of Hooked, a book that has been widely read throughout the tech industry. It is an insightful read into how technology is purposefully engineered to capture your attention and keep you hooked.

Reading through the book will help you to understand the mechanisms that are used within technology and help you to find personal strategies to unhook yourself from the technology you use. 

You can read a more extensive review of both Hooked and Indistractable in this Guardian article. If you aren’t able to access the article, you can read a PDF of the article here.

About Nir Eyal:

Nir is an author and lecturer who specialises in behavioural engineering, using behavioural science that creates habit-forming products. Nir’s philosophy is that tech companies should not be regulated, but rather it is up to the individual to regulate their own behaviour around their technology use. You can read more about him at his website or follow him on Twitter.

Deep Work (Cal Newport)

Cal Newport's main hypothesis in this book is that ‘the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.’ In this book, Cal dives into the research around how our use of digital media is reducing our ability to concentrate and focus on important work. He provides the evidence around how digital technology is changing how we think, but also ways to shift ourselves back to a place where we rekindle our ability to think and work ‘deeply’. 

About the Cal Newport:

Cal Newport is an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, USA. He has published a number of non-fiction books and conducts a lot of research on the interaction of humans and technology. 

You can find out more about him on his website.

Because Internet (Gretchen McCullough)

Because Internet is an exploration of how the language used on the internet, and in particular on social media and text messaging, has changed how we communicate with others.  The book explores how language and communication has evolved, even exploring how it changed with the advent of the landline. It also analyses the differences in languages between the generations and those who are familiar with the use of 'digital language' and those who are less so. 

About Gretchen McCullough:

Gretchen is ‘an internet linguist. She analyses the language of the internet, for the people of the internet’. You can find her website here. 

Introductory Texts to CyberPsychology

These books are recommended for those interested in diving deeper into the academic research and theoretical concepts of CyberPsychology.

Issues and Debates in CyberPsychology (Dr Linda Kaye)

Released in January 2022, Issues and Debates in CyberPsychology takes a look at the current debates in CyberPsychology from an academic perspective. In her book, Dr Kaye gives a thorough overview of the concepts and discusses the current narratives around CyberPsychology.  If you are new to CyberPsychology, or thinking about the discipline as a career choice, this book is more than a must-have for your bookshelf, it is a must-read as a great entry-point into a deeper understanding. You can download a sample of the book that includes the introduction and the first few pages of Chapter 2. You can also watch Dr Kaye introduce her book in this quick YouTube video. 

Watch the remainder of her chapter videos directly on her website page

You can also watch a video of a recent interview Dr Kaye did with Chris from ‘Psyched’ talking about her new book.

About Linda Kaye:

Dr Linda Kaye specialises in gaming and online behaviour. She is a founding member of the British Psychology Society CyberPsychology Section. She is also a TEDx Speaker and Educator.

You can watch her TEDx talk on ‘What Your Emoji Says About You’ within her expert profile and you can follow her on Twitter.