Johann Hari | Why You Can’t Pay Attention (and how to get it back)

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By Jonathan Fields / Acast. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

I’ve come to believe that the quality and richness of our lives is, in no small part, determined by the depth and quality of our attention. If it’s massively distracted, perpetually spinning out, and focused on negativity, that will also largely be the state of our lives, regardless of the actual objective circumstance of our lives. And, that is where we go in a powerful way with my guest today, Johann Hari.


Johann is a writer and journalist, whose work appears in everywhere from the New York Times, Le Monde, to The Guardian and many other newspapers and media outlets. His TED talks and NowThis viral video have been viewed almost 100 million times, and his work has been praised by a broad range of people, from Oprah Winfrey to Noam Chomsky. He was the Executive Producer of the Oscar-nominated film “The United States vs Billie Holiday” and of a forthcoming eight-part TV series starring Samuel L Jackson. And following an incident with his Godson a few years back, he decided to turn his attention to the topic of attention, what attention actually is, how it affects us our mental and physical health, relationships, careers, and lives, what our ability to either harness or lose control of it is doing to us, and how our world, technology and global enterprise have built models designed to hijack our attention not in the name of the betterment of our lives or of humanity, but rather for their own good. Johann goes deep into his research and ideas in the groundbreaking book, Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention - and How to Think Deeply Again, and we explore what he calls an attentional pathogenic culture, how it’s making life both harder and sadder, and, importantly, what we can do about it to reclaim our attention and, in doing so, our lives.


You can find Johann at: Instagram | Website


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