Atten­ton: A Love Story

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2019

What do we talk about when we talk about atten­tion? We might start with the stud­ies: the aver­age Amer­i­can unlocks their iPhone eighty times a day; the aver­age mil­len­ni­al checks their phone almost twice as often. These kinds of sta­tis­tics tell the sto­ry of the last decade as tech­nol­o­gy has wound its way into our lives as nev­er before. But Casey Schwartz grap­ples with the larg­er ques­tions emerg­ing from this change, offer­ing a focus on atten­tion itself. What is it? What does it mean when we give it away? Expand­ing on her pop­u­lar New York Times arti­cle, Gen­er­a­tion Adder­all,” Schwartz details the decade she spent tak­ing pre­scrip­tion pills to help her pay atten­tion (or so she thought) then moves out­ward to con­sid­er the wider land­scape of atten­tion past and present. From our crav­ing for dis­trac­tion to our crav­ing for a cure, from Sil­i­con Val­ley to psy­che­delics to the works and lives of writ­ers like David Fos­ter Wal­lace, Aldous Hux­ley, William James, and Simone Weil, who each wrote pow­er­ful­ly about atten­tion’s role in defin­ing our lives, Schwartz acts as our sym­pa­thet­ic and qual­i­fied guide. Blend­ing mem­oir, biog­ra­phy, and orig­i­nal report­ing, Schwartz exam­ines her attempts to pre­serve her authen­tic life and see what’s most impor­tant in it. Atten­tion: A Love Sto­ry will res­onate with read­ers who want to deter­mine their own minds away from the siren call of their screens.

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