Town Square

Post a New Topic

Distraction subtraction

Original post made on Aug 22, 2013

What does your smartphone have in common with a 4-year-old child? "When they want your attention, they want it right now. They don't distinguish between what's really important and what can wait," author (and smartphone-owner) Alex Soojung-Kim Pang observes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 22, 2013, 9:44 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm

How sad that this book had to be written, & that someone as thoughtfully intelligent as Mr. Pang was so affected by the distraction of his devices. I suspect that many, many people will find it useful, however, so maybe it'll be a bestseller!


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Aug 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I'd like to see Mark Zuckerberg, the Google brothers, Apple and Microsoft executives be made to gather in one room after having read this book and discuss it with Mr. Pang and take questions from an audience of bright people without high-technology bona fides.

And they should have to return for similar sessions on a regular basis.

They should have to confront and answer the unintended consequences and the dysfunction and the raw heedlessness of their enterprises.

As to the claim of heedlessness, I spent 20 years working high tech in Silicon Valley. The entire thing was profoundly dispiriting from beginning to end. Drones. Everywhere you looked were drones, whether they were wearing pocket protectors or expensive suits. Basically the wrong people wrested control of the culture at large and drove it into a ditch.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Once again, I agree w/you, Joe. They've never been held accountable for the intangible downside of what they've created, but they're always eager to accept the ongoing accolades. I love that Marky Mark lives behind gates & has security, yet violates FB user privacy ongoingly. The nods of approval that they all receive for their ruthless, sociopathic business behavior no longer shocks me. Of course, they've paid the price w/their lack of creativity, but it's doubtful that they even notice, or care - creativity isn't their value.


Posted by pro choice, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

Yes, the Zuckerbergs and other self-satisfied bulls in the techworld china shop are responsible for providing the distractions that are turning us into zombies. But we are the only ones who can say "enough!" We are the only ones who can choose to live a life of fewer distractions and more satisfaction. Sounds like this book might provide some valuable ideas about how to do that.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Pro choice - you're right. It's really not that hard to just say No early on to prevent bad habits. The Marky Marks of the world are a separate subject.

Recently, I was in a really lovely Menlo neighborhood & saw not one, but several people stumble while their faces were glued to their devices while out walking. It was such gorgeous weather - maybe they were able to read & enjoy the weather at the same time - but it was clear that they couldn't safely walk & read at the same time!


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Palo Alto quietly gets new evening food truck market
By Elena Kadvany | 3 comments | 3,021 views

On Tour - The Highly Selective Liberal Arts Colleges: Occidental, Pitzer, and Scripps
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,820 views

See Me. Hear Me. Donít Fix Me.
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,567 views

As They Head Back To School, Arm Them With This
By Erin Glanville | 5 comments | 783 views

Anglo Menlo Park
By Paul Bendix | 0 comments | 242 views