I couldn’t begin to guess how many times I’ve recommended Daniel Levitin’s The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload and how many times people in audiences have nodded while I’m doing so. Full of mind-boggling facts and figures and thought-provoking points, it will give you a proper understanding of the problems we face as we try to swim through the deluge of information that swamps us every day – or at least those of us who engage in the digital world, through necessity or pleasure or both.
Although it’s offered as a how-to book, as well, I don’t think this is its main value. Its importance is in creating evidence-based awareness of what’s going on.
The “how-to” comes best from reading Walter Mischel’s The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-control and How To Master It. I love this book! Just reading about the well-known research on young children and how they do or don’t defer gratification (one marshmallow now or two later?) is interesting but what is far more useful is what strategies we can learn from the successful children. Those strategies have now been widely investigated and are well worth trying for yourself as you try to rein in your smartphone use, for example.
Finally, if you don’t fully appreciate why your smartphone is so irresistible, read Adam Alter’s excellent Irresistible: Why you are addicted to technology and how to set yourself free. And read it before you start judging “young people today”…
In my view, these three books give you a really good understanding of what’s going on (for us and our teenagers – this is really not age-dependent) when we (over)-use our smarpthone and other screens, and how to create good, healthy, controlled habits