Attention: A Personal History of Finding Focus (or Trying To)

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Attention: A Personal History of Finding Focus (or Trying To)
"[A] memoir-cum-meditation on the idea of attention. . . . Schwartz is brilliant, funny and clear." --NPR

As technology embeds itself ever more deeply into our lives and distraction takes hold as our universal affliction, Casey Schwartz grapples with the essential questions of attention: what is it? How can we conserve it? And what else is lost when we give it away? With humor, candor, and captivating stories, Schwartz reflects on the decade she spent taking Adderall to help her focus (or so she thought) and embarks on a quest to pin down the precious and elusive resource of attention. This investigation takes us on an eye-opening journey through the work of thinkers such as Williams James, David Foster Wallace, Aldous Huxley, Simone Weil, and out into the world beyond.

From our craving for diversions to our craving for a cure, from Silicon Valley consultants and psychedelic researchers to trauma expert Dr. Gabor Maté, Attention explores the modern landscape of distraction and the possibility of finding focus despite it. Brilliantly combining memoir, biography, and original reporting, Schwartz documents the abundant demands on our attention with piercing insight and illuminates the path to reclaiming authentic life.

Publication Date: 
September 7, 2021