The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

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Penguin Canada, Mar 31, 2015 - Science - 320 pages
The key to personal choice, and even happiness, is to gain control of our attention—our mental lives.

Matthew Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, which challenged our notions about what we do and how it affects our sense of self (and our happiness). This new book addresses the crisis of attention: where we focus -- or cannot focus--equally affects our sense of self. As our mental lives become more fragmented, what is at stake often seems to be nothing less than the question of whether one can maintain a coherent self.  The key to a better life then is to get command not just of one’s physical environment, but of one’s mental life, too.

Like Shop Class as Soulcraft, Crawford uses case studies as well as entertaining musings from his own personal observations to describe the fundamental shift surrounding attention that is happening in our culture. From making a surfboard, to parenting, to anxiously navigating the inside of an airport—all provide clues to a phenomenon that we increasingly experience, but could not put into words, until now. An accessible and food for thought kind of look at what our difficulties with attention mean for us as free thinking people.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TanyaRead - LibraryThing

Some was really interesting (humans are "hard wired" to pay attention to color and motion), some was huh??? (parts of trying to tie it to history), and some was ouch! dreadful! (the bit on gambling ... Read full review

THE WORLD BEYOND YOUR HEAD: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

User Review  - Kirkus

A philosopher mounts a polemic against self-absorption, subjectivism and conformity. In this astute, acerbic cultural critique, political philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Crawford, senior fellow at ... Read full review

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About the author (2015)

Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago and served as a postdoctoral fellow on its Committee on Social Thought. Currently a fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia.

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