• Irresistible

  • The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
  • By: Adam Alter
  • Narrated by: Adam Alter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (2,325 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction - an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.

In this revolutionary audiobook, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good - to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play - and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children.

©2017 Adam Alter (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

Irresistible is a fascinating and much needed exploration of one of the most troubling phenomena of modern times.” (Malcolm Gladwell, author of New York Times best-sellers David and Goliath and Outliers)

“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I’ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.” (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take)

“If you can't stop checking, clicking, surfing and liking, put your device down and read Adam Alter's Irresistible, an important, groundbreaking book about why we're addicted to technology, how we got here, and what we should do next.” (Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution and Thrive)

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What listeners say about Irresistible

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Not scientifically sound

I'm an addiction researcher. I thought I'd listen to this to learn more tech companies' efforts to keep people using their products. There's a little bit of that in the book but nothing that's not already fairly evident and well known. The bigger problem is the imprecise discussing of many concepts in addiction. There's a lot in this book that is poorly explained and misleading. A lay reader wouldn't know they're getting a very cartoonish picture of addiction. For a nuanced, critical and accessible book on addiction, see Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz. This book was a disappointment.

19 people found this helpful

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Disturbing

The author does an incredible job piecing together anecdotal evidence, clinical presentations and research to provide a convincingly disturbing analysis of the dangers parents (I am a father of 6) unwittingly expose their children to. A MUST READ for every parent of children under the age of 21! For that matter it is also a cautionary tale for adults since smart phones are ubiquitous in western society and most adults polled say that they "can't live without" one.

12 people found this helpful

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Untested Speculative Solutions

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I really enjoyed the description of the problem. There was so much science introduced to outline the problem of addiction. The book takes a big turn for the fantasy when Alter suggests he knows how to conquer addiction and he presents idea's that lack any proof at all. AT ALL! That's the thing that was so disappointing. There are a couple anecdotes, but the treatment facilities that he highlights provide absolutely no evidence that their approach succeeds. He conflates bad habits and addictions. After misrepresenting the program of Alcohol Alcoholics, He dismisses AA, the only treatment program with actual success in treating addiction. He never once even mentions the 12 step program that works for tens of thousands suffering different forms of behavior addiction, and a program most treatment centers use for the current success experienced. He states,"surround yourself with temptation, and you'll be tempted. Remove temptation and you won't be tempted." That seems to sum up his prescription for overcoming internet addiction, after acknowledging that none of us can live in the modern world without technology.

What other book might you compare Irresistible to and why?

Alter uses some of the work presented in the Power of Habit, but in a lot less effective way. Sort of butchers the original theses to fit into his scattered program for recovery.

What does Adam Alter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Understanding brain chemistry as it relates to gaming was fascinating.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

I really wish Alter would have read the Power of Habit more thoroughly, because had he, he might have been able to present a more intelligent description of the 12 step program. I'm returning this book because in the last section of this book the prescription he he presents is almost malpractice. (if he were actually a doctor or counselor trained to dish out advice.) I feel sorry for those suffering from an addiction that might think this book provides a credible solution. After most inevitably fail, they will be left feeling more hopeless. Such a disappointing end to what started as such an interesting discussion.

11 people found this helpful

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Good start with no direction

the idea is good but ultimately the author doesn't really make an argument. and if his original plan is to state how media is addiction he doesn't really stick to it.

5 people found this helpful

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Anyone with kids

Anyone with kids today should read this book. Analyze yourself your kids and your future.

5 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 12-01-18

Thought-provoking

Very interesting book that illuminates the dark side of technology. As I listened, I thought about how I use technology and some ways I should change my approach. Although I initially borrowed this audiobook from Scribd, I've since purchased it so I can listen again. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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A Must Listen

To those who know the addictive power of screens, listen here and learn exactly why they are that way. Adam Alter uses a vast amount of examples and puts in brilliant words why we succumb to these addictive behaviors and how we can better use them. Great content.

3 people found this helpful

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A topic reduced to unsubstantiated conclusions.

I love the topic of this book's subtitle and have consumed a countless number of hours on the subject. However, this book falls short in its finger pointing, generalizations, and lack of sufficient research. Often the thoughts in this book are so opinionated that the ideas being expressed on utterly without merit. I wouldn't even recommend this book to someone as an introduction to the topic of addictive technology. Save yourself some time and watch one hour worth of content from Jaron Lanier on YouTube and you will walk away with far more knowledge along with a better factual assessment of this phenomenon. If you wish to learn more about solutions that can be immediately be acted on I would suggest studying Cal Newport's school of thought on this topic.

3 people found this helpful

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Lives up to all the praise from podcast hosts

Adam Schafer her from mindpump media podcast has been raving about this book for months. I am so happy I took his advice and purchased the book. It completely lives up to all the shining accolades Adam gave it.

3 people found this helpful

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great book

very informative, ans has given me a different plan for my children and myself. will rec come

2 people found this helpful