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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 book, 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

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  • Story

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Curdy
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • 11-18-17

Lots of interesting examples but somewhat shallow

I am happy to have listened to this book as an introduction to behavioral addictions. It is well researched and well packaged. However, it does not offer a compelling framework for discussing questions such as tech companies duties and the need and scope for regulation (if any is required).

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enslaved by addiction

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would highly recommend this book to a friend, a family member and to my kids for its wide reach into everyone's life.

What did you like best about this story?

The comprehensive look at addiction from all angles and the extensive examples, case studies and experiments cited.

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

Genuine commitment to what he is writing and the wish to share his thoughts first hand made me appreciate the book even more.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Imprisoned.

Any additional comments?

This book material should be made available in different formats to a wider audience who is not in a position to listen or read a full book. Articles, blog posts, twitter posts; any format that would help people realise what they are getting themselves into. Awareness is the first step to action.

1 of 1 people found this review 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.

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Rise of behavioural addictions

Eye opening summary of daily behavioural addictions, from where we are today to where we are going.

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Good storytelling; quick and interesting

If you could sum up Irresistible in three words, what would they be?

Thoughtful, interesting story

What other book might you compare Irresistible to and why?

I think I liked this book because it reminded me of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, which is about the systematic biases that humans have, and how those biases can make us behave in non self-interested (irrational) ways. Being behaviorally addicted to technology happens because companies understand our biases and exploit them. Alter shows this to be true by presenting evidence and through memorable historical anecdotes (such as Freud's addiction to cocaine).

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

Atler does a good job, and it's always nice when the author does it personally.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

I appreciate that Atler makes explicit that technology can be used for both good and evil, but he seems to present quite a bit of evidence for the evil side, and little for the good in this case. I would have loved to hear more stories of how irresistible technology can be use to help people.

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Very interesting to read

This book clearly state the case for the modern additions.
The examples are really easy to connect with. Some "solutions" are practical while others seemed less useful.
I would recommend this book to any parent that has an interest in their children development and is allowing their kids to play more than 2/3 hours of electronics per day.

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Will Make You Think About Habits They Don't Want You to Think About

This book works through many of the impulses guiding human behavior, and it looks closely at how tech companies use these tendencies to drive their bottom line and keep you hooked on all things Internet.

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An Excellent Read

Informative and engaging. Appreciated the research combined with explanation and related stories that illustrated the pros and cons of technology.