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  • Writer's pictureLiz W.

Review for "Indistractable" by Nir Eyal

Intro to the Review

We have all had that experience of enthusiastically starting a new book only to realize partway through that it's not what we were expecting. The purpose of the following review is not to judge whether the book is "good" or "bad." The goal is to help you decide whether or not it is a good book for you.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Does it seem like the content covered in this book aligns with what I was expecting to find?

  • Is the main problem addressed in this book similar to my own goal of what I would like to learn from it?

  • Is the style and format written in a way that will not hinder my ability to get the most value from this book?

  • Am I the intended audience for this book?

If after reading the review you can answer yes to all these questions, this book is the right fit for you. If not, well, there are plenty more books out there just waiting for you to read them.


How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Nir Eyal

288 pages Ⓒ 2019 BenBella Books

“Most people don’t want to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that distraction is always an unhealthy escape from reality.”

Author Background

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Nir was dubbed by The M.I.T. Technology Review as “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” He is also the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (affiliate link).

His website can be found here. The official tools and resources for this book can be found here. You can follow him on Twitter at @NirEyal

What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?

Technology has created products that are easy to engage with and psychologically rewarding. Because of this, it is all too easy to become distracted by them. Those distractions can start to run our lives. The goal of this book is to teach you to become “indistractable,” or someone who is able to take control over the distractions in their life. Divided into several parts, the book covers topics including what causes distraction, strategies for minimizing the power of distractions, how to deal with distractions at work, and how to teach children to become indistractable, too.


· Concept explanation: Very clear

· Related stories: Many

· Data references and studies: Many

· Charts and graphics: Some

· Practical application: Strong

This is a comprehensive guide for the best strategies for overcoming distractions. It addresses the psychological science behind distractions and puts emphasis on treating the root cause of distractions rather than the symptoms. The 4 steps for building a foundation to overcome any type of distraction are discussed in Part 1 through 4. The last three parts are situation specific and teach the reader how to create an indistractable workplace, indistractable kids, and indistractable relationships. The book is very thorough and will be able to help almost anyone no matter what kind of distraction they are facing.

The stories, theory and applications all intertwine nicely to create easy-to-understand concepts. Every once in a while, I would notice that a concept would be explained implicitly through a story and only explicitly be stated at the end of the chapter in the key points section. So, some extrapolation is necessary. What he is using as an example, he means to be a framework to be applied across different scenarios. The practical application is incredibly self-evident and will be easy for any reader to apply to their own life.

The only drawback I can see is that he chose to add specific app and software recommendations. This means that depending on the evolution of technology, reading the book may feel very outdated after some time. I am willing to bet this was a risk the author consciously took. The specific resources he references will equip the reader with tools they can implement to immediately improve their ability to be indistractable.

Writing Style & Presentation

· Tone: Conversational

· Organization: Good

· Flow: Good

The storytelling aspect of this book adds to the conversational tone it takes on. There is quite a bit of science and data presented but being intermingled with narrative, it avoids a textbook or manual type of feel. The author made a unique decision to provide many parts and many chapters rather than dividing each chapter into multiple subsections. This decision worked really well with the content and writing style. It adds a lot to the flow and overall presentation of the material. The transition between chapters is well done and the author does a good job of giving you the sense of what is to come as well as recapping main points with the “Key Takeaways” at the end of each chapter. There is a Chapter Takeaways section at the end of the book that has just one key point from each chapter, giving the reader a nice overview of what each chapter is about.

Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well: The thoroughness of the content is what really stands out. Almost anyone will be able to find it something helpful in it to them.

One thing that could be better: A possible option for addressing the use of specific software and apps suggestions would be to provide a link to users with these resources while leaving them out of the text itself to avoid the risk of quickly having an out-of-date book. The foundations in this book are timeless and to see it get shelved because it starts to feel outdated would be disappointing, but potentially unavoidable in a book with a lot of focus on technology.

One main thing I took away from this book was: We are not distracted because of technology. Technology is our distraction medium of choice when we are feeling discomfort.

Overall Recommendation

Who I would recommend this book for: People who are frustrated that distractions are impacting their work performance and relationships.

Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: People who don't get distracted? Do those people even exist? I can’t think of anyone, which is one reason this book is a 5/5 for me.


Enhance Your Reading by Using a Workbook

If you have decided this book is a good fit for you, I have created a workbook to help you get the most value from reading it. Here is a small sample of the material contained in the workbook.

Your workbook includes:

  • Pre-reading questions

  • Chapter discussion questions with space for writing answers

  • Space to write your own summary for each chapter

  • Vocabulary words with space to write definitions and add words

  • Key terms with space to write definitions and add words

  • Chapter reflection questions

  • Final reflection questions

  • A condensed list of all discussion questions and vocabulary for reference

  • Reflection pages for writing thoughts and ideas

Discussion Question Preview

Below you will find a small sample of the discussion questions. In the workbook, questions are provided for every chapter of this book.

Key Terms Preview

  • Distraction

  • Effort Pact

  • Ego depletion

Vocabulary List Preview

Aphorism: (n.) A terse formulation of a truth or sentiment

Clandestine: (adj.) Done in a private place or way : done secretly

Disseminate: (v.) To cause something to go to many people

... download the workbook to see the full lists!

Where to Find the Workbook

All available workbooks can be found on Amazon in hardcopy and ebook formats. They are free to access for Kindle Unlimited members.

You can find this particular workbook by clicking here.

Your Feedback is Appreciated!

Are you a student? A teacher? A manager? A parent? Why did you decide to use a workbook and did it help you get more from the book you were reading? Please share your experience so I can continue to make these workbooks a valuable resource to you and others.

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