Your Happiness Was Hacked

Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain--and How to Fight Back

Vivek Wadhwa (Author) | Alex Salkever (Author)

Publication date: 06/26/2018

Your Happiness Was Hacked
Your Happiness Was Hacked Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain and How to Fight Back Do you feel in control of your life or enslaved by your devices? Have you risked your life texting and driving? Do you sympathize with a test group of students who endured painful shocks rather than be separated from their phones? Digital technology is wonderful, but it's making us miserable, say former tech executives Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever. There's a reason Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Guardian he won't let his nephew on social networks. We've become a nation of tech addicts although it's not entirely our fault, and it is possible to enjoy the benefits of technology while taking our happiness back from the bots. Wadhwa and Salkever describe the applied neuroscience techniques developers are using to make their products so insidiously habit-forming and, drawing on the latest research, detail the negative impact of technology in four key areas: love, work, play, and life. There are dozens of vivid examples. Online dating apps like Tinder encourage users to evaluate people like products, leading to superficial, unsatisfying relationships. Workers check their email an average of seventy-seven times a day, wreaking havoc on productivity. Children now spend nearly twice as much time playing inside with their screens as they do outside in the natural world it is any wonder childhood obesity is a problem? The light from the devices so many of us look at right before we go to sleep suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep and healthy organ functioning. But there's a way out. Wadhwa and Salkever lay out simple, common-sense ways to disrupt developers' efforts to get you hooked, including six simple questions to help you decide what role any given technology should play in your life. Ironically, they even describe some emerging technologies designed to give users more control. Get back to making technology serve you, not the other way around!

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Overview

Your Happiness Was Hacked Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain and How to Fight Back Do you feel in control of your life or enslaved by your devices? Have you risked your life texting and driving? Do you sympathize with a test group of students who endured painful shocks rather than be separated from their phones? Digital technology is wonderful, but it's making us miserable, say former tech executives Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever. There's a reason Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Guardian he won't let his nephew on social networks. We've become a nation of tech addicts although it's not entirely our fault, and it is possible to enjoy the benefits of technology while taking our happiness back from the bots. Wadhwa and Salkever describe the applied neuroscience techniques developers are using to make their products so insidiously habit-forming and, drawing on the latest research, detail the negative impact of technology in four key areas: love, work, play, and life. There are dozens of vivid examples. Online dating apps like Tinder encourage users to evaluate people like products, leading to superficial, unsatisfying relationships. Workers check their email an average of seventy-seven times a day, wreaking havoc on productivity. Children now spend nearly twice as much time playing inside with their screens as they do outside in the natural world it is any wonder childhood obesity is a problem? The light from the devices so many of us look at right before we go to sleep suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep and healthy organ functioning. But there's a way out. Wadhwa and Salkever lay out simple, common-sense ways to disrupt developers' efforts to get you hooked, including six simple questions to help you decide what role any given technology should play in your life. Ironically, they even describe some emerging technologies designed to give users more control. Get back to making technology serve you, not the other way around!

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Meet the Authors


Visit Author Page - Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa is a distinguished fellow and professor at Carnegie Mellon University s College of Engineering and a Director of Research at Duke University s Pratt School of Engineering. He is a globally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and the author of two other books, including The Immigrant Exodus, which was named by the Economist as a 2012 Book of the Year.



Visit Author Page - Alex Salkever

Alex Salkever is vice president of marketing communications at Mozilla. He was a technology editor of BusinessWeek, a regular science contributor to the Christian Science Monitor, and a contributor to The Immigrant Exodus.

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Endorsements

"This book hooks its readers more than even the addictive technologies it expertly critiques. Wadhwa and Salkever are not neo-Luddites hostile to technology but rather grand masters who knows its promise and problem. Like atomic bomb creator Robert Oppenheimer calling the scientific community of the 1950s to be accountable for society control over their creations, this book comprehensively documents the dangers of what were once breathlessly welcomed as technologies of freedom. Not a simplistic finger pointing scold or another dystopian rant but rather this timely book a roadmap for sensible constructive solutions for corporate titans, public officials, and the general public on how to regain control over our lives." - Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies, Lester Crown Professor of Leadership Practice, Yale School of Management "This book is a fascinating evidence-based read that highlights the negative effects of modern digital technology on our work and lives and suggests changes in the technology human interface to improve our well-being. Every chapter has an example or scientific fact that will resonate with you as it did with me, and ends with a path for controlling the technology rather than having technology control us. A must-read!" - Richard Freeman, Ascherman Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Director of Sloan Engineering and Workforce Project, National Bureau of Economic Research "I love the convenience and feel empowered by the freedom Tech provides. I cherish the proximity it brings to my family and friends. However, at times I find myself addicted to Tech. Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever provide valuable insights and recommendations on how to achieve the delicate balance that will lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. " -Sophie V. Vandebroek, COO IBM Research "This book should be called "How to Survive the Future." Wadha and Salkever provide practical, actionable thoughts that can help you survive - and thrive - tomorrow and beyond." -Sree Sreenivasan, former Chief Digital Officer of New York City, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University "Technology is a great servant but a terrible master. This is the most important book ever written about one of the most significant aspects of our lives the consequences of our addiction to online technology and how we can liberate ourselves and our children from it." -Dean Ornish, M.D. Founder & President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF, Author, The Spectrum

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