Published on September 10, 2020 by Steve West

BenBella Books, 2019 | 288 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

By Steve West


About the Authors

Nir Eyal taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and works as a writer, teacher, and consultant. He is a best-selling and widely published author.

Julie Li co-founded, where she continues to work and provide research and guidance for a global audience.



Indistractable guides the reader into knowledge and empowerment so that they gain control over the things that distract them away from their values, reduce their productivity, hinder relationships, diminish wellbeing, and keep them from being the people they want to be. The authors provide a conceptual model for how to achieve this, as well as numerous practical and concrete examples and guidelines to help the reader implement the recommended strategies.

There is a recognition that there are both internal and external causes and triggers for distraction, and that there are psychological realities that underlie the various ways we try to cope with discomfort. Far from being alarmist, Indistractable contains a positive message about the benefit of properly engaging with technology.


Table of Contents

Introduction: From Hooked to Indistractable
Part 1 Master Internal Triggers
Part 2 Make Time for Traction
Part 3 Hack Back External Triggers
Part 4 Prevent Distraction with Pacts
Part 5 How to Make Your Workplace Indistractable
Part 6 How to Raise Indistractable Children (And Why We All Need Psychological Nutrients)
Part 7 How to Have Indistractable Relationships




Introduction and Part 1

Companies know how to build products and create experiences that hook us. This can be a very positive thing, but the same properties that make something entertaining and interesting can create distraction, and this can lead people to losing control over their attention and time. We can either be controlled by others or learn how to be in control ourselves and be indistractable.

In the same way that we can love sweets but not control our food consumption, we can love tech and lose control of the way we use it. Parents often fail to pay attention to their children because they are distracted by their phones. It is possible to try to eliminate online tech, but other distractions can crowd in—reducing technology does not automatically create focus and attention. Many people want to quit being distracted so they can work, but they do not know how. Distraction really starts within, so we need to learn how to manage our psychology. We need to not only do the right things; we need to avoid doing the wrong things: the good news is that we can all learn how to do this.

The word “traction” comes from a Latin word meaning “to draw or pull.” Traction can pull us towards good things; distraction pulls us away from them. Traction is an action that moves us towards what we really want, whereas distraction moves us away from what we really want. Internal and external triggers move us in one of these two directions. We feel constantly pressured to reach out for things we really do not need (and certainly do not need now).

Our behaviour is driven by a fundamental desire to rid ourselves of discomfort. We often focus on proximate rather than root causes, and thus shift blame away from the real issue. Blaming the smartphone for distraction is not sufficient: distraction is about how we respond to things. Many people use distractions to escape from stress and reality. Distractions are often unhelpful coping mechanisms. We need to understand the source of our pain so we can manage it effectively. Since all motivation comes from a desire to relieve discomfort, the things we turn to in order to achieve this may become addictive and distracting.

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BenBella Books, 2019 | 288 pages

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