Length: 368 pages
Audiobook Length: 8 hours and 17 minutes
First Published: 2017
A professor of psychology and marketing, Adam Alter describes the rise of behavioral addiction in America – such as the unhealthy attachment to smartphones and social media, the out-of-control gaming, the desperate need to check email – and discusses the troubling problems such addictions foreshadow. Although only a few years old, Irresistible already felt outdated to me, probably because social media is evolving so rapidly. In all, Alter’s research made for an interesting read but didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know.
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.
Quotes from Irresistible
To some extent we all need losses and difficulties and challenges, because without them the thrill of success weakens gradually with each new victory.
Addictive tech is part of the mainstream in a way that addictive substances never will be.
Most people spend between one and four hours on their phones each day—and many far longer.
There isn’t a bright line between addicts and the rest of us. We’re all one product or experience away from developing our own addictions.