AG Book Club :: A Deadly Wandering
Hello friends! I’ve had some things in my life that have forced the blog to the back burner these past few weeks, but I’m so excited to be posting again. For starters, I want to talk about last month’s book for the AG Book Club!
We read A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel, a work of nonfiction on the science of attention and the impact of technology on our brains. Richtel weaves cutting edge science with a chilling narrative of a young man who, while texting and driving, has an accident that kills two rocket scientists. There’s no denying that this issue is incredibly relevant to our lives and one of the reasons I picked out this book was to hopefully find some answers to some big questions I have about technology.
I love technology—I love the way I can FaceTime with my sister in South Sudan, the way I can read any book with the click of a button, the connection I feel with people all over the world. However, I have a compulsion bordering on addiction to my iPhone and there have been a couple of moments when I felt certain I was out of balance. A Deadly Wandering was incredibly helpful to me, both because it helped me understand my own brain and how I respond to technology, but also because it gave a couple of very insightful and helpful tips for creating a good relationship with social media, smart phones, and television.
I had an interesting conversation with my twelve-year-old cousin one day. She was commenting on the fact that, as someone without a phone of her own, she sees so many people (parents, friends, strangers on the street) absorbed to the point of inattention on their phones. She wants a phone of her own, but she also feels worried that she’ll lose herself in the world of technology. During a conversation with her father, he advised her to become the “master” of technology. Basically, if she were to get a phone, she should use her phone, and not let the phone use her.
This seems to be the key to a healthy relationship with technology, whether it’s the internet, social media, or devises. Make sure that the technology is serving you and bettering your life, and that you’re not out of control or at the mercy of every beep, ring and like that summons your attention.
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this book and your thoughts on technology as a whole. How can we use technology and not be used by it? How do we handle the compulsion to check our phone, even when we’re driving or having a conversation? Any tips on finding a happy balance?
(Top photo by photographer Eric Pickersgill)