Lack of Focus Or Why We Don't Read Book Anymore

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Getting Lost in a Book
  • Lack of Time
  • Quick Information
  • Deep Reading
  • ADD
  • Conclusion


The Internet may have changed how we do many things in life. When internet wasn’t in existence people did other things to occupy their time; whether it be by reading, going outdoors, or working. Now that technology is at the forefront of our lives even being some of our jobs, it has taken up so much of our time that when it actually comes to focusing we can no longer do that anymore. When it comes to reading how long does our focus last? How many books are sitting on a pile somewhere waiting to be read? How many times during a research paper did you skim the article rather than reading the whole thing? How many times have you been reading something and your focus has gone elsewhere because your phone binged with a notification and you needed to check your messages or check what’s happening in the world or other people’s lives? The internet has made us lose focus and we have less focus when it comes to reading? What if one day our phones were taken away from us? Would you be able to wake up for work or school on time? Would you know when to do this or that since we have apps that tells us when to do things?

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Getting Lost in a Book

Whatever happened to the simple task of deep reading where you would get lost in a book for hours not realizing your surroundings and being entranced by the words a book can hold not even noticing the sun has set. Hinto writes about the reading experience: “As readers we take the words of the author and together with our imaginations, our knowledge, our emotions, and our experiences we build mental pictures in our brains. We empathise with the characters in the book; we follow the arguments of the author. We may laugh out loud; we may cry; our blood pressure may rise; our hearts beat faster. When we are ‘deep reading’ we travel wherever the author takes us…if it is a good book, we may still find ourselves thinking about the book and making new connections with the ideas we have read. In the words of Peter Hitchens these are the books that ‘ will beguile you and leave you better than you were before’.

What Hinto speaks of, is that reading should entrance us to a point where we envelope ourselves into the text. Imagining ourselves following along with the main characters adventures of the story or even feeling like a witness in the story. That we take what we read and probably thinks of it for days after the last line is read and contemplate how so much passion can be put into words or how it can end in such a way. Wondering what to do do with ourselves once the adventure is over and anxiously waiting over a year for the next book in the series or even wanting to read another book that can make us feel so much emotion.

Lack of Time

Now other things take up our time and we no longer have the time to feel the heart-wrenching emotions a book has to give. Jobs take up our time even spilling into our personal lives after we have clocked out for the day because there’s always something to be done that can’t be done in a simple work day and the day ends in exhausted slumber only to have to press rewind and redo the whole thing all over again not having a moment in the day to do simple errands. Even when there is open moment in our lives we spend it checking social media because we need to know all big social media outrages even though it has nothing to do with us but we feel the need to involve ourselves in the ever buzzing and changing social lives of the people we choose to follow.

Quick Information

Could we take back our minds from the ever growing culture that technology has to be in every crevice of our lives? In article written by Tolson he mentions philosopher Marshall McLuhan and how he writes how we take in media in how almost how it was created, in a quick moving fashion taking our need and ability for deep thought and concentration. (Tolsen, Minding our Minds, 2014). With Google being a bank for our brains, gives us access to quick information at the click of a button at the speed of less than a second, leaving us to skim through things for answers at the moment but never remember it later because we just look it up again.

In a way McLuhan is right, how many times do we check our phones and how long do we spend on our phones, probably more than is appropriate. When the last bit of battery in our phone dies we sit not knowing to do with ourselves since we spend the majority of our day on our phones. When other important things need to be done like homework. The internet holds our every bit of attention keeping us from doing basic things in life. For those of us who don’t want to let technology keep us from doing something simple as reading we use the convenience of Ebooks instead of lugging around heavy books when the day doesn’t call for heavy baggage. In regarding whether reading ebooks and physical books make a difference.

Deep Reading

In Goldstein’s article an author named Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist, writes in her book “Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain” that even through our brains do change and that reading isn’t ingrained in our brains but that we have to learn it and it isn’t an issue that we can adapt to reading differently. Since were older some of us no longer read not wanting to envelop ourselves in adventure, thinking of it as a childish act. In a way it isn’t the younger generation fault their not required to read in school as they get older because more pressing classes are more important and there’s no time in a short class period to read; and when they grow up their no longer to read anymore outside of their college courses. Only needing to actually read when a certain assignment call for it but as soon as the need for it is over they move onto the next thing.

In Hinton’s article she mentions that “Deep reading brings us many benefits. A study investigating the role of fiction and empathy found that empathy was influenced but only when people were emotionally transported. Deep reading gives us knowledge; connection; relaxation; and therapy. Being immersed in a book is an enjoyable experience. If you ask a reader ‘What was better, the film or the book?’ The answer will invariably be, the book. Why is this? The answer has to be the time spent ‘deep reading’ with imagination; the film always misses things out. James Cameron the film director and producer (Titanic and Avatar) said, ‘Imagination is a force that can actually manifest a reality’.” Why wouldn’t it? Either books hold everything you could ever imagine whether it comes to creating the story yourself or reading it when someone else wrote it. Reading gives us the ability to escape from reality for a little while, but our minds ability to move on to the next things when it comes to reading anything overflows into our lives.


America is the most medicated country in the world and ADD is one of those leading illnesses. Tolsen states that, “The perception that ADD is the affliction of our times, whether as a neurological condition or a cultural metaphor, has been reinforced by the cascading development and diffusion of our electronic and particularly digital technology. At work or play, in school or at home, in the privacy of our bedrooms or while riding the bus or driving our cars, we are constantly sending and receiving messages, texts, images, bits of this and bits of that, transfixed by the screens and gadgets that deliver them in an endless 24/7 stream of information”. Their not wrong since simple things can take our minds away and distract us. ADD is escalating every year and it starts youngs, distracting our minds so easily. Carr write in his article about the experiences of some of his colleagues who can no longer focus on things either. “I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances — literary types, most of them — many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”


In Conclusion, technology has become a leading issue in our lives and instead of learning to evolve with it so it’s not our only source of entertainment. We’ve allowed to become our only way of doing anything. We let it do everything for us and no longer have any responsibility for ourselves. Not even continueing our childhood past times sucn s reading. If we continue the way we are with letting technology be first Google soon will actually be making us stupid.

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