The Rise of Addictive Technology and
the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

Book reviews

Written by: Ellen Young


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By: Adam Alter

A New Type of Addiction 

Nearly half of Americans are addicted to at least one behavior. If you, like me, love to keep your inbox clean, your home screen clean, and answer emails entirely too late, or too early, you are not alone. 

 Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Psychology and Marketing at New York University has spent a lot of his time and expertise figuring out the rise of behavioral addiction and why social media and other smart phone apps are just so darn addicting. A lot of this book feels like “nothing new,” but it’s quite hard to put down as you can’t help but see yourself in his assertations and conclusions.   

Admittedly, Alter speaks largely about psychological experiments, and he leaves the conclusion making to us, the reader. At times this may seem frustrating, but I found I rather liked being entrusted to reach my own conclusions.  

A Familiar Sight 

If you’ve ever looked around on a beautiful day in the park and noticed everyone staring at their hands, craning their neck to see anything but the birds and beauty around them, you’re not alone. 

For those of us interested in the reasons “why” behind our constant need to be entertained and practice escapism, this book is for you. I personally enjoyed chapter eight, “Cliffhangers.” It was here I learned about the mysteries behind my own psychology from my past life as a barista. “Oh, so that’s why I still remember that customers order five whole years later.”  

If I had to describe this book in one word, that word would be, “thorough.” •