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Nir And Far: Business, Behaviour and the Brain
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Nir And Far: Business, Behaviour and the Brain

Author: Nir Eyal

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Nir And Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
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The evidence is overwhelming: we are far more powerful than the technology that is supposedly mind-controlling us. It’s not even close. As I’ve discussed in other articles, we need to give ourselves more credit. Instead of passively accepting the idea that we’re all being puppeteered by some sort of menacing tech bogeyman, we can hack back distractions. To be clear, too much social media can be harmful. No one disputes that too much of all sorts of good things can be bad, whether it’s too much news or too much booze. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Why Do People Believe the ‘Social Media is Mind Control’ Myth? https://www.nirandfar.com/social-media-and-mind-control/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Nir’s Note: this article is a collaboration between myself and Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Jon researches moral and political psychology and business ethics. He has delivered four TED Talks and written two best-selling books. Recent research in social science has parents concerned about whether deep immersion in digital technologies is bad for their children. A variety of studies find that rates of teen anxiety, depression, and self-harm have risen since 2012 in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, although the evidence that this rise was caused by smartphones and social media is hotly debated. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Children and Technology: 3 Things Parents Need To Know https://www.nirandfar.com/children-and-technology Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Nir’s Note: What do Bill Nye, break dancer Crazy Legs, cyber illusionist Marco Tempest, and economist Nouriel Roubini have in common? They’ve all been guests at a little-known “Influencers dinner” regularly hosted by behavioral scientist Jon Levy at his New York apartment. Jon is the author of You’re Invited: the Art and Science of Cultivating Influence, a New York Times bestseller about the value of creating meaningful connections and building trust with the people that can most influence your life. Jon’s dinner parties and his decade-old club of “Influencers” have been featured in Forbes and Business Insider. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: The Influencers Dinner: An Interview with Jon Levy https://www.nirandfar.com/influencers-dinner-jon-levy Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Try schedule-syncing instead. You’ve probably read this advice before: “The best thing you can do for your productivity is to say no more often.” By freeing yourself from unnecessary tasks, the thinking goes, you can spend more time working on the things that really matter. At first blush, this sounds smart. Many things people ask of you aren’t really necessary or can be accomplished more efficiently by someone else. But in practice, this advice often backfires. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: “Just Say No” Is Bad Productivity Advice https://www.nirandfar.com/productivity-and-saying-no/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
‘Dark patterns’ aren’t always malicious mind control. They’re often a symptom of disjointed company culture. Will the Times change?’ A recent New York Times op-ed, titled “Stopping the Manipulation Machines,” derided the use of dark patterns: design tricks that push people to do things online by confusing or deliberately inconveniencing them. Kudos to the writer, Greg Bensinger, a member of the Times’ editorial board, who does a laudable job calling out obnoxious dark patterns. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: The New York Times Uses the Very Dark Patterns it Derides https://www.nirandfar.com/cancel-new-york-times/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Social networks can help addicted users while leaving the rest of us alone. If they wanted to. About five years ago, I sat down in a series of meetings with leaders from Reddit, Snapchat, Facebook, and other social media networks. My goal was to discuss social media addiction and how companies might self-regulate to curb it. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on Can We Regulate Social Networks To Curb Addiction—Without Making Them Suck? https://www.nirandfar.com/social-media-regulation/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Nir’s Note: Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jackie Bavaro about her latest book, Cracking the PM Career—a complete guide to the skills, frameworks, and practices you need to become a great product manager. Jackie serves as the Head of Product Management at Asana and has held senior product manager jobs at Microsoft and Google, where she launched Google Place Search and Geo-IP Based Local Search. Based on her experiences hiring other product managers, she wrote her first best-selling book, Cracking the PM Interview, with co-author Gayle McDowell. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on So, You Want To Become a Great Product Manager? [Q&A with Jackie Bavaro] https://www.nirandfar.com/becoming-a-product-manager/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
A classic survivor test shows us how the illusion of control can sidetrack us from our mission when things get uncomfortable Let’s try something. Imagine you’ve just crash-landed somewhere in the Sonoran Desert, deep in the American Southwest. Though the aircraft is now a smoldering wreck, you miraculously survived, uninjured and now find yourself all alone as the sole survivor. Temperatures are topping 110 degrees, and you’re stranded. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on Why the Illusion of Control Is Hurting Your Goals https://www.nirandfar.com/illusion-of-control/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Can we create a future where people no longer have to work at jobs they hate? In 100 years, some things we consider normal today will make people say, “Wow, how barbaric—I can’t believe people did that! How were they okay with that?” Wage slavery, I hope, will be one of those things. You can read the NirAndFar blog post: Are You a Wage Slave? https://www.nirandfar.com/wage-slaves/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Here’s what the Covid-19 lockdowns have revealed about teen depression. What do bicycles and social media have in common? Soon after being adopted, each of these technologies brought on a tsunami of unjustified moral panic. Let’s start with bikes. When bicycles burst onto the Victorian scene in the 1800s, they were a big deal. This cool contraption made it possible to travel much further and faster than you could ever go on foot. Better yet, bikes were a lot cheaper than horses (not to mention simpler to maintain). You can read the NirAndFar blog post: Maybe Social Media Isn’t Making Teens Depressed, After All. And Here’s What Likely Is. https://www.nirandfar.com/social-media-and-teens/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
In my research and consulting work, I’ve heard countless people tell me how difficult it is to manage their time. Yet, when I ask them what they got distracted from, that is, what they planned to do with any given moment in time, they have trouble answering the question. What is a “distraction” anyway? The best way to understand what distraction is, is to know what it is not. What is the opposite of distraction? It’s not “focus.” You can read the NirAndFar blog post: What is the Opposite of “Distraction?” The Single Word that Will Change Your Life This Year https://www.nirandfar.com/opposite-of-distraction/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
To find your focus, learn to resist this self-sabotaging excuse. Imagine this: You’ve been diagnosed with a rare and serious disease. In hopes of keeping you alive, the doctor recommends a new, experimental course of treatment. It works for some people—maybe 60%. But it’s covered by your insurance, and if you are in the 60%, you’ll be successfully cured in six months. What do you do? Of course, you say yes. Maybe you’ll get unlucky and it won’t work for you, but it’s worth a try. You’d probably try the treatment even with only a 10% success rate. The reality is that even the best drugs don’t work for everyone, and yet we still take them. But when it comes to finding our focus, so many of us are unwilling to apply the same logic. You can read the NirAndFar blog post: Don’t Fall for This Excuse Trap: Why “That Won’t Work for Me” is Self-Sabotaging https://www.nirandfar.com/mental-blocks-to-productivity-techniques/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around Clubhouse, the drop-in audio chat app. It’s a bit like Twitch for conference calls. If you have no idea what “Twitch” is, you’re probably over 40. In your case, the closest analog might be those 1–900 party lines you saw advertised on late-night TV in the 1990s—but a bit less sleazy and in app form. The Clubhouse app is the new new thing, and it’s got many people hooked. The app is the latest example of a habit-forming product taking the world by storm. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Will Clubhouse be a Habit or Has-Been? https://www.nirandfar.com/hooked-on-clubhouse-app/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
In 2017, I decided I’d had enough of my smartphone and the companies that make the apps that were robbing me of my time and attention. I thought I found the perfect solution: the card phone. The card phone is what it sounds like: It’s a $18 tiny phone with no social media, no internet browser, and no email. In fact, the card phone has no apps whatsoever. It has only the ability to make phone calls and send text messages. (It even has an FM tuner too. Take that, iPhone!). At first, it was edgy and interesting to be the one friend with the “weird phone.” But the edginess wore off, and I began to miss my smartphone. I missed the convenience of navigating with GPS. I missed listening to audio books and reading articles I’d saved in Pocket. And I admit: I sort of missed the connectedness to friends I felt from using social media. I liked being “liked.” You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Smartphone Too Distracting? Here's How to Reclaim Your Focus https://www.nirandfar.com/hack-back-phone-distractions/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
By promoting the idea that technology is hijacking our brains and getting all of us addicted to our devices, techno-fearmongers elevate the exception rather than the rule. Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, introduced the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, which—beyond its forced acronym—was remarkable for how aggressively it would regulate the design of certain tech products. Among other provisions, the law would ban auto-play videos on sites such as YouTube. It would require sites such as Twitter to deploy a mechanism that “automatically limits the amount of time that a user may spend to 30 minutes a day.” It prohibits sites such as Pinterest from automatically revealing content when the user scrolls to the bottom of the page, instead “requiring the user to specifically request … that additional content be loaded and displayed.” The SMART Act would do all this, according to its preamble, to protect unsuspecting people from FOMO, doom scrolling, and other “practices that exploit human psychology or brain physiology to substantially impede freedom of choice.” You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: “Tech Addiction” Is the New Reefer Madness https://www.nirandfar.com/hack-back-phone-distractions/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Babies. They’re such jerks, aren’t they? They wake you up in the middle of the night. They make huge messes for you to clean up. And let’s not forget to mention the inevitable diaper blowouts that happen at all the wrong times. Who do they think they are? Of course, this is a pretty awful way to think of infants. We were all babies at one point, and if other people hadn’t given us some grace, we wouldn’t have made it to our first birthdays. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Love is Measured By the Benefit of the Doubt https://www.nirandfar.com/secret-to-kindness/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
There are various ways of classifying lies: by their consequences, by the importance of their subject matters, by the speakers’ motives, and by the nature or context of the utterance. Perhaps the most useful way to classify lies is by to the people who tell them. Understanding lies and liars can help us avoid getting duped as well as protect us from drifting into dishonesty ourselves. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: The Ultimate Guide to Liars and Lying: Everyone Falls Into These 4 Types https://www.nirandfar.com/types-of-liars/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Nir’s Note: This guest post was written by Cheryl Maguire The laundry hamper was overflowing with dirty clothes. Lacking the motivation to throw it into the wash, I pushed the clothes down deeper into the bin so I could fit more clothes. This occurs almost every other day. When you are married and the mother of three kids, the laundry is a never-ending task especially since we are all active in sports or working out that often require multiple clothing changes in one day. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: How to Finally Find the Motivation You’ve Been Missing https://www.nirandfar.com/how-to-find-motivation/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
I once worked with a person we’ll call “Dick.” Dick always told me he’d get things back to me “today or tomorrow,” but he seldom did. Dick didn’t have to tell me he’d get things to me that soon. He could have said, “next week” or “as soon as I can,” and I would have been fine with that. Instead, Dick had a habit of promising to deliver by a certain date, but he wouldn’t follow through. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Hypocrites: How to Survive in a World that’s Full of Them https://www.nirandfar.com/hypocrite/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
Over the past few weeks, people have asked me for my review of the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma. It’s no surprise. One of the film’s central themes is that social media is like an addictive drug, and I wrote the book on habit-forming technologies: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. I also have a personal connection to the film. In August of 2018, I sat with the filmmakers for a three-hour interview. We discussed everything from the subject matter of Hooked and my second book, Indistractable, to the ethics of social-media use and how we can learn to live with the digital tools that pervade our lives. I was glad to share my perspective; it was a rich and engaging discussion. You can read the NirAndFar blog post on: Here’s My Review of The Social Dilemma: No, Social Media Is Not “Hijacking” Your Brain https://www.nirandfar.com/social-dilemma-review/ Nir & Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal. If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave an iTunes review. It will greatly help new listeners discover the show. Please visit my website Nir and Far for other info about my writing, books and teaching: http://www.nirandfar.com/ --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nirandfar/support
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Comments (2)

mustapha belyamani

thanks Nir!!!

Jan 30th
Reply

Dee

The particularly devilish scrolls...😄😄 ,indeed.

Aug 6th
Reply
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