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review 2018-06-07 19:21
Irresistible by Adam Alter
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked - Adam Alter

This is a pop psych book that has its problems but still has interesting information to offer in an accessible package. I would change the subtitle to “The Rise of Behavioral Addiction in the Digital Age,” which more accurately describes the book’s contents. It is not all about screens – the author discusses exercise addiction frequently – and it is in no way an exposé of the tech industry, as the actual subtitle might lead you to believe. Rather than focusing on how companies suck people into their products, the author is focused on the nature of behavioral addiction itself, how it affects people, and the aspects of technology that most readily create addiction.

The book starts off by discussing behavioral addiction generally, whether it’s an addiction to email, social media, gaming, gambling, or exercise. Like chemical addiction, this is often something that fills a hole in a person’s life, and that the person comes to depend on to feel good (if the addiction is the only thing that causes the person’s brain to produce dopamine anymore) but that ultimately is detrimental to his or her life. The author then moves on to discuss elements that can make technology addictive:

1) Goals: Technology creates goals for us that we might not have formulated on our own, like walking a certain number of steps per day. This is especially true of exercise addictions. One dangerous idea is the Running Streak Association, which celebrates people who have run every day for a period of time (as in years or decades): people who didn’t want to lose their streak have gone so far as to run while the eye of a hurricane was passing over, or while injured or even in the hospital for a C-section.
2) Feedback: Games tell you how you’re doing and how close you are to your goals; when you post on social media or message boards, you can track how many people liked your post.
3) Progress: The author talks about the illusion of near wins and the fear of losing, but it seems to me that the illusion of actually accomplishing something is an especially addictive aspect to games and some social media, particularly for people who feel like they’re just spinning their wheels at work or otherwise.
4) Escalation: This is especially true of games; the game gets harder and you get better at it.
5) Cliffhangers: Discussed in the context of Netflix binges; people don’t like unfinished stories and loose ends. In fact, a story sticks out far more in our memories if we don’t hear the end.
6) Social interaction: Keeps people on social media, and playing social games like World of Warcraft.

All good to be aware of, but the book’s message tends to get a little muddled. The author talks about “the addict in all of us” and how the average office email sits unread in the recipient’s inbox only 6 seconds, but then writes at length about a World of Warcraft addict who played 20 hours a day for 5 weeks straight before committing himself to a detox clinic. Detailing such extreme examples tends to make everyday overuse seem like not such a big deal, and repeatedly returning to the clinic and its methodology throughout the book isn’t especially useful for people whose technology dependence doesn't rise to the level of requiring a residential treatment program. 

Wearable fitness devices are criticized throughout the book for promoting addiction (an exercise addiction psychologist, who unsurprisingly sees the people who are damaged by them, is quoted as saying no one should use wearables ever). Then in the final pages the author acknowledges that a device meant to increase motivation to exercise is likely to be helpful for those who need motivation, though potentially dangerous to those who are already motivated. Given that according to his numbers that 61-67% of Americans, Brits, Germans, Australians and others are overweight, perhaps he shouldn’t have slammed the fitbits quite so hard.

But suddenly in the last chapter gamification is presented as a solution to everything, when the entire preceding book was about why game addiction is bad. Sure, FreeRice promotes learning and donates ad revenue to feed the hungry, but it’s still a virtual game that creates artificial goals and uses progress and escalation to keep people hooked. Suddenly that’s okay if it’s for a good cause? I thought the point was that we were supposed to try to disconnect and focus on more meaningful things? What is the point, exactly? There isn’t a cohesive thesis here so much as a variety of interviews, studies and observations around a general theme.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily make a bad book; it’s informative though lightweight and sometimes confused in its presentation. If nothing else, it will probably make you reflect on the role of technology in your life, which is a good thing to check in on every now and then.

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review 2018-04-09 00:00
Irresistible You (The Chicago Rebels Series Book 1)
Irresistible You (The Chicago Rebels Series Book 1) - Kate Meader Hmmm, let me be crisp on this review. There was really nothing to do about this book. It was well-written, the characters were all just enough, the book was just enough, I didn't get Remy for about 30% but once I did he was sweet, and the book could've easily wrapped at 63%. Seriously, at 63% we know that Remy wants to retire after the season, settle down and be a stay at home dad. Harper has ambitions and wants to continue to build the Chicago rebel hockey team. Maybe to prove she can, maybe cause she's in love with it. She needs a man to support that or no man at all. I feel like I needed to smack both their foreheads at this point and say "time to discuss the future you idiots." It's a case of a slightly over mediocre book, which I read at a slightly bad time. (See: whole post on book grouchy)

I have to be honest, I had some stuff going on today, was quite busy and when I sat down to read I had no earthly clue what CR I was reading initially. I actually thought I might be between books. It was about a second before the book opened I remembered. I just think that's probably not the best sign...

Oh, but maybe I'll review it. It was a boss-employee relationship but the woman is the boss, and the man is the pursuer, generally. Nothing about this tickled my fancy including the sweaty locker room scene with, in all likelihood, pads still on. Light references to puck bunnies.

I have a crush on the actual interesting character, Bren, in this book. I also find her sisters interesting.
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review 2018-04-04 00:00
Hothead (Irresistible Book 4)
Hothead (Irresistible Book 4) - Stella Rhys When a broken heart leads to a bad idea, Evie and Maddox find that faking it is the least of their problems. Hothead begins with an awkwardly volatile chance meeting that snowballs into the romance of the century. The problem. The lies get bigger, the heart falls deeper and what began as a means to end starts to become a realism that makes for extreme chaos. Ms. Rhys gives love a bad name that ends up feeling oh so right. Loved.
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review 2018-02-26 13:24
I want to have tea with Sophia and Lavinia.
Irresistible (The Horsemen Trilogy) - Mary Balogh

Sophia may be the main character and pivot for much of the heroism going on but Lavinia is a hoot and deserved a book of her own!

 

Sophia's husband died a hero at the battle of Waterloo and she was granted a house and servants by the crown. Only now she has to deal with a blackmailer who is leeching her dry, as well as the Four Horsemen, two of whom are married in previous books (that I haven't read but want to).  Sophia wants something more from life but fears what the blackmailer will do to others. She tries to strike a balannce but it's hard work.  Meanwhile she finds herself attracted to Sir Nathaniel Gascoigne, again, he's looking forward to marrying off his sister and ward and having batchelor freedom for a while, but Sophia is distracting him.

 

It's light and fluffy mostly but it deals with a complex problem of the time.

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review 2018-01-10 04:33
Something So Irresistible (Something So #3) by Natasha Madison
Something So Irresistible (Something So ... Something So Irresistible (Something So Series Book 3) - Natasha Madison

Natasha Madison’s scores a hat trick with the third book in the Something So series, SOMETHING SO IRRESISTIBLE.  I loved Max Horton’s and Allison Grant’s story.  Allison is the daughter of Parker Grant and Cooper Stone (book one), and the sister of Matthew Grant (book two).  Max is Mathew’s teammate and sort of nemesis.  The story takes place a few years after book two.  This contemporary hockey romance is suitable for adult audiences.

 

I appreciate when an author can sway your original opinion of a character.  I did not like Max in book two.  I adored him in book three. I enjoyed learning his back story.  He grew up a lot.  He regretted his past mistakes, especially where Mathew was concerned. 

 

We first met Allison when she was a little girl.  She is now twenty-three and working as the New York Stingers Public Relations Representative.

 

Initially, Alison and Max cannot stand each other, which is understandable due to Max and Mathew's history.  I love that they call a truce, becoming friends.  They have fabulous chemistry. They make each other better people.  

 

I enjoyed the dynamics between all the characters within the series.  I like that the story was told from both Allison’s and Max’s point of views.  The plot was interesting and carefully thought out.  The story was skillfully written and exciting from start to finish.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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