Book review: “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction”

The epidemic of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) remains on the rise in the U.S. among adults as well as children and adolescents. Everyone at least seems to have undivided attention-deficit disorder. In today’s society, distractions are everywhere, and multitasking is honored. There are many theories on what causes attention problems, including the air, water, food, technology, and modern families. Perhaps the cause is all of the above or some combination thereof. 

In any case, quick-fix tips and tricks proliferate with practical advice. But contemplating the issue in the context of a worldview can also put the matter into perspective and lead to one’s own path for success. One of the best tools for success is the ability to stay focused. Having a solid sense of identity, goals, and values helps formulate focus, and keeping these in mind while staying in the moment helps turn dreams into realities. 

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction 

In his most recent book, “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction,” Matthew B. Crawford explores the many people, places, and things that shape modern culture and ethics, and ultimately shape individuals. Though philosophical in nature, his book provides thought-provoking insights into how to sort out whom and what one encounters in contemporary life. From there, he offers ways to discover individualism and purpose. 

The author alludes to how modern technology and interpersonal communication have changed dramatically from their natural form. These changes can give one the sense that the world is merely part of a pre-existing system to which one must adapt. A typical response to this system would be to retreat and isolate. Crawford uses the examples of various occupations to illustrate how isolating one’s self allows ongoing focus and concentration on individual skills and crafts “… to help us see what it would look like to inhabit ecology of attention that puts one squarely in the world,” he writes. 

Crawford’s book combines many existing philosophies, sciences, and theories to address the growing problem of inattention and distraction. He cites many different examples and detailed descriptions of various occupations to highlight the importance of working on one’s own psyche. Though tangential and cumbersome at times, he conveys how being mentally present is the only way to be fully human. The reader is left with the incentive to achieve and is presented with some practical ways to go about doing so. 

Crawford is a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He is also the author of the bestselling book, “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry iInto the Value of Work,” which has prompted a wide rethinking of education and labor policies in the U.Sand Europe. 

Recovering from mental illnesses 

Untreated mental disorders can have a lifelong impact on an individual, limiting their capacity to realize their full potential in social, personal, and professional life. Nevertheless, trained and experienced mental health care providers can help a person regain control of their life in a positive manner. 

If you or a loved one is battling a mental health disorder and is looking for a licensed mental health treatment center, get in touch with Medical Concierge. Call our 24/7 helpline 877636-0042 and speak to a member of our admissions team. With the help of just a few questions, they can assess your condition and assist your admission to our state-of-the-art partner inpatient mental health treatment centers. You can also chat online to a representative for more information on residential mental health facilities and the services offered. 

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