Do people have the attention span to read BOOKS anymore?

Being an avid reader, I was surprised myself that I have found it more difficult to get going when I pick up a book (either new or one I am currently reading).  In the absence of some accountability, I will read for 18 seconds, stop and pet the dog for two minutes, go over to the piano and play for 92 seconds, stop and go check my email, come back and read for three minutes, etc in this endless loop of doing a million things but doing none of them for long or very well.

The solution for me (which has worked incredibly well for being so simple) is that I will use the timer on my phone, set it for ten minutes and make myself do whatever I am doing until that timer goes off.  Oddly enough if I choose to read (or anything else, really), once the timer goes off, I am engrossed enough in the activity that I want to continue.  It’s like I need to get over some attention span hump and then all is well.

I have wondered about this for a while, and recently saw this article in The Atlantic that questions whether the small snippets of information constantly streaming through the internet have affected our attention span.

It’s amazing how much better I feel to have somewhat of a diagnosis and know that I am not alone 🙂

My name is Wayne, and I am an information-aholic.

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One thought on “Do people have the attention span to read BOOKS anymore?

  1. Kelli Thursday October 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm Reply

    Wayne,
    This is freakishly true for me; I think that is part of the reason why I feel so alive when I’m in Africa. I am able to focus because there aren’t any techie distractions.
    You put it well. Thanks!

    ~Kelli

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