Summary of Captivology

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Keeping up with today’s volume of incoming headlines, tweets, texts, posts, alerts and updates requires a brief, hoppy attention span and constant multitasking – breathlessly doing several things at once. Possibly, you want to know only tiny bits about the new weight-loss fad, the best cities for nightlife or dogs that ride skateboards. The activities that support your real priorities – your personal life, work, school or civic activities – require more sustained, rigorous concentration. Ben Parr, an expert on attention, engages readers with his insightful digest of relevant research and his real-world examples of the “three stages of attention” and the “seven captivation triggers.” getAbstract recommends Parr’s balanced advice to managers, entrepreneurs, marketers, educators and anyone who seeks to capture someone else’s full focus. His presentation is packed with useful specifics and is a pleasure to read. All you have to do is pay attention.

About the Author

Tech journalist Ben Parr is a DominateFund venture-capital partner and a frequent public speaker. He contributes to CNET, Inc., The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.



Days of Distraction

Content keeps getting easier to create and access, propelling exponential increases in the daily volume of information that competes for your attention. A University of Southern California study estimates that every day in 1986, some 40 newspapers’ worth of information bombarded you. By 2006, that volume had increased to the equivalent of 174 newspapers daily. The effort people must make to separate the messages they want to consume from this high volume of noise has led to dwindling attention spans and to multitasking – a deeply counterproductive activity.

Research at UC Irvine shows that swapping among tasks exacerbates your susceptibility to distraction and diminishes your comprehension. It does not increase the amount of information you can digest. Capturing the attention of an equally distracted audience is an increasingly challenging effort. Those who gain your attention successfully usually draw your focus to their offerings, not to themselves.

The “Three Stages of Attention” Span

People exercise three levels of attention, going from a short moment to a sustained time span:

  1. “Ignition” – In a ...

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