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Stolen Focus, with Johann Hari and V (formerly Eve Ensler)

The average teenager can only focus on a task for sixty-five seconds. For office workers the average is three minutes. Why are we so distracted?

The average teenager can only focus on a task for 65 seconds. For office workers the average is three minutes. Why are we so distracted? Johann Hari has spent the last three years investigating this question and seeking to uncover the reasons that our attention spans have deteriorated so dramatically.

Hari believes our attention has been chipped away by the forces that surround us. Processed foods mangle our brains. Ever more sophisticated algorithms demand our attention online. A whole architecture has been built around us, Hari argues, that makes it ever harder for us to focus. The research for his new book, Stolen Focus, took him from a favela in Rio de Janeiro where attention has almost vanished to an office in New Zealand where workers have found a remarkable way to restore it. In January 2022, Hari came to Intelligence Squared to share his insights. He was joined in conversation by playwright and writer V (formerly known as Eve Ensler).



Johann Hari

Internationally bestselling writer and author of two New York Times bestselling books

Internationally bestselling writer, who has authored two New York Times bestselling books. His first book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film ‘The United States Vs Billie Holiday’. It has also been adapted into a separate eight-part documentary series presented by Samuel L. Jackson, which will be released in 2022. His second book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions was described by the British Journal of General Practice as ‘one of the most important texts of recent years’, and shortlisted for an award by the British Medical Association. He was twice named National Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International.His latest book is Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention.

V (formerly Eve Ensler)

Tony Award-winning playwright, activist and performer

Tony Award-winning playwright, activist, performer, and author of the Obie award-winning theatrical phenomenon The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries, and was recently heralded by The New York Times as one of the most important plays of the past 25 years.