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March 4, 2021 52 min

What is limited, valuable, and scarce? Attention. As society as a whole tries to navigate the new terrain where attention is the commodity supporting a large part of the economy, it is imperative that humans understand that attention is the gateway to information processing and “knowing what to pay attention to” is probably far more important than simply paying attention.

Since the act of paying attention presents itself in more than one form such as listening, loving, cooperating, collaborating or even being generous and altruistic, we need to build brains that know how to engage their attention and direct it towards intentions so that decisions are made that serve the needs that go beyond the current moment or the current self. 

On this episode, award-winning author and journalist known for her pioneering writings exploring social trends, particularly technology’s impact on humanity, Maggie Jackson, joins Sucheta Kamath to talk about why fractured attention often leaves us feeling scattered, fragmented and frustrated. If what Susan Sontag’s words “Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager” are true, then we all must participate in the Attentional Renaissance.

About Maggie Jackson
Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist known for her pioneering writings exploring social trends, particularly technology’s impact on humanity. Her acclaimed book Distracted (Second Ed., 2018) kickstarted a global conversation on the steep costs of fragmenting our attention. Winner of the prestigious 2020 Dorothy Lee Book Award for excellence in technology criticism, Distracted was compared by to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring for its prescient critique of technology’s excesses. The book helped inspire Google’s recent digital well-being initiative. A former Boston Globe contributing columnist, Jackson’s commentary and articles have appeared in media worldwide, including the New York Times, NPR, and the noted design-and-philosophy journal New Philosopher. A graduate of Yale University and of the London School of Economics with highest honors, Jackson has won numerous awards and fellowships, including a Visiting Fellowship at the Bard Graduate Center (2016). She lives in New York and Rhode Island. Visit her website:


  • Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention 
  • Article:

  • NY Times Opinion Piece on Robot Caregiving
  • Boston Globe Essay on Uncertainty's Critical Role in Good Thinking
  • About Host, Sucheta Kamath
    Sucheta Kamath, is an award-winning speech-language pathologist, a TEDx speaker, a celebrated community leader, and the founder and CEO of ExQ®. As an EdTech entrepreneur, Sucheta has designed ExQ's personalized digital learning curriculum/tool that empowers middle and high school students to develop self-awareness and strategic thinking skills through the mastery of Executive Function and social-emotional competence.

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