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  • This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari
    This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari
  • Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari
    Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari
  • Johann Hari: Lost Connections - a Lecture sponsored by Tommy G. Thompson Center
    Johann Hari: Lost Connections - a Lecture sponsored by Tommy G. Thompson Center
  • Stolen focus with Johann Hari
    Stolen focus with Johann Hari
  • Johann Hari On How To Get Your Focus And Attention Back
    Johann Hari On How To Get Your Focus And Attention Back
  • Naomi Klein and Johann Hari explain who is stealing your focus
    Naomi Klein and Johann Hari explain who is stealing your focus
  • How To Fix Your Focus & Stop Procrastinating: Johann Hari | E114
    How To Fix Your Focus & Stop Procrastinating: Johann Hari | E114
  • Ending the prohibition of marijuana: An empirical approach
    Ending the prohibition of marijuana: An empirical approach

Learn More About Johann Hari

Johann Hari is the author of three New York Times best-selling books and the Executive Producer of an Oscar-nominated movie and an eight-part TV series on the history of the war on drugs starring Samuel L. Jackson. His books have been translated into 40 languages and have been praised by a broad range of influencers, from Oprah to Noam Chomsky, from Elton John to Naomi Klein.

His latest book, ”Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention” (Crown, January 2022), was number three on Amazon’s list of the best books of 2022, and was named as a Book of the Year by The Financial Times, The New York Post, and The Spectator. It was also chosen as Book of the Month by Britain’s biggest bookseller, Waterstones, and Australia’s biggest bookseller Dymocks. “Stolen Focus” has won several awards, including being named as Most Important Book of the Year at the Non-Obvious Book Awards and Business Book of the Year at the 2022 Porchlight Book Awards and has been a best-seller on three continents.

Hari’s first book, “Chasing the Scream: the First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” (Bloomsbury USA, January 2015) was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and the documentary series “The Fix” on The Roku Channel.

His second book, ”Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions” (Bloomsbury USA, January 2018) 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.

Collectively, Hari’s TED Talks ”Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong” and  “This Could Be Why You Are Depressed or Anxious” have been viewed more than 93 million times. 

Over the past decade, he has written for some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Spectator, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Politico. He has appeared on NPR’s All Thing Considered, HBO’s Realtime With Bill Maher, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the BBC’s Question Time, and many other popular shows.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Hari was a year old when his family moved to London where he grew up and where he has lived for most of his life. His father – a Swiss immigrant – was a bus driver, and his mother was a nurse who later worked in shelters for survivors of domestic violence. 

He studied social and political science at King’s College, Cambridge, and graduated with a Double First.

Hari was twice named National Newspaper Journalist of the Year by the Amnesty International UK Media Awards and has been named Cultural Commentator of the Year and Environmental Commentator of the Year at The Comment Awards.

Johann Hari is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Johann Hari was last modified: May 10th, 2023 by Justin Louis

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Your Attention is Your Superpower, Learn How to Get it Back

We are living in a huge attention crisis. The average office worker now focuses on any one task for less than three minutes, and for every one child identified with serious attention deficits in 1986, there are now 100. In this eye-opening session, award-winning journalist and author Johann Hari draws on his book “Stolen Focus: Why You can’t Pay Attention – and How to Think Deeply Again” to discuss the journey embarked, on from Moscow to Miami to Melbourne, to discover why he could feel his own attention getting worse. Through more than 200 interviews with leading experts on attention and a deep dive into their research, he learned that there is scientific evidence for twelve factors that can make your attention better or worse, and many of those factors have seen huge increases in recent years. Hari will outline these factors which range from the obvious, such as changes in technology, to others that are not discussed as widely, such as the food we eat, to the way our offices work, and the way our children’s schools work. Audiences will learn the insights that Hari discovered to solve the attention crisis and the practical steps we can all take to get it back.

Why So Many Workers Are Anxious – And How to Solve It

Now at epidemic levels, rates of anxiety and depression have been rising in the Western world for over forty years, negatively impacting employees and employers. In this revealing presentation, award-winning journalist and author Johann Hari draws on his bestseller “Lost Connections: Why You Are Depressed or Anxious – And How To Find Hope” and its companion TED Talk which has received over 20 million views, to discuss what he learned from interviewing more than 200 of the leading experts on anxiety and depression in the world. Hari explains that there is scientific evidence for nine factors that can cause depression and anxiety, some of which are biologically based while others come from the way we live today. Audiences will gain a new set of solutions to reducing anxiety and depression in the workplace.

The Opposite of Addiction is Connection

In this deeply personal presentation, award-winning journalist and author Johann Hari reveals one of his earliest memories – trying to wake a relative and not being able to. At the time he was too young to understand why, but as he got older, he realized there was addiction in his family. He’ll share his quest to understand what causes addiction and what we can do to reduce it. Hari will discuss how, drawing upon his training in the social sciences at Cambridge University, he set out on an epic journey across the world to investigate this question. Hari’s New York Times bestseller on the topic “Chasing the Scream” has been adapted into the Oscar-nominated film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” as well as the 8-part documentary series “The Fix,” narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. The companion TED Talk has been viewed nearly 100 million times across channels. By sharing his core insight – the opposite of addiction is connection – audiences will learn what causes addiction, why we are in an unprecedented addiction crisis today and, most importantly, how we can find our way back to hope.

Praise for "Stolen Focus"

"[A] fresh take on focus and attention . . . You’ll learn a lot from this book, and its well-researched data is presented in a highly readable style laced with stories and personal anecdotes. Which is to say, against all odds, it will hold your attention."

The Wall Street Journal

“Where other books about our relationship to technology tend to focus on personal responsibility, stressing the importance of self-control, 'Stolen Focus' takes a step back and examines the ecosystem that created the problem. . . . Hari’s writing is incredibly readable.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Big-name websites and apps strive to distract because that’s the key to profitability. When we’re looking at our screens, these companies make money; when we’re not, they don’t. . . . It’s a call to arms, to be sure, and I’m tempted to tell my Twitter followers about it—but I’ve deleted the app from my phone.”

The Washington Post

“In his unique voice, Johann Hari tackles the profound dangers facing humanity from information technology and rings the alarm bell for what all of us must do to protect ourselves, our children, and our democracies.”

Hillary Clinton

“A gripping analysis of why we’ve lost the capacity to concentrate, and how we might find it again. 'Stolen Focus' . . . will keep you thinking and rethinking long after you’ve finished it.”

Adam Grant

“Johann Hari writes like a dream. He’s both a lyricist and a storyteller—but also an indefatigable investigator of one of the world’s greatest problems: the systematic destruction of our attention. Read this book to save your mind.”

Susan Cain

“I don’t know anyone thinking more deeply, or more holistically, about the crisis of our collective attention than Johann Hari. This book could not be more vital. Please sit with it, and focus.”

Naomi Klein

“Superb . . . 'Stolen Focus' is a beautifully researched and argued exploration of the breakdown of humankind’s ability to pay attention, told with the pace, sparkle, and energy of the best kind of thriller.”

Stephen Fry

“If you want to get your attention and focus back, you need to read this remarkable book. Johann Hari has cracked the code of why we’re in this crisis, and how to get out of it. We all need to hear this message.”

Arianna Huffington

“A visionary, systemic, revolutionary, and practical guide for creating the new world . . . Through his tireless research and genius insight, Johann Hari certainly snapped me to attention. This is a life-changing book.”

Eve Ensler, Author of "The Vagina Monologues"

“A necessary book, a miracle of clarity and depth, and a resonant, deeply researched warning followed by a truly inspiring clarion call to action . . . Read it and weep, then dry your eyes and join in.”

Emma Thompson

Praise for "Lost Connections"

"'Lost Connections' offers a wonderful and incisive analysis of the depression and alienation that are haunting American society."

Hillary Clinton

"If you have ever been down, or felt lost, this amazing book will change your life. Do yourself a favor--read it now."

Elton John

"Wise, probing, and deeply generous Hari has produced a book packed with explosive revelations about our epidemic of despair . . . I am utterly convinced that the more people read this book, the better off the world will be."

Naomi Klein

"This is a bold and inspiring book that will help far more than just those who suffer from depression. As Hari shows, we all have within us the potential to live in ways that are healthier and wiser."

Arianna Huffington

"Through a breath-taking journey across the world, Johann Hari exposes us to extraordinary people and concepts that will change the way we see depression forever. It is a brave, moving, brilliant, simple and earth-shattering book that must be read by everyone and anyone who is longing for a life of meaning and connection."

Eve Ensler, Author, "The Vagina Monologues"

"This is one of those extraordinary books that you want all your friends to read immediately--because the shift in world-view is so compelling and dramatic that you wonder how you’ll be able to have conversations with them otherwise."

Brian Eno

"Johann Hari is again getting people to think differently about our mood, our minds and our drug use, and that is something we need a lot more of."

Bill Maher

"Depression and anxiety are the maladies of our time, but not for the reasons you think . . . An important diagnosis from one of the ablest journalists writing in the English language today."

Thomas Frank, Author, "What's the Matter With Kansas?"

"Eye-opening, highly detailed . . . The book is part personal odyssey, in which Hari gets to grips with the flaws in his own treatment, and part scholarly reflection, where he sifts through the varying perspectives of scientists, psychologists and people with depression . . . Hari is clear about the difficulties of the task ahead and, in offering new ways of thinking, presents not surefire solutions but, he says, 'an alternative direction of travel' . . . A compassionate, common-sense approach to depression and anxiety . . . His book brings with it an urgency and rigor that will, with luck, encourage the authorities to sit up and take note."

The Guardian

"A bold call for a complete re-evaluation of what is causing the western epidemic of mental illness."

The Sunday Times

"This book has a great deal to offer. 'Lost Connections' isn't as much about science and mental health as it is about society, and the stories we tell around mental illness . . . This book's value lies in its attempt to change the stories we tell about the depressed and anxious, and perhaps help some of those suffering change how they think about themselves."

The Independent

Praise for "Chasing the Scream"

“A testament to Hari's skill as a writer.”

The New York Times

“Superb journalism and thrilling storytelling.”

Naomi Klein

“An absolutely stunning book.”

Elton John

“A terrific book.”

Bill Maher

“Wonderful . . . I couldn't put it down.”

Noam Chomsky

“Amazing and bracing and smart. It's really revolutionary.”

Dan Savage