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  • This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari | TED
    This could be why you're depressed or anxious | Johann Hari | TED
  • Johann Hari: Lost Connections - a Lecture sponsored by Tommy G. Thompson Center
    Johann Hari: Lost Connections - a Lecture sponsored by Tommy G. Thompson Center
  • Multitasking is a myth | Johann Hari on Why You Can’t Pay Attention
    Multitasking is a myth | Johann Hari on Why You Can’t Pay Attention
  • u0022Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight-Loss Drugsu0022
    u0022Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight-Loss Drugsu0022
  • Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari | TED
    Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari | TED
  • 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

In today’s world our ability to focus is constantly being diminished by external forces. According to award-winning author Johann Hari, the causes range from our devices, email and social media to even the air we breathe. The impacts, he says, creep into every part of our lives, from home to the office.

“The average office worker is only able to focus on one task for less than three minutes,” says Hari, bestselling author of “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention – and How to Think Deeply Again” (Crown), one of Amazon’s best books of 2022. “Evidence is very clear that when your ability to focus and pay attention deteriorates, your ability to solve problems and achieve goals deteriorates, too.”

Finding Meaning in Work to Reclaim Stolen Focus

In “Stolen Focus,” Hari, a gifted storyteller, describes his journey around the world, interviewing leading experts on attention and focus – and the surprising explanations he discovered.

“I learned there is scientific evidence for 12 factors that can make your attention better or worse, and the factors that can make your attention worse have been hugely rising in recent years,” reveals Hari, who joined Oprah Winfrey for a two-part conversation about focus and attention. “There’s a really broad range of factors: the food we eat, the way our offices work and the way our kids’ schools work are all negatively affecting our attention.”

While leaders may encourage multitasking and some workers take pride in their ability to do so, he says productivity through multitasking is a myth. In fact, Hari points out that through his interviews with experts, he learned that people who think they’re good at multitasking are actually worse at juggling many tasks at once.

One of the solutions for regaining attention at work is for employees to feel connected to the meaning in their work.

“Attention is deeply connected to meaning. One of the reasons people find it hard to focus at work is because they’ve become disconnected from the meaning in their work,” explains Hari, who received Porchlight Books’ 2022 Business Book of the Year honors. “The more an employee can connect with the meaning of their work, the better their attention will be for that work.”

A Deeply Personal Journey to Understand Some of Society’s Biggest Challenges

“Stolen Focus” is Hari’s third in-depth analysis into some of the most pressing issues facing society. His first book, 2015’s “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” (Bloomsbury USA) was adapted into the 2021 Academy Award-nominated film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”. His charisma shines through in the book’s companion TED Talk.

Hari also takes a deep dive into the crucial topic of anxiety and depression head-on in “Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions” (Bloomsbury USA, 2018), which 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 returned to the TED stage in 2019 with a gripping presentation on anxiety and depression. 

Hari’s immersive journeys into complex topics are rooted in a desire to deeply understand some of society’s toughest, and most widespread, challenges to uncover truths that many can relate to.   

“I do journalistic work where I investigate things that are really important,” explains Hari, whose TED Talks have been viewed nearly 100 million times across platforms. “I try to find practical solutions to problems that are really important to me and really important to huge numbers of people.”

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Over the past decade, Johann Hari has written for some of the world’s leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, 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.

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

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 30th, 2024 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 author Johann Hari draws on his book “Stolen Focus: Why You can’t Pay Attention – and How to Think Deeply Again” to discuss a 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 there is scientific evidence for 12 factors that can make your attention better or worse. Hari will outline the 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 Hari discovered to solve the attention crisis and the practical steps we can all take to get it back.

The Myth of Multitasking

Do you pride yourself on your ability to multitask? Do you encourage your employees to do so? In this revealing presentation, award-winning author Johann Hari will break down the myth of multitasking. While many see multitasking as a solution to completing multiple projects, Hari explains the surprising insights he learned through multiple interviews with experts. A charismatic storyteller, he makes the case that juggling numerous tasks at the same time, and dividing attention between them, is in fact less productive than focusing on one task at a time. Attendees will learn the benefits of choosing to focus on a single task over multitasking, with real-world solutions that can be applied immediately.

Reconnect With Work By Finding Meaning

Lost attention at work could be linked to something as simple and fundamental as purpose. According to Johann Hari, award-winning author of “Stolen Focus: Why You can’t Pay Attention – and How to Think Deeply Again,” one of the reasons people find it hard to focus at work is because they’ve become disconnected from the meaning in their work. In this engaging presentation, he shares insights and research from interviews with leaders from around the world to reveal the importance of maintaining balance between attention and purpose. An expert storyteller, Hari equips audiences with a new view of why their attention at work may be lacking and how to regain it.

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 more than 40 years, negatively impacting employees and employers. In this timely presentation, award-winning 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 more than 20 million views, to discuss what he learned from interviewing more than 200 of the world’s leading experts on anxiety and depression. Hari explains 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 for 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.

"I can’t say enough about our time with Johann! He was absolutely brilliant – I have received dozens of emails and texts from attendees (in addition to all who spoke directly with me that day) who were profoundly moved by his presentation. He stayed for nearly TWO hours in order to meet every person in line for the book signing giving time and attention to all. It’s not an exaggeration to say that healing took place in that theater yesterday. He is a very special person!"

Maria Coutant Skinner, LCSW, President & CEO, Litchfield County/McCall Behavioral Health

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