Most of us struggle with distraction every day: the familiar feeling that our attention is not quite where it should be. We feel it at work and at home and it can be frustrating and uncomfortable. But what is distraction? In his lucid, timely book, Damon Young shows that distraction is more than too many stimuli, or too little attention. It is actually a matter of value - to be distracted is to be torn away from what is worthwhile in life. And for Young, what is most worthwhile is freedom: not simply rights or legal liberties, but the capacity to patiently, creatively craft one's own life. Exploring the lives of such luminaries as Henri Matisse, Karl Marx, Seneca and Henry James, Young exposes distraction in work, technology, art, politics and intimacy. With warmth and wit, he reveals what is most valuable, and what is best avoided, in the pursuit of a life of one's own.
Damon Young is an Honorary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.
Acknowledgements 1. Manholes and Tears 2. What a Piece of Work Is a Man 3. The Reins of Necessity 4. A Farewell to Arms 5. Matisse's Hernia 6. The Private Life 7. Footnotes to Plato Balancing the Books