The one-sentence summary

Good ideas usually occur outside the workplace, and often when we are daydreaming or half asleep.


  • It is subtitled How the digital age is changing our minds, why this matters and what we can do about it.
  • Children as young as five are spending up to eight hours a day in front of screens; the average teen sends 2,000 texts a month; machines are competing with minds for employment and soon they will compete for our affection.
  • We are losing the ability to think in a deep, creative way because we are too distracted.
  • We are raising a new generation that has plenty of answers (usually nicked from the internet), but few good questions: the Screenager.
  • The author looks at how screen culture is shaping the way we think – many of us are addicted to data and urgently need a digital diet.
  • Connectivity addiction is hard to deal with, multitasking mayhem prevails, and education has taken on a cut-and-paste quality where proper, deep investigation of subjects and ideas is rare.
  • Good ideas usually occur outside the workplace, and often when we are daydreaming or half asleep. Where we are has a deep bearing on our ability to think well – so-called ‘third spaces’ (not work, and not home).


  • It is an interesting idea that the right brain (better at abstract connections) may be under threat – the left side is getting more use the more time people spend in front of a screen.
  • Corporations can’t handle people who think differently because it ruins conformity. Institutions tend to specialise, so they tend to know more and more about less and less.
  • Sport and war are lousy metaphors for business because they have an end. Gardening is better because it doesn’t.
  • Research shows the average office worker receives 200 emails a day, and looks at them 42 times a day. That equals four hours a day.
  • We have three zones: comfort, stretch, and stress. We spend most of our time in the first, and out learning is practically zero.
  • In China 66% of people believe it is possible to have real relationships purely online.
  • “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” Einstein.


  • Not much. The author clearly thinks we need to get a better balance in our lives, and it’s full of interesting information and smart suggestions about how to go on a digital diet.