#193 Why You Can't Focus with Johann Hari

19 Apr 2023

Warning: Today’s episode contains strong language

I’m chatting with Johann Hari today, the international bestselling author of ‘Chasing the Scream’, ‘Lost Connections’ and the latest book ‘Stolen Focus’.

Today’s conversation is fascinating. I often find myself opening tabs and not remembering why I opened it, or walking out of my house and having to remind myself why I’m leaving. I naturally assumed it was just me. Overworking and undersleeping is bound to have this effect, but there appears to be something more insidious going on as Johann explains in todays episode. And if you’re like me, you’re definitely not alone.

There are 5 core ideas that we explore today:

One: Your attention didn’t collapse - it was stolen.

Two: If your Screentime shows that you spend more than three hours a day on your phone, then you are losing far more than just time. Your brain can only produce one or two thoughts in your conscious mind at once. We’re very, very single-minded.

Three: The covid crisis has flipped many of us into a state called hypervigilance, which is ruining our focus.

Four: The way we eat in the Western world is severely damaging our attention and focus.

Five: We can only get out of this crisis if we respond as individuals, by making changes in our own lives and our children’s lives, to protect ourselves from forces invading our attention. But we also need to campaign for more humane technology, forcing them to adopt a different business model that isn’t reliant on interrupting, distracting and monetising our attention.

We talk about:

  • Our ‘attentional pathogenic culture’
  • Switch cost effects
  • Tapping into flow states
  • Reading as a gym for empathy
  • Universal basic income
  • And of course, technology

🎬 Watch the podcast on YouTube here

📱Download The Doctor’s Kitchen app for free

You can download The Doctor’s Kitchen app for free to get access to all of our recipes, with specific suggestions tailored to your health needs and new recipes added every month. We’ve had some amazing feedback so far and we have new features being added all the time - check it out with a 14 day free trial too.

Do check out this week’s “Eat, Listen, Read” newsletter, that you can subscribe to on our website - where I send you a recipe to cook as well as some mindfully curated media to help you have a healthier, happier week.

🥗 Join the newsletter and 7 day meal plan

📷 Follow on Instagram

🐦 Tweet me

We would love to get your feedback on the subject matter of these episodes - please do let me know on our social media pages (InstagramFacebookTwitter) what you think, and give us a 5* rating on your podcast player if you enjoyed today’s episode.

GUEST: Johann Hari

Johann Hari is an internationally bestselling author. His first book, Chasing the Scream, was a New York Times bestseller and is being adapted into a Hollywood feature film.

His second book, Lost Connections, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Le Monde and others, and he was twice named Newspaper Journalist of the Year by Amnesty International.

His TED Talk, ‘Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong’, and the animation based on it, have had more than twenty million views. His books have been translated into eighteen languages.

with Johann Hari

get started

The Doctor’s Kitchen App

Download our app to get access to all of our recipes, with specific suggestions tailored to your health needs.


Free 7 day meal plan

Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free copy of our breakfast, lunch and dinner plan to kick start your healthy eating.