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In 2010, Apple founder Steve Jobs admitted that his children had never used an iPad: “We limit how much technology our kids use in the home.” Adam Alter uses this anecdote to begin his book and to underscore what we probably all realize but don’t always admit: modern technology is like a drug, and every day Silicon Valley develops another way to keep us “hooked.”

In readable prose, Alter compares substance addictions to behavioral addictions, noting how “they activate the same brain regions, and they’re fueled by the same basic human needs.” We hunger for “the next hit of likes” on Instagram, more steps on our Fitbit, another mission with our World of Warcraft crew, or one more episode of a series on Netflix.

Given that technology is unavoidable today, Alter argues that we must learn to manage our use, particularly through “good habits that promote healthy behaviors.” (Penguin)

About the Author

Otto Selles teaches French at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich., and attends Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.