As a bookworm, it brings me great grief to say, my friends have a hard time paying attention.
At least to books anyway.
There are so many other things they could do. They can stream any song in the history of the world for just $10 a month. Or watch a carefully curated plethora of films for $12. Makes it a bit difficult to pay attention to books.
Often, I hear my friends say, "I can't focus long enough to read a whole book." The same friends have little to no trouble scrolling for hours at a time on their social media feeds. They also don't have an issue sitting still and binge watching a Netflix series.
Granted, most of them aren’t the obsessive reader that I am, but their rationalizations draw a tumble-weed roll of the eyes from me. This isn't a new phenomenon. Attention spans in our society have been decreasing on a large scale for some time now and mirror that of a goldfish in most instances. And there even exists a book called Short Stories for People with Short Attention Spans (the kicker: my friends aren’t the biggest fans of short stories).
I took it upon myself to test their patience and get some perspective from these folks with fleeting focus: how they read, and what books held their interest and attention.
What I found was a strong connection to self-improvement and non-fiction books, a fondness of graphic bright covers, and an even greater appreciation for image centered text. Instead of timed reading, my focus-challenged friends set page number goals for themselves. They weren’t too keen on fiction, or rather, the fiction must be just right. And they had an intense hatred of the lull of filler in any narrative, which I can relate to.
By the time I was through picking their brains, Netflix was already loaded and the bottomless scroll for new content had begun. I left them alone, feeling like a novella that got them to sit and talk about books for that long.
Here’s some of the top picks for readers with short attention spans, from other readers with short attention spans:
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie
- Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
- The Psychology Book by DK Big Ideas Simply Explained
- Damage Control by Emma Forrest
- Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield