What do you hope non-scientists will take away from the book?
I hope that people will see all the noise and distraction around them for what it is. And I hope that people will reflect on the role that novelty plays in their own lives. Because the culture will keep supplying you with novelty, if that's what you crave--new celebrities, new bands, new technologies, new ways of thinking about the world. But underneath all that, there are big problems and big forces that shape our own personal lives and also the world around us. I'd like to convince people to shut out some of the former in order to focus more on the latter.
Bill Wasik, a senior editor at Harper's, plugged his new book in a Q&A with Psychology Today. He also skillfully articulated a set of concepts that have been violently storming within my braincase for some time now: