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Your Happiness Was Hacked

Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain—and How to Fight Back

Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever

Technology promises to help us achieve our dreams, connect us to everyone, and free up time—so why are we more miserable then ever?

Wadhwa and Salkever show that our unhappiness can be traced to a concerted effort to mold our behavior, thoughts, and dreams to accomplish the goals of tech companies.

For all its considerable benefits, many argue that technology has been instrumental in eroding security, privacy, and community. But Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever argue that the truth is far more insidious: technology is actively robbing us of our happiness by making us so reliant on it that it becomes an addiction. Tech companies have all the weapons–sophisticated tracking bots, GPS coordinates, and algorithms that determine the optimal ways to distract us to their products and apps—even secret coding that defeats government monitoring and supervision–but Vivek and Salkever now provide us with insights and techniques to fight back.

They focus on four key areas: Love, Work, Self, and Society. In each case, they document how the promise of technology has mutated into addiction and despair, and they lay out strategies to take back control by understanding the addictive mechanisms at the root of technology overload.

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About the Authors

Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa is the author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which is based on his new Kauffman Foundation research. He is director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization and executive in residence at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; vice president of innovation and strategy at Singularity University; fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; and distinguished vis ... More

Alex Salkever

Alex Salkever is vice president of marketing communications at Mozilla. He was a technology editor of BusinessWeek, a regular science contributor to the Christian Science Monitor, and a contributor to The Immigrant Exodus. ... More


“Technology is a great servant but a terrible master. This is the most important book ever written about one of the most significant aspects of our lives—the consequences of our addiction to online technology and how we can liberate ourselves and our children from it.”

—Dean Ornish, M.D. Founder & President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF, Author, The Spectrum

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