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Nir Eyal - How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life


Hooked on Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal is an American author, lecturer and investor who was named “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology” by the MIT Tech Review, whose work has been featured in TechCrunch, the Harvard Business Review, and Psychology Today. Nir Eyal’s first book, the New York Times best-selling “Hooked”, reveals the psychology that builds habit-forming products, and his new book “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life”, explores the psychology driving us to distraction, and why solving the problem is not as simple as disowning our devices.

In this episode of London Real, host Brian Rose welcomes Nim to the studio to discuss his ten-minute rule, how to build indistractable relationships and the inspirations behind his books.

Born in 1978, Nir Eyal was raised in a diverse background, born in Israel and later moving to the United States. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he developed a keen interest in the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. Eyal’s early career included roles in the technology and gaming industries, providing him with a firsthand understanding of user engagement and the mechanics of habit formation.

Nir Eyal’s breakthrough came with his book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” published in 2014. In this influential work, Eyal dissected the psychology behind habit-forming products, outlining a framework known as the “Hook Model.” The model explores the four key components: Trigger, Action, Variable Reward, and Investment that contribute to creating habit loops in users.

This framework became instrumental for product designers and entrepreneurs seeking to understand how to create engaging and habit-forming experiences for users. Eyal’s insights into the psychological triggers that prompt repeated engagement revolutionised the way technology companies approached product development.

While “Hooked” provided valuable insights into habit formation, Nir Eyal’s work also addresses the ethical considerations associated with behavioural design. He emphasises the importance of responsible design practices, encouraging designers to consider the potential impact of their creations on users’ well-being.

Eyal’s subsequent work, including articles and talks, delves into the ethical responsibilities of those shaping user experiences. He advocates for a balance between creating engaging products and ensuring that these products enhance users’ lives without fostering addiction or negative consequences.

Building on his exploration of habits, Nir Eyal’s book “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” (2019) takes a different approach. In this work, he addresses the flip side of habit formation: distraction. Eyal provides practical advice on regaining control over our attention in an era of constant digital stimuli.“Indistractable” explores the root causes of distraction and offers strategies to cultivate focus and intentionality in an increasingly distracting world. Eyal’s emphasis on understanding internal triggers, making time for traction, and exploring the role of technology in our lives resonates with individuals seeking a mindful approach to their relationship with digital devices.

Nir Eyal’s impact extends beyond the written word. As a sought-after speaker, he shares his insights on behavioural design, habit formation, and ethical considerations at conferences, workshops, and corporate events. Eyal’s engaging and informative presentations have made him a thought leader in the fields of technology, psychology, and business.

In addition to his speaking engagements, Eyal contributes regularly to reputable publications and maintains an active online presence. Through his blog and social media platforms, he continues to share valuable insights, research findings, and reflections on the evolving landscape of technology and behaviour.

Nir Eyal’s work stands at the crossroads of psychology, technology, and ethics, offering a unique perspective on the intricate dance between human behaviour and the products we engage with daily. From his groundbreaking “Hook Model” to his exploration of distraction and focus in “Indistractable,” Eyal’s contributions have reshaped the way we understand and design digital experiences.

As technology continues to play an increasingly integral role in our lives, Eyal’s emphasis on responsible design, ethical considerations, and fostering habits that enhance well-being serves as a guiding light. Through his writing, speaking engagements, and thought leadership, Nir Eyal remains a key figure in decoding the complexities of human behaviour in the digital age.


00:00 | Trailer
02:43 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode
04:15 | Brian’s introduction
04:49 | Nir loves the vibe of London
05:53 | Being indistractable is the skill of the century
08:54 | All behaviour is the desire to escape discomfort, so time management becomes pain management
17:48 | The brain forms the pattern of using the iPhone as today’s go to distraction to avoid discomfort
19:44 | There are ways to cope with the problem of discomfort
21:53 | Using the ten-minute rule
28:48 | Re-imagining the temperament
33:11 | Re-imagining the task
42:53 | Re-imagining the trigger and how it saved his marriage
55:05 | How to hack back the external triggers
1:05:19 | How to build indistractable relationships
1:07:19 | The strategy for preventing distraction with pacts
1:18:19 | Why it took Nir so long to write his second book
1:20:10 | What inspired his first book Hooked
1:22:13 | The four parts of Hooked: trigger, action, variable reward and investment
1:26:24 | Nir describes what he does now since the success of Hooked
1:27:12 | Companies and Service Providers also suffer from distraction caused by their dysfunctional culture
1:34:27 | Nir enjoys teaching companies, but is it easy to change company culture
1:39:39 | Nir’s daily practice
1:43:22 | His superpower
1:44:40 | The best and worst days of his life
1:48:48 | What scares him
1:49:58 | What we would be surprised to learn about Nir Eyal
1:59:41 | Success secrets
2:00:27 | Best advice ever received
2:01:17 | Advice to the 20-year olds listening
2:03:22 | Brian’s summing up.


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