Alex Soojung-Kim Pang studies how people create, and the worlds they create. His work uses history, anthropology, neuroscience, and psychology, to understand how great minds use both intense focus and mind-wandering to stimulate and sustain their creativity, and how technology can be used to enhance rather than erode those efforts. He is the author of two books with Hachette publishers: Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less (Basic Books, 2016) and The Distraction Addiction
(Little, Brown & Co., 2013). His forthcoming book, Shorter: How Companies Are Redesigning the Workday and Reinventing the Future
, uses design thinking to explain how companies in a variety of industries and countries are moving to 4-day weeks.
Drawing on history, neuroscience, and psychology, Rest
argues that rest plays a hidden but critical role in the lives of some of history’s most creative and prolific people, ranging from Charles Darwin to Bill Gates. A century of research has shown that overwork is counterproductive and has long-term effects on our health, careers, and even longevity. More recently, neuroscientists have explore how leisure and mind-wandering create space for creative thinking, and mapped the neurological processes that let us explore new ideas and discover new insights.
The Distraction Addiction
explores our profound and problematic relationship with information technologies. He argues that humans have a remarkable capacity to use technologies to extend their cognitive and physical abilities; that this capability is a source of great pleasure and power, but is hijacked by technologies designed to commoditize it; and that through the practice of contemplative computing, we can learn to use technologies to help us be more focused, mindful, and productive, rather than constantly distracted.
and The Distraction Addiction
have been translated into a dozen languages. His articles have appeared in Scientific American, Wired, The Atlantic Monthly, and numerous scholarly journals, and he is a regular contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global blog.
Alex’s current work explores how organizations ranging from startups to the US Navy are finding ways to exploit the power of rest in their work, and how emerging technologies, technology trends, and culture are shaping the future of work, rest, and play. Though The Restful Company, the boutique consultancy he founded in 2016, he is bringing deliberate rest to an overworked world. Alex also works as technology forecaster and futurist in the Silicon Valley office of Strategic Business Insights, and is a visiting scholar at Stanford University. He has a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.