From Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matt Richtel, a brilliant, narrative-driven exploration of technology's vast influence on the human mind and society, dramatically-told through the lens of a tragic "texting-while-driving" car crash that claimed the lives of two rocket scientists in 2006.Read more...
From Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matt Richtel, a brilliant, narrative-driven exploration of technology's vast influence on the human mind and society, dramatically-told through the lens of a tragic "texting-while-driving" car crash that claimed the lives of two rocket scientists in 2006.
In this ambitious, compelling, and beautifully written book, Matt Richtel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, examines the impact of technology on our lives through the story of Utah college student Reggie Shaw, who killed two scientists while texting and driving. Richtel follows Reggie through the tragedy, the police investigation, his prosecution, and ultimately, his redemption.
In the wake of his experience, Reggie has become a leading advocate against "distracted driving." Richtel interweaves Reggie's story with cutting-edge scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains, proposing solid, practical, and actionable solutions to help manage this crisis individually and as a society.
A propulsive read filled with fascinating, accessible detail, riveting narrative tension, and emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering explores one of the biggest questions of our time--what is all of our technology doing to us?--and provides unsettling and important answers and information we all need.
- ISBN-13: 9780062284068
- ISBN-10: 0062284061
- Publisher: William Morrow & Company
- Publish Date: September 2014
- Page Count: 416
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-28
- Reviewer: Staff
A deadly driving-while-texting car crash illuminates the perils of information overload in this scattershot saga of digital dysfunctions. New York Times reporter and novelist Richtel (The Cloud) recounts the story of Reggie Shaw, a 19-year-old Utah man who in 2006 swerved into oncoming traffic while texting his girlfriend; the resulting accident killed two other men. Part of the book is a lucid, interesting account of the developing brain science of how we focus our attention and how it is distracted by the addictive flood of information from our always connected wireless devices and our insistently multitasked jobs. (Researchers tell the author that texting impairs ones driving as much as being drunk.) Interspersed is a drawn-out journalistic account of the accident’s aftermath, with grieving families, legal proceedings that explore the growth of jurisprudence on driving and cell phones, and Reggie’s guilt and subsequent rebirth as an anti-texting crusader. The author’s determination to juice up the science with human interest, emotional anguish, and courtroom drama feels overdone—many figures in the book have their back stories ransacked for extraneous episodes of trauma and abuse. Still, when Richtel lets the research speak for itself, he raises fascinating and troubling issues about the cognitive impact of our technology. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Sept.)
The danger in dividing attention
After closing New York Times reporter Matt Richtel’s compelling book A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention, I couldn’t help but think of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Both chronicle the story of a crime. If you’ve ever read In Cold Blood, you know how the story builds with palpable suspense. The same is true here. The crime, though, isn’t coldblooded murder, but something seemingly more mundane: a car accident on a hillside in Utah that killed two rocket scientists and was caused by a careless teenager. The alleged crime is negligent homicide, because the teenager, Reggie, may have been texting just before the crash.
The accident occurred in 2006, when there was no state law against texting and driving. And in the immediate aftermath of the crash, Reggie vehemently denies being on his phone. But soon law enforcement officers aren’t so sure they believe him. What follows is a detailed reporting of the ensuing legal battle—and the effects it has on the key players on both sides.
Along the way, Richtel makes a sinister suggestion: This accident could have happened to anyone. By meeting with neuroscientists who study the science of distraction, Richtel provides a powerful backdrop that explains the significance of Reggie’s accident. It is important not only for the people involved and the driving laws in Utah, but also for all of us out in the everyday world with our phones, those tiny devices constantly demanding attention. When does wandering attention cross the line? When do each of us become, against our better judgment, dangerous?