Book Review: The Smarter Screen (By Shlomo Benartzi and Jonah Lehrer)

The smarter screen front cover - Surprising ways to influence and improve online behavior

Most of us now spend a majority of our waking hours watching screens: Mobile screens, Laptop screens or TV screens.

So it’s interesting and critical to study the ways in which people think differently on the screens.

Such studies can help online marketers to influence online behavior while developing a rich body of knowledge on designing more effective choice architectures.

Shlomo Benartzi has done an excellent job in using insights from behavioral economics to explain how people respond to digital information on a screen.

He goes far beyond the shallow popular criticisms of the new technologies and tries to analyze the ways by which these technologies affect our behavior and our economies.

Attention scarcity is the first result of the new digital gadgets. An important concern that Benartzi expresses using a famous quote from Noble-prize winner Herbert Simon:

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention - Herbert Simon

In the world of screens, the first impression is one of the most powerful shaping forces in managing attention flow, a critical point that should be seriously considered by digital designers as well as authors.

The book is rich in collecting and reporting fascinating research showing how our mind processes information in the new digital world. A world that is full of digital screens and people who are craving for the fastest and easiest way to receive and digest information.

The smarter screen somehow reminds me the theme of Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational. The irrational humans of the physical world have found a new place to live and evolve their long-lived irrationality.

The irrational humans of the physical world have found a new place to live and evolve their long-lived irrationality.

As a reader who is interested in content strategy, the core message of the book can be stated as follows:

In the world of endless possibilities for finding the desired content, better curators would have a greater chance of success. In other words:

While the last decade was belonging to search engine specialists, the content curators would reign the next decade.

About the authors

Schlomo Benartzi is a leading behavioral economist and faculty member of UCLA Anderson School of Management.

He serves as Chief Scientist for the California Digital Nudge Initiative and has also worked for many financial institutions.

Although Shlomo Benartzi has addressed Jonah Lehrer as his collaborator, as publisher mentioned the name of Jonah Lehrer with a far smaller type size on the cover, it may look safe to consider Shlomo Benartzi as the main author of the book.

However, in my opinion, after it was revealed that he has fabricated some quotes in his bestselling book Imagine (2012), may publisher has decided to understate his contribution to protect the credibility of the book.

It’s worth mentioning that as a reader of Lehrer’s instructive and inspiring books, I believe that the publishing industry has gone too far in penalizing his misdeed.

Other details about this book

Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC

Publication Date: 06/10/2015

ISBN13: 9780349410395

Number of Pages: 256

Smarter Screen in Amazon

Smarter Screen in Barnes and Noble

P.S.: I have photographed the cover of my version of the book. However, there’s another cover designed for the book by S-T which I believe communicates the message of the book more clearly:

Book Cover design for smarter screen by S-T company