A DEADLY WANDERING by Matt RichtelA Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel
Published by HarperCollins, William Morrow & Company on June 2nd 2015 (first published Sept 23rd 2014)
Pages: 416
Genres: Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Social Aspects, Science, Social Aspects, Technology & Engineering
ARC provided by TLC Book Tours

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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.

Reading time 3 mins

A Deadly Wandering asked some tough questions. It brought up things I am not entirely comfortable with admitting. Most of all, it told a heartbreaking tale of consequences of distraction. As we follow the investigation of a car accident that left two rocket scientists dead, one thing is for sure, this case changes everything.

Okay, so this book begins with a car accident. A guy named Reggie, (i think he is 19 years old at the time), is driving down the road in the rain. The car behind him notices he swerves a lot. He is cutting into the oncoming lane, almost as if he is trying to pass the truck in front of him. Then a terrible thing happens. A car coming the other direction gets clipped by the Reggie’s car, swerves out of control and gets t-boned by the driver following. The two people in the car are killed on impact. Reggie claims he doesn’t know what happened, like maybe the cars just met in the middle. That isn’t what really happened. Distracted driving caused the accident. The rest of the book follows the victim’s family, the other driver’s observations, Reggie, Reggie’s family, the police investigating, the state trying to prosecute, and neuroscientists studying the brain at work during distraction.

This car accident was a landmark case. It was one of the first prosecution cases proving distracted driving could be deadly. Although that sounds a bit dry for a book, I assure you this was riveting to read. The author tells the story through each person affected. He interviewed everyone involved, and their admissions are heart wrenching. The author is completely unbiased in his storytelling. We get everyone’s reactions. The guy’s that died were astrophysicists. So their loss impacted not only their families, but the work they were doing as well. It was a great loss. Reggie’s story was particularly awful. He was only 19 when the accident happened. He was going through other trials in life. This accident changed everything for him. The author goes into the science of distraction, citing case evidence of studies of the brain proving we cannot really multitask without failing somewhere.

Along the way, Reggie’s defenders  and antagonists alike came to see themselves in the young man, a projection of how they would’ve handled themselves. His attention, ours, is so fragile. What happened to him could happen to anyone, couldn’t it? Does that make him, or us, evil, ignorant, naive, or just human?

This book really got me thinking. It got me questioning the things that I do. I think I can do two things at once, I have used my phone in my car while driving, I think I am okay to talk on the phone while I drive. I multitask throughout most of my days. I am less productive because of it. I am absolutely the victim of erroneous thinking. I made changes because of this book. I would recommend this to everyone who uses a phone, drives a car, has a kid, loves someone, and/or has a brain. Everyone could take something from this book.

My Rating

About the Author

Matt Richtel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times technology journalist and novelist. He is the author of two previous critically acclaimed novels, Hooked and Devil’s Plaything, and his fiction, like his journalism, focuses on the impact of technology on how people live, behave, and love in the 21st century. He won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his series on distracted driving. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

Find out more about A Deadly Wandering and texting-while-driving by clicking here.


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