Designing the Mind Engineering Our Behavior and Feelings in the Digital World

“A groundbreaking book. It is an up-to-date and fascinating guide to the digital world […] a wake-up call for anyone with a smartphone […] as Dr. Margalit shows, in this world we are not the customers but the goods.”

– Prof. Yoram Yovel, psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and brain researcher

What do we know about the thin metal device that has been attached to us as if it was one of our own organs? Do we play with it, or does it play with us? In this book Dr. Liraz Margalit reveals what we do not know about it, or – more precisely – what Tech Giants do not want us to know about the smartphone. While most of us believe that we live in a world of endless options and free self-decisions, our choices are channeled by forces outside ourselves. Not only are our choices of what to eat, what to drink, which restaurant to choose or which vacation to book, are not spontaneously made in our consciousness, but neither are our cardinal life choices and decisions, such as our mate, profession, pension plan, financial investment tracks, and so forth.

The book’s claim is that tech companies today have reached a point in history where they became most effective in controlling human brains. It surfases the multitude manipulations and complex techniques of taking control over our consciousness, and explains the psychology behind the technology in clear language to a general readership.

In Designing the Mind – written by someone who used to operate behind the scenes, working for the most influential companies in the world, advising them as to how to manipulate users – the author sharply points out the heavy price digital development exacts, particularly the emotional price, and openly criticizes this world where she was an active player previously. She describes a synthetic universe in which friendships are collection of Likes and a user self-worth is determined by the number of Likes; the ideal look is a result of beauty filters and requires surgical intervention to achieve an “Instagram face”; personal success involves intensive efforts to amass followers, most of whom are strangers; and inner happiness is achieved by posting smiling photos at resorts and entertainment spots. And – given the absence of laws, regulations and restraints to protect digital users – we can only expect frighten scene of reality in which man is captived of “his own will” in life that lack of freedom of thought, will and choice.

July 2021 | 304 pp. | Hebrew, English sample | Rights Sold: Chinese, Israel

Dr. Liraz Margalit is a social psychologist with a PhD. in psychology who specializes in game theory and behavioral economics. She lectures at the prestigious Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, is a frequent media interviewee, and writes a popular column titled “Behind Online Behavior” in Psychology Today as well as another column in the business magazine CMSWire, which has twice awarded her “Writer of the Year,” in 2017 and 2020. Dr. Margalit contributes articles to the most popular technology magazine in the world, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur magazine.