Seth Godin on short attention spans

Attention spans are getting shorter, thanks to clutter.

In 1960, the typical stay for a book on the New York Times bestseller list was 22 weeks. In 2006, it was two. Forty years ago, it was typical for three novels a year to reach #1. Last year, it was 23.

Advise and Consent won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960. It’s 640 pages long. On Bullshit was a bestseller in 2005; it’s 68 pages long.

Today is last weekday before the univeristy goes back in session. The sidewalks are packed with wandering freshman. They may seem to have short attention spans, but how many of them are going to stay up ’till 4:00 AM playing World of Warcraft? I can think of more than a few. We can stay engaged with anything if we cultivate the skill.