A Deadly Wandering
New York Times Bestseller
A landmark exploration of the vast and expanding impact of technology, rivetingly told through the lens of a deadly collision
“Richtel’s compassionate and persuasive book deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and To Kill a Mockingbird in America’s high school curriculums. To say it may save lives is self-evident.”
—New York Times Book Review
One of the year’s most original and masterfully reported books, A Deadly Wandering by Pulitzer Prize-winningNew York Times journalist Matt Richtel interweaves the cutting-edge science of attention with the tensely plotted story of a mysterious car accident and its aftermath to answer some of the defining questions of our time: What is technology doing to us? Can our minds keep up with the pace of change? How can we find balance? Through Richtel’s beautifully constructed narrative, a complex and far-reaching topic becomes intimate and urgent—an important call to reexamine our own lives.
On the last day of summer, an ordinary Utah college student named Reggie Shaw fatally struck two rocket scientists while texting and driving. Richtel follows Reggie from the moment of the tragedy, through the police investigation, the state’s groundbreaking prosecution, and ultimately, Reggie’s wrenching admission of responsibility. Richtel parallels Reggie’s journey with leading-edge scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains—showing how these devices, now thoroughly embedded into all aspects of our lives, play to our deepest social instincts and prey on parts of the brain that crave stimulation, creating loops of compulsion, even addiction.
Remarkably, today Reggie is a leading advocate who has helped spark a national effort targeting distracted driving, and the arc of his story provides a window through which Richtel pursues actionable solutions to help manage this crisis individually and as a society. A propulsive read filled with fascinating scientific detail, riveting narrative tension, and rare emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering is a book that can change—and save—lives.