Cell Block Challenge: Read the Book

SPOKANE, Wash. - Released in September and written by radio host and podcastor Manoush Zomorodi, Bored and Brilliant is the basis for kxly4’s Cell Block Challenge. 

It’s all about what our constant access to tech is doing to our brains. It also includes steps and challenges on how to fix your own bad habits. 

As we begin the challenge this week, here’s my review of the book; I’d consider it a must read for anyone who finds themselves scrolling day and night.


I’m not proud of it. 

I’m not proud of the disturbing addiction I have to my phone. You can ask my husband (don’t ask my husband), but I will straight-up panic if my phone is missing/lost/dead/water damaged from being dropped in a toilet in Lake Chelan (hypothetically.) I make a million excuses for why I have to stay attached at all times. None of them are good enough. It’s a habit bordering on addiction, plain and simple.

I needed Manoush Zomorodi to save me.

I’ve listened to Manoush’s podcast for the quite some time (I can call her by her first name because we follow each other on Twitter and are basically best friends.) Her podcast, Note to Self, is all about tech and its applications in our everyday lives. A lot of it has to do with responsibility in consuming tech, but it’s not anti-tech at all. 

When she started talking about this Bored and Brilliant concept, I was really interested – and, I was too much of a chicken to take the plunge and challenge myself to break some awful habits. Once she put it in a book, though, I decided to pay attention.

((get picture quote from blog about drug dealers and technologists)

Think about that. It’s totally true. The guy at the grocery store calls you a customer. The waitress at your favorite restaurant thinks of you as a diner or a guest. Those Apple guys? The online gaming industry? The cell phone giants? You’re a user to them. And, they’re more than happy to deliver the product. We’re all hooked; they know it. You’ve had a taste, now you’re jonesing all the time.

It’s making us dumb.

Maybe not dumb, but less creative. The concept behind this book is intensive research that shows we don’t really get bored anymore. We don’t “zone out.” We always have our phones with us, so we always have a reason to watch, scroll, play, text, engage, etc. There’s literally a part of our brain that is not getting used – and it’s the part of our brain that comes up with best ideas!

I think of it this way: when was the last time you were on a flight and you hadn’t downloaded a movie and you didn’t pony up to pay for WiFi? Maybe before you pull out your book or your headphones or fall asleep, you look out the window. Maybe you had a revelation. That’s what happens when we can’t access the tech that’s usually just a short arm reach away. These are the times our brains are at their best.

The constant access to technology has hurt us in other ways, too. We all find it hard to read a long article or, God forbid, an actual book. We’re so used to information in small, digestible pieces. Imagine being a 17-year old or even a 25-year old who has always had this technology. They don’t even know what they’re missing. It’s a problem with real, long-term consequences.

Yes, we have all this access to information, but it keeps us from having to think for ourselves.


Take the challenge. This book sets aside five steps to slowly break the addiction to free your brain up for those big ideas. The steps are simple, you just do one at a time. And, reading this book helps you understand why each of these steps are valuable in your mission to spend less time scrolling and more time actually thinking.

Read the book. Check out the website. Listen to the podcast. Watch the TedTalk. 

Good luck bein’ super brilliant.