Review of TechnoStress in

With nuance uncommon to books that teeter on the brink of "self-help," TechnoStress exposes technology's tightening grip on modern culture. You will no doubt empathize with one of the three human "relatives" of technology that authors Weil and Rosen call "technotypes": Eager Adopters, which comprise about 10-15% of the industrialized population; Hesitant "Prove Its," which make up about 50-60% of that population; and the Resisters, the rest. Depending on the technology and, of course, the context--home, work, play--you may find yourself as one, or all three, technotypes.

Psychologists Weil and Rosen manage to use their own buzzwords and phrases without being annoying; they define not only the book's title, but also the phenomena underlying the title. The authors describe "technostress" as any negative impact on attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, or body physiology that is caused either directly or indirectly by technology. Weil and Rosen also define "technosis" as the dissolution of human-technology boundaries, wherein humans begin thinking they should act and perform as quickly as their machines; for example, when humans start to believe that technology, such as ATMs, should always be available and is the only means to getting something done. More extreme cases of technosis occur when humans actually begin defining their personas based on what brand or power of computer they own.

Weil and Rosen intertwine their exposé with lessons and cues on how to change your perception of the machines we depend on. Chances are a bad design is the reason you can't program that VCR. And system crashes shouldn't be taken personally; it's the machine, not you. With quizzes and tips on everything from human-to-human communication to human-machine-human communication, TechnoStress successfully tempers the a priori notion that technology makes everything fine. Authors Weil and Rosen are really reminding us not to forget who's boss--and to always keep in mind that a technology must meet our needs, not the other way around, for it to be successful.