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Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology Paperback – 7 Feb 2019
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As a presence on the page, Newport is exceptional in the realm of self-help authors (New York Times Book Review)
Cal Newport speaks human truth to digital power. He calls out our enslavement to modern devices and calmly presents a better way to live and work (Julia Hobsbawm author of Fully Connected)
This book is an urgent call to action for anyone serious about being in command of their own life (Ryan Holiday author of The Obstacle is the Way)
Cal Newport has discovered a cure for the techno-exhaustion that plagues our always-on, digitally caffeinated culture (Joshua Fields Millburn The Minimalists)
Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism is the best book I've read in some time about our fraught relationship with technology. If you're looking for a blueprint to guide you as you liberate yourself from the shackles of email, social networks, smartphones, and screens, let this book be your guide (Adam Alter author of Irresistible)
You're not the user, you're the product. Hang up, log off, and tune in to a different way to be in the world. Bravo, Cal, smart advice for good people (Seth Godin author of This is Marketing)
I hope that everyone who owns a mobile phone and has been wondering where their time goes gets a chance to absorb the ideas in this book. It's amazing how the same strategy can work for both financial success and mental well-being: Put more energy into what makes you happy, and ruthlessly strip away the things that don't (Pete Adeney aka Mr. Money Mustache)
I challenge you not to devour this wonderful book in one sitting. I certainly did and I started applying Cal's ideas to my own life immediately (Greg McKeown author of Essentialism)
Cal Newport's book is a refreshing antidote to the poisonous cycle of what's new? - what's new? that this digital, hyperconnected decade has seduced us into. Building on the economics of Henry David Thoreau, Cal's call for calmer waters, for meaningful and engaged interactions, is just what the world needs right now (Daniel J. Levitin author of The Organised Mind)
Digital Minimalism is the Marie Kondo of mobile phones (Evening Standard)
From the Inside Flap
Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It's the key to living a better and more focused life.
In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives. Digital minimalists are all around us. They're the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can have fun without feeling the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day but don't feel overwhelmed by it. They don't experience 'fear of missing out' because they already know which activities provide them with meaning and satisfaction.
Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement, and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Turning off notifications and observing a digital Sabbath doesn't go far enough in helping us take back control, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes and under what conditions.
Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and shows how they are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world and reconnecting with their selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day 'digital declutter' process that has already helped thousands of people feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Technology is neither intrinsically good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.See all Product description
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My fault with the book, however, is that Newport is increasingly focusing on the niche. "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and "Deep Work" had a wide application. Anyone who wanted to improve at something, whether it's their job or writing poetry, could benefit from reading them. "Digital Minimalism" is more narrowly focused on those, essentially, with digital addiction.
Perhaps because my phone use is very limited as it is, I didn't find the text was very relevant to me. Where I was hoping for a thorough philosophical evaluation of technology's role in our lives - instead Newport offers a very practical and utilitarian manual for minimising using your phone use. Good for many, I expect, but I felt it wouldn't have the impact on my habits as much as his previous work.
There were sections I really enjoyed, especially on Thoreau and relating some classical philosophers' work for modern life. But even here, I felt the book was under-researched and lacked the academic punch of his previous work. It struck me as more blog-like. In many respects, this book seemed to be a departure from the world of MIT and into those of Ryan Holiday and Greg McKeown - whose quotes adorned the front page. That isn't a slight, just a discernible change of tack.
So buy the book if you're a digital addict looking for a way to stop staring at your phone - but otherwise, the book might prove a bit light weight and irrelevant.
I give this book five stars because it was a page-turner that held my interest throughout. However, there were a couple of points that I felt could be improved upon:
The only section that was clunky was "Use social media like a professional". It discusses a social media expert who "prefers the pronoun they/their to she/her". Fair enough, but the confusion between singular and plural made it very difficult to understand who was being referred to, and I found it hard to read. This section should have been rewritten to use more direct quotes from the expert, to get around this.
Also, the summary of key points for this book would be quite short, and I wonder if it was a bit longer than it really needed to be.
Still, great work, and well worth a read.
The solutions presented are clear, logical, and perfectly reasonable both in scope and feasibility. I have already started my digital declutter.
It's rare that I settle down and spend an entire day reading a book from cover-to-cover. I did so with this one, and I recommend you do the same.