Lots of people feel that technology and screens are taking over their lives. Many people spend hours every day staring at screens. They feel exhausted and stressed. Their attention is constantly being distracted in multiple directions. The technological tools they use are addictive (often by design). People feel inadequate and depressed. Emotions are manipulated by constant online activity; people experience anger and outrage regularly.
The premise of Digital Minimalism is that people will be happier and more successful if they reduce their use of technology tools and focus on a small number of high value activities. This book tells us how to do that.
Mr. Newport tells us right up front that the goal of this book is to make the case for digital minimalism, including an explanation of how and why it works, and then teach us how to adopt this philosophy if it is right for each of us.
Part 1 explains why today’s technology tools are making our lives miserable, and then explains how digital minimalism can help solve these problems. He then proposes that we do a “digital declutter”—stepping away from optional online activities and devices for 30 days. This gives us the opportunity to wean ourselves from the cycles of addiction that today’s technological tools can instill, and rediscover analog activities that bring greater satisfaction: taking walks, talking to friends and family in person, engaging your community, reading books, and staring at the clouds. This provides an opportunity to understand and decide what we value most. At the end of 30 days, we can select a small number of tech tools to add back in, because we believe they will enhance the activities and values we think are most important. And we can leave the rest behind.
Part 2 examines ideas that will help us cultivate a sustainable digital minimalism lifestyle; for example, the author discusses the value of solitude and the necessity of cultivating high quality leisure activities to replace the time spent on mindless devise use. (This part of the book reminded me of the book Rest.) He suggests numerous tools and ideas we can use to achieve digital minimalism that will work for each of us, so we can each strike the balance that works for us.
This is a very helpful, practical book. I also highly recommend The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Mr. Newport's book Deep Work is also very excellent.
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I really enjoyed this book. The author does a good job of explaining the importance of digital minimalism while also embracing technology for purposeful endeavors. I feel fortunate to have had a smartphone free childhood. With a 2 year old I worry that humans will evolve to ask Google first and think second. We may become more advanced and enjoy a simpler life, but I'm concerned that we'll be leaving our humanity behind.
My new hymn book. I was headed in this direction already, but I took much more away from it than, "use optional technology less." It's really about living a more intentional life on a larger scale... in a very digestible way. I knocked a star off only because the anecdotal representation skewed middle/upper class.
Sounds rather intelligent - - certainly those smartphone zombies, with their 7-second attention spans, are the most easily duped and indoctrinated.
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