Digital Minimalism

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You would have to have been hiding under a fairly impressive rock to not know that people are worried about how much we use our phones and digital media.  Digital Minimalism is one of the books on the subject that has come out recently.  Cal Newport, the author, comes at the topic from a scientific perspective.  Cal breaks down how the media affects us, from the recent epidemic of anxiety issues to the loneliness that everyone seems to be feeling these days, and demonstrates what some ways to get out of it are.  His most extreme, and longest lasting, fix is getting rid of anything you do not actually need for survival on your phone, for thirty days.  This includes email if you do not need it for work and definitely includes that guilty pleasure game you pull out in lines at the grocery store.  The thing that still has me on the fence is his idea of getting rid of my podcast app as well.  That would just hurt.  I love my podcasts.  To Cal’s point, it stops me from thinking about things in life, from random stuff to big decisions, and counts to the constant distractions we face in life that stops us from going deep on ourselves.  He makes it akin to always being in school and never applying the work.  Sure you learn a lot, but if you are always learning and never applying then you become an encyclopedia.  You are useful but not really practiced.  The analogy is mine so don’t blame him for it.

My overall point, and the reason for this post, is that as a society we have a messed up relationship with our phones.  Stephen King wrote a book called Cell a while ago.  I mean the cover is a flip phone, at least on the one I read, but it had the zombie apocalypse coming through cell phones.  He was not far off.  Sure, we can joke about it, and I have seen the memes to prove it.  However, just because it is a stereotype doesn’t mean there isn’t some truth.  So read this book and seriously reconsider that sturdily powerful computer you treat better than your best friend.  Know how I know?  Because you look at it while sitting next to them.  Least I do.

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner 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 feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Technology is intrinsically neither 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.

Cell

Graphic artist Clay Riddell was in the heart of Boston on that brilliant autumn afternoon when hell was unleashed before his eyes. Without warning, carnage and chaos reigned. Ordinary people fell victim to the basest, most animalistic destruction.

And the apocalypse began with the ring of a cell phone…. (back cover)