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The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've…
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The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant… (original 2015; edition 2014)

by Michael Harris (Author)

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19715100,822 (3.37)6
"Only one generation in history (ours) will experience life both with and without the Internet. For everyone who follows us, online life will simply be the air they breathe. Today, we revel in ubiquitous information and constant connection, rarely stopping to consider the implications for our logged-on lives. Michael Harris chronicles this massive shift, exploring what we've gained--and lost--in the bargain. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Harris argues that our greatest loss has been that of absence itself--of silence, wonder, and solitude. It's a surprisingly precious commodity, and one we have less of every year. Drawing on a vast trove of research and scores of interviews with global experts, Harris explores this "loss of lack" in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. The book's message is urgent: once we've lost the gift of absence, we may never remember its value"--… (more)
Member:Grobiewan
Title:The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection
Authors:Michael Harris (Author)
Info:Current (2014), 256 pages
Collections:Your library
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The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection by Michael Harris (2015)

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English (14)  German (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Interesting rumination but, despite what the goal of the author might be, the argument is a little soft. ( )
  TegarSault | Jul 16, 2020 |
This book presents a lot of interesting ideas about our reliance and constant connection to the internet (social media, email, etc.). It's neither negative not positive, and the author concludes that it's not about good or bad, but about finding balance and using these tools wisely. ( )
  obtusata | Jan 9, 2020 |
The author takes a look at Internet culture, and asks what we have lost in return for constant connectivity. He researches his topic well, and is able to back up many of his claims with research. He writes very well, but I will admit that it is disconcerting at times to hear someone born in 1980 wonder what happened to the years of his young adulthood before the Internet. I have to say, he is about the age of my son, and he had no adulthood without the Internet. I expect he is thinking more about the constant barrage now, mainly with smart phones, of never leaving any part of your world behind because you are carrying it all with you, but it is still able to induce a skeptical snort from an old timer like myself who really does remember the world before the Internet...in fact, I can still remember rotary phones, I am that old. There are also some places where his youth leads him down some questionable alleys, such as assuming when his friends hand their toddler in a high chair a tablet to keep him quiet at a restaurant - what choice do they have? Uh, the same choices we had when you were young...pick the damn kid up and pay attention to him for five minutes. So, other than some moments of silliness, and the assumption that the world will continue going this way for ever (hello? have you heard of the environmental catastrophe we are headed for?), he does a good job with his subject, and does in the end advocate for at least some time of silence, of loneliness, of just being in the world, rather than detaching from it, or accessing it only virtually. He does not suggest he has the answers, but he is willing to ask the questions. ( )
  Devil_llama | Dec 8, 2019 |
I've talked about, recommended and pulled parts of this book away to think more about since finishing it only a couple days ago -

why? Perhaps because it was for me a winning combination of a seemingly sincere journalistic rather than highbrow examination of ideas with a candid, even droll memoir - to me an irresistible pairing perfect for the subject matter ! ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
The End of Absence is a book covering a subject I personally have great interest in: "How should those of us think about a world that is fundamentally different than it was even a couple decades ago?" ... and, to be more specific, will people who only ever grew up with the internet ever be able to appreciate (or return to) the world before the internet?

I was able to pick this book up fairly cheap off eBay (about $4, with free shipping) and I was surprised to find so many used copies for a book that only came out a few years ago (later on I realized why so few kept their copy). Still, I devoured it upon getting it in the mail, mainly because I was so excited to see if the author was going to elaborate on a subject that had been in my mind for quite awhile. And for the first few chapters of the book, I really got the impression that this 200 page book would do just that.

Instead, I soon found myself being caught off guard by the author's references to "his partner," and "his boyfriend." Fine, I thought, this professional writer for magazines and newspapers in Canada likes men -- not my cup of tea -- but perhaps these were just slips of the tongue while he detailed his own journey into how the internet affects his life. But then, in Chapter 8 or so, near the tail end of the book, we encounter an entire chapter filled with lewd and risque references to all sorts of things he finds hunky-dory in his choice of lifestyle. I mean, stuff I wouldn't read to my parents. I skipped most of the chapter, because I had no interest in the "hookup" patterns of men, or the detailed garbage that made up that corner of the internet/app industry. It was at this point, while reading this divisive chapter tucked far away at the end, did I realize that this is yet another subtle leftist agenda book aimed at poisoning the mind of readers, masquerading as an non-fiction work of research. If Chapter 8 was Chapter 2 or 3, I and most others would have put it down immediately.

If I were to recommend the book to anyone for its subject, they would get the author's deviant mindset included. No thanks.

Also, after the first 25% of the book, the entire thing starts to fall apart on the core subject matter. Even without his "partner" stuff the book falls on its face. He spends way too much time talking about memorization and reading War and Peace and how he can't function without email for a month. Absolutely none of this covers real problems, like young person academic abilities in K-12, relationships being damaged by always-on connectivity, the dangers of not reading, the loss of payphones/non-cellphone connectivity and the benefits of a slower news cycle, to name a few. Basically, the author was obsessed with discussing "absence" ... but ironically his book is absent of a purpose. ( )
  scottcc | Mar 23, 2018 |
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"Only one generation in history (ours) will experience life both with and without the Internet. For everyone who follows us, online life will simply be the air they breathe. Today, we revel in ubiquitous information and constant connection, rarely stopping to consider the implications for our logged-on lives. Michael Harris chronicles this massive shift, exploring what we've gained--and lost--in the bargain. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Harris argues that our greatest loss has been that of absence itself--of silence, wonder, and solitude. It's a surprisingly precious commodity, and one we have less of every year. Drawing on a vast trove of research and scores of interviews with global experts, Harris explores this "loss of lack" in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. The book's message is urgent: once we've lost the gift of absence, we may never remember its value"--

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