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Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life…
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Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (edition 2019)

by Cal Newport (Author)

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9102718,015 (3.92)7
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller "Newport is making a bid to be the Marie Kondo of technology: someone with an actual plan for helping you realize the digital pursuits that do, and don't, bring value to your life."--Ezra Klein, Vox 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 focused life in an increasingly noisy world. 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 get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without 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 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. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don't go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead 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, 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.… (more)
Member:pqfuller
Title:Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Authors:Cal Newport (Author)
Info:Portfolio (2019), 304 pages
Collections:To read
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Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Cal Newport’s thinking on digital tools and technology is insightful as anyone. I really enjoyed this book and the way it helped me self reflect on my own usage of technology. His book is helping me evaluate certain tools I use and how to optimize this technology. I found the book very useful and practical.

The book is composed of two sections. The first three chapters make up the foundations section and the final four chapters lay out the practices portion of the book. Here, he dives into common practices one can implement to join the “attention resistance” and fill life with more valuable and meaningful endeavors.

Newport is not against technology. In fact, he is far from advocating for a digitally nomad lifestyle. In this book, he highlights how quickly technology is adopted into one’s life before considering what role it should have. His thesis: The digital minimalist is opposite the default maximalist who welcomes all activities with any perceived benefit. The minimalist works backwards from deeply held values in deciding how to live and what technology to use. Digital clutter is often more costly than we realize and the optimization step is frequently skipped in evaluating whether or not technology brings value to our lives (ch. 2).

Though Newport’s emphasis is not on the motivational factors at play as to why there are various problems in our online habits, he does highlight how the major Silicon Valley developers and technology corporations are putting in a great deal of research into generating apps for compulsive use. The up scroll refresh mimics a slot machine, with a promised hit of dopamine resulting when a shiny new red notification flashes on screen.

To further the discussion, I think it is worth noting that the source of the addictive nature of various apps is located in the human heart and its propensity for approval, not the mechanism or app itself. App developers are adept at playing on these desires and creating a medium that is geared purely toward compulsive use. The problem lies not with them, but in our own lack of self-control combined with inner desires. Much more could be said biblically, but Newport himself later reveals, “The intermittent positive reinforcement and drive for social approval” (17) dictate much of our online activity. I think he is right. ( )
  joshcrouse3 | Sep 17, 2021 |
The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.

[b:Digital Minimalism|40672036|Digital Minimalism Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World|Cal Newport|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1549433350l/40672036._SY75_.jpg|63988240] makes a strong claim that modern smartphones and social media are every bit as addictive and dangerous as any number of more well known drugs and that we'd be well put to cut out or at least drastically reduce the amount of digital 'clutter' in our lives.

It's not actually a terrible idea and it actually gave me the push I needed to change a fair few things about how I use technology. I'd already deleted Twitter and Facebook from my phone months ago and only check them on my computer for no more than one time / ten minutes a day (if that). But I still found myself spending far too much time on Reddit and watching YouTube on my phone, as well as on digital card games such as Hearthstone and Eternal. So away went all of those as well.

That being said, while the idea is actually pretty nice, the book itself is fairly week. There are long anecdotes about various famous people with various ideas about solitude, many of which just don't seem practical in the modern world, not without being a pre-made millionaire. Often I found myself wondering: why is this section even here. And even the good points get made over again. Despite 1/3 of the book being made of notes (when it ended before 70%, I was surprised...), it could have been shorter.

That being said, if you find yourself spending entirely too much time on a phone or particularly scrolling through the same Facebook (etc) newsfeed over and over again... give this a read. Perhaps it will help.

Aside: The section on Amish culture and the comparison to the Mennonites was pretty interesting, if a bit lengthy. I should read more about them, it sounds like an interesting philosophy.

The problem is not electricity; it’s the fact that the grid connects them too strongly to the world outside of their local community, violating the Amish commitment to the biblical tenet to “be in the world, but not of it.” ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Provides a solid, principled approach to paring down one's reliance on online communities, software, games, as well as cell phones and similar time sucks. I had started down that road some years ago after reading Sherry Turkle's [b:Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age|24612127|Reclaiming Conversation The Power of Talk in a Digital Age|Sherry Turkle|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1435359741l/24612127._SY75_.jpg|44223191], and more in the intervening years, but this filled in a few holes and introduced me some useful tools and techniques.

I'd have rated this higher except for what everyone in my book club (we are all software industry folks) agreed was an annoyingly smug and superior tone. I think we are told four or five times that the author has never had a social media account of any kind. One of the later chapters is how to set limits when you engage with social media if you can't/won't avoid it completely. This felt very much like "Here's how to use social media if you absolutely have to, you schmuck."

Oh well, unless you think that'll make you throw this through a window, it's probably worth reading. ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
Cal Newport takes a long look at our screen addictions and what it's doing to our collective psyches. To his credit, he does devote a good amount of the text to suggestions for how to keep this addiction in check. The book gets 3 1/2 stars from me because much of this material I already understood (the NYT has covered a lot of this over the years), and it seems a bit padded. That said, there is a lot here for anyone who is a novice to the concept that our digital life is harming us in ways we often have not understood. I removed myself from social media at least 10 years ago because I felt it wasn't a good use of my time and I was beginning to judge others - and all for what? A peek into the lives of people I barely knew? Basically, he's saying that we need to get out more and have face-to-face interactions and re-learn how to engage with the physical world. This leads to a richer lifestyle. I certainly agree. This is an area I have long been interested in, as I have seen people more and more attached to their phones and anxious when the phone was out of reach. For someone who has lived most of my life without a cell phone, the need for constant access seems bizarre. I have also been reading lately about increases in anxiety and depression among young people, and the ties to social media. So the book has some value. I'm certainly glad to have read it. ( )
  peggybr | Jul 10, 2021 |
It’s been a while since I took a good look inward at my social media habits. This book forced me to do that - and I didn’t like what I saw.

To list out what Cal mentions about social media addiction is basically just looking in the mirror for me and many people. We pick our phones to fill time, creating a loop of services that provide us with variable rewards that keep us coming back for more.

He’s careful to say that social media (or any service that we mindlessly consume) isn’t bad, but our relationship with it can be unhealthy.

One thing that stuck with me was the idea that all that time spent makes it feel like we’re connected to people, but in reality we aren’t. It’s time away from building real friendships and growing real relationships.

After reading this I immediately decided to do my own 30-day digital declutter. 4 days in now and I’ve already stopped checking my phone constantly - although that’s mostly because every app is organized and I’ve written Goodreads reviews for everything I’ve read. Looking forward to seeing where this goes next. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
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A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller "Newport is making a bid to be the Marie Kondo of technology: someone with an actual plan for helping you realize the digital pursuits that do, and don't, bring value to your life."--Ezra Klein, Vox 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 focused life in an increasingly noisy world. 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 get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without 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 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. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don't go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. What we need instead 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, 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.

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