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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

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1,0552815,505 (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:Pxan02
Title:Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Authors:Cal Newport
Info:Portfolio, Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags: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 28 (next | show all)
Wish it was based in research and brain science rather than research-like anecdotes and individual storytelling experiences. Wanted to like it but could have used a research partner to do a lot review prior to writing. ( )
  Automaticleigh | Mar 3, 2022 |
It is a good book but it could probably be half the length. Read the first 100 pages and you get the core philosophy, which is to always scrutinize your digital life with the following three questions:

1. Is this technology supporting things that I value deeply?
2. Is this *best* technology to do so?
3. If it is the best, how should I use it to maximize its benefits and minimize its harm?

The goal is to live an intentional life, according to the author it is very similar to the Amish attitude towards technology. Asking these three questions is the strategy. The rest of the book is filled various tactics and they are the weaker part. They are kind of random and how much they are useful really depend on one's circumstances.

During reading, I notice that self-help book has the strong tendency to refer to other self help books. "Self-help Universe"?

Oh yeah this book also makes me want to reread and re-evaluate [b:Walden|16902|Walden|Henry David Thoreau|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1465675526l/16902._SY75_.jpg|2361393]. ( )
  footgun | Feb 28, 2022 |
Newport lays out a confident road map for redefining our relationship with our phones, our computers, apps, the internet, and how we choose to engage.

A lot of this book is common sense, and yet, when you've been conditioned to dwell in the escapist "slot machine" surreality of your phone, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, you realize you might need something more than common sense to take action. This book provides incentive, inspiration, and motivation.

I appreciate Newport's "30 Day Declutter" approach, followed by a purposeful, mindful reintroduction of only what feels necessary and valuable to you. The declutter takes place in three steps: First, decide which technologies are "optional" - the ones you don't need to truly function at work or in your personal realm.

It's thoughtful and likely a better methodology than "cold turkey" (I'll let you know in a month or so). I also appreciate how he provides examples and explanations of the way in which these various platforms strive to "hook us", not unlike Big Tobacco did decades before. He describes it as a lifestyle we didn't stumble into, but rather fell backward into - or were pushed. That's because when many of us first engaged with social media, it was less sticky, mostly uninterested in scavenging your time and attention. Now, it is a tentacled, seductive siren that calls us, draws us in, and keeps us there - some of us for hours a day.

I waffled as to whether to read this book. I have read plenty of articles and books about phone/internet addiction, but not one that so illustratively highlights how we've - slowly - sunk into the quicksand that we believed was solid ground.

Not to play the victim card. We are, after all, supposed to be the masters of our own destiny. This book goes a long way toward providing some solid tools to reclaim our independence. Again, I can't swear by it, because I'm just starting the experiment myself. However, I feel well armed, well informed, and inspired.

Eager to read Newport's "Deep Work" next. ( )
  TommyHousworth | Feb 5, 2022 |
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 |
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In September 2016, the influential blogger and commentator Andrew Sullivan wrote a 7,000-word essay for New York magazine titled "I Used to Be a Human Being."
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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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