Published by Penguin Audio on February 5, 2019
Length: 6 hrs 59 mins
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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.
The blurb gives a clear idea of what Digital Minimalism is all about. We’ve become addicted to social media/binge-watching/videogames. And our ever present smartphones are just increasing our dependence. Newport advocates stepping away from all social media for 30 days and then only add things that truly enhance your life, and even those need to be added cautiously and perhaps with rules attached.
He makes some really great points although not revolutionary. I actually like the parts about what to do instead of endlessly scrolling and liking most. I already know I need to spend less time on my phone, but I like the suggestions he has. He stresses the importance of solitude. He wants us to learn new skills and make/fix things. We need to actually interact with people, preferably in person, but an actual phone conversation, not texting, is good too.
I listened to this, ironically enough, via the Audible App on my phone. I think I need to pick up a physical copy so I can mark it up and refer back to it occasionally. It definitely made me think about how I use both my phone and social media.