Book Review: Digital Minimalism - Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Posted on Aug 28, 2022 - 0 min read.
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Premise

Since the proliferation of the smartphone tech companies have figured out how to grab our attention with surgical precision. Our online habits have become so pervasive that we are measurably more anxious, less intentional, and they significantly degrade our interpersonal relationships. Digital Minimalism is a philosophy that aims to help you regain control of these habits and live a more meaningful and purposeful life.

My take

Just what I needed in life at this very moment. Cal Newport’s methodologies and ethos on living a more focused life are wonderful. Digital Minimalism isn't about cutting out social media, or deleting an app from your phone. It is about intentionally assessing the value that each digital outlet gives you, and finding viable alternatives. It's about connecting, once again, with the relationships in your life that truly matter, including yourself. I absolutely loved this book, particularly the chapters dedicated to Solitude.

Since reading this book I've removed all social media apps from my phone, almost entirely eliminated push notificaitons, and have begun leaving my phone (turned off) in my basement when I'm playing with my kids after school. It's had a tremendous impact on my mood and attention span. I highly recommend this book!

Favorite quotes

  • We didn’t sign up for the digital lives we now lead. They were instead, to a large extent, crafted in boardrooms to serve the interests of a select group of technology investors.
  • What all of us who struggle with these issues need—is a philosophy of technology use, something that covers from the ground up which digital tools we allow into our life, for what reasons, and under what constraints.
  • It’s easy to be seduced by the small amounts of profit offered by the latest app or service, but then forget its cost in terms of the most important resource we possess: the minutes of our life.
  • You cannot expect an app dreamed up in a dorm room, or among the Ping-Pong tables of a Silicon Valley incubator, to successfully replace the types of rich interactions to which we’ve painstakingly adapted over millennia.
  • Extracting eyeball minutes, the key resource for companies like Google and Facebook, has become significantly more lucrative than extracting oil.
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