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Digital Minimalism Cal Newport s Digital Minimalism is Marie Kondo s tidying philosophy applied to technology technology isn t inherently bad or good, but it should be judiciously curated to fit your pre existing values of what constitutes a good life Rather than going to Facebook or Instagram or a news feed of breaking news to find human connection and entertainment, pre decide what you value in the spheres of entertainment and connection and then tailor the tools of social media to achieve those pre defined objectives The structure of Newport s arguments social media tools like Facebook and Twitter have been ruthlessly engineered to take up as much of our time as possible the human brain is built in such a way that we become anxious and stressed seeking these notifications, yet their arrival fails to meet our need for real social communication eliminating the things we ve come to take for granted constant access to a mobile phone, social media, and the internet is much possible than it sounds and is likely to result in significant long term benefits This last point forms the crux of much of what this book is based on, an experiment Newport ran with 1,600 of his e mail list subscribers who already agreed to a 30 day digital detox and then shared their experiences with him Many of Newport s insights come from what his readers discovered, and throughout the book, he lays out various ways to try this detox in your own life.I suspect it will be difficult to fully appreciate this book unless you implement the recommended intervention Without trying it, this book borders being viewed as one of the many get rid of your smartphone writings that have begun to appear over the last few years I ve read most of Newport s previous books, and this was the first time I felt he published in the middle of a trend, rather than being at the forefront, or even being the catalyst for, a trend Part of this is the fault of the book itself unlike Deep Work or So Good They Can t Ignore You, it s poorly structured The guide to follow the digital detox is all over the place, with some steps in the first few chapters and some in the last few Newport introduces it before he s had you buy in to the idea with background information on why digital addiction is bad, etc That also means even readers who do try to implement the detox might not do so the way Newport intended, and fall off the wagon before they achieve the end goal Due to being a longtime reader of Newport, I actually participated in his initial digital detox experiment and can say it works, and it can significantly change your life It s why I gave this book 3 starts instead of 2 in addition to the structural issue, Newport s examples are often superficial and mainstream and unlikely to be new to many readers Newport also offers three key points that might be lost if you re not paying attention closely First, he is not advocating for the elimination of all social tools He is advocating instead for an intentional approach to your life understanding your values, understanding what you need, and then crafting how you approach social media in response to that With the recent disconnect trend, his work risks being labeled as a get rid of everything when instead he s only advocating get rid of everything for 30 days as a way to gather data about what s truly important to you Second, and possibly even important you will not succeed at removing social media and other distracting digital agents from your life unless you have something substantive to fill them with Great, you stopped bingewatching Netflix for 3 hours each night but if you haven t cultivated something intentional to fill that three hours with rock climbing, in person dinner with friends, mastering the art of cooking, whatever , you ll feel restless and empty and slide back into your previous habits Finally, there is a difference between connecting with your network passively liking someone s new baby photos and truly cultivating a relationship with them going over to friend s house to meet said new baby We are being pushed and to connect, but connections are meaningless without those deeper underpinnings Up until now, we ve tended to talk about technology as all good Newport encourages us to view it, some parts of this are useful use only those parts Time, as he discusses, is literally money and your time starting a screen is making other people money The people who built Facebook could not have done so if they had spent hours every day on social media platforms So, in summary An important message but you have to do Newport s actual detox that being said, this book is poorly structured and is a lot of repackaging of other people s ideas. 5 Stars Where we want to be cautious is when the sound of a voice or a cup of coffee with a friend is replaced with likes on a post. Read This Book Have you ever told someone in your life you just didn t have enough time in the day to get everything done Have you thought about why that is Maybe look down and see what you ve been doing for the last 5, 10 or even 60 minutes Probably scrolling through your phone Sometimes with intention but sadly a lot of the time we are on our phones because of we are boredom or we are addicted and fear FOMO.A little background before I get into this book and why it s very important I ve always been into tech I started at a young age, went to college and got a Web Dev Interactive Media degree and I ve had jobs in Digital Marketing, Email Marketing and now Cyber Security I use tech each and everyday so you may be asking why I think this book is so important and questioning why I agree there is a problem Well because I started to notice it in my own life and around me I d go meet a friend and they d sit there scrolling through their phone while i m trying to talk to them I ve watched family members sit on their phones while we re supposed to be spending time together I looked around my train car the last couple days at 95% of people sat there scrolling through their phones and most of it was social media, not work I watch families of 4 go out to eat and all 4 parents and kids are on their phones Why bother going out I know you may thinking well that s their choice and I agree but I personally don t want to lose human interaction to my phone or my time to my phone other tech Mindless scrolling because I m bored or that I m afraid I m going to miss out just isn t worth my mental health or relationships I also started to recently feel depressive and sad feelings while being on social media It made me feel sad watching others thrive in their life and I felt insignificant in a way The Facebook effect is real and I firsthand have felt it Just remember there was once a time when we didn t have all this tech or phones and we were connected, less anxious and we still survived I realize I m typing this on a digital site and it has to be read here but just hear me outDIGITAL MINIMALISM takes us through different steps that you can go through to become a digital minimalist What is one you ask 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 with meaning and satisfaction Newport takes us through almost detoxing yourself from doing tech activities without intention So if you spend 2 hours a day on facebook, try taking it off your phone so you can get over the urge of automatically opening it and then set aside specific time to go on it and try to use it with high intention so that you really get something out of it Technology is not good or bad and Cal is actually a Computer Scientist, it s so about how we use it and how we can change that to be healthy.I personally made a few changes my husband and I do not look at our phones during dinner or any meal together In fact, I try to leave my phone in the car or at home as much as I can I put on night mode at night I put my phone farther away at night I turned off almost all phone notifications The next step is to delete some low intention social media apps.If you are ready to take back control of your time and not feel like you need your phone attached to you every second then definitely read this book It s simple but powerful and it has a lot of interesting studies background on technology as a whole I personally love technology it is my job after all but I m ready to use it intentionally then mindlessly and strengthen my human face to face connections rather than hoovering behind a screen I think my neck, thumbs and hands will probably thank me too Cal Newport provided practical advice on how to embrace the philosophy of Digital Minimalism Spend time alone to gain solitude Leave your phone at home Take long walks Write letters to yourself journaling Don t click likes Avoid falling into the slot machine feedback loop of likes Consolidate texting hold conversation office hours Reclaiming conversations Reclaim Leisure prioritize demanding leisure activity over pass consumption use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world seek leisure activities with real world, structured social interactions fix, or build something every week schedule low quality leisure join something e.g a community follow leisure plan Join the attention resistance delete social media from your phone turn your device into single purpose computers embrace slow media dumb down your smart phone 3.5 stars I appreciate the thesis that by choosing to minimize technology in our day to day lives, we re choosing to be deliberate with how we spend our time I liked some of the advice to consolidate texting, hold conversation office hours, and in general, choose to be purposeful with what energy we give to reacting to others I think this book would have been stronger if he provided research to this points rather than random anecdotes about people who decide to step away from technology A few pieces throughout the middle also felt like fluff to fill up the book i.e the rock paper scissors championship, the fantasy board game groups, and anecdotes about old white dudes like Henry David Thoreau It would have served better to take stories of the modern day person who has to be ingrained in technology, like someone working in Silicon Valley, and solutions for how to balance professional requirements with self preservation and mindfulness. I like the idea in here less is We do not need all the apps and the social platforms He s definitely talking to someone like me here I am not a huge consumer of these platforms mostly this is age related However, I listened to his book using audible and some apps have really helped me expand my mind meditation apps and audible are two There is no room in Newport s framework for using smartphones in a good way He s sort of an intellectual luddite I get this and sometimes I think it s easier to draw crisp and bright lines and never walk over them lest you get sucked in, but perhaps we need to think about our relationship with our app filled phones before we just swear them off I think the better plan would be to practice radical consciousness when dealing with tech To not walk numbly and dumbly into each platform and let it take our free will. I ve been thinking a lot these days about making deliberate tech choices No one human not even Steve Jobs ever expected technology to invade our lives the way it has Instead, keeping us tethered to our tech and pulling that lever became the most popular and obvious way to monetize the Internet, and we individuals became, not the consumers, but the product being sold And instead of cutting ourselves some slack billions of dollars have been spent in the name of making the screens around us stickier and sticker, is it any wonder we re drawn in we feel guilty, as I did the other night, about being too weak to just shut it off and look away The perfect antidote to that guilt is Cal Newport s Digital Minimalism Newport skips the guilt noting that we didn t ask for this and really could not have been prepared for it and challenges to ask ourselves what am I trying to do when I use this technology and is this the best way to serve that goal Build a philosophy around your tech use and you ll use your tech wisely I m trying, and this book is helping. Deleted Facebook and Facebook messenger off my phone thanks to this book Hard not to feel guilty over phone use after reading, probably because I know I waste too much time on it.Would read this one again to help ingrain the importance of living the minimally digital lifeThe 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 smokingUPDATE It s been almost 2 months since I deleted FB and FB Messenger off my phone Still loving it, and checking it less and less in general This book has remained top of mind since I read it, and keeps popping up in my life If you re interested in a good discussion around Newport s books and ideas, Rich Roll interviewed Cal on his podcast and its an excellent episodeNo longer need anyone ever be bored Alone with one s thoughts Or simply present with one s self The result is a global epidemic of distraction A fomenting of loneliness and isolation And a degradation of our humanity.The solution isn t Ludditism Instead it s agency We need not be victims of technology We have the power to liberate ourselves from the tether of digital dependency And the freedom it creates isn t just the salve to what ails us, it s the gateway to that which we seek most Meaning True human connection And a reconnection with our innate humanity.Indeed, there is no substitute for real relationships Boredom is useful And focus is the new superpowerRRP Episode 447 Newport is the Marie Kondo of digital tidiness Solitude is essential for creating new ideas, solitude as in the freedom from input from other mindsMany people mistakenly associate solitude with physical separation requiring, perhaps, that you hike to a remote cabin miles from another human being This flawed definition introduces a standard of isolation that can be impractical for most to satisfy on any sort of regular basis As Kethledge and Erwin explain, however, solitude is about what s happening in your brain, not the environment around you Accordingly, they define it to be a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other mindsCal Newport, Digital MinimalismNewport doesn t have to convince me, I m a big fan of my personal time Cal s call to Spend More Time Alone makes me think of Virginia Wolf s A Room of One s Own.Really, I ll accept any theories that justify my proclivity for reading alone Reframing Solitude in the Digital Age If you are ready to make radical changes in your approach to tech in your life, this book is for you It has been life altering in the best possible ways for me I m noticing that the people who aren t ready to make changes tend to get defensive and call Newport a Luddite However, if you almost never use your phone except for making phone calls or don t use social media, you can probably skip it Or if you ve already read other books on the topic, maybe this covers the same ground I haven t read some of the other popular titles so I m not sure about that. I badly wanted to like this book I really did Because I have very much enjoyed other books by Cal Newport So Good That They Can t Ignore You and Deep Work Both have inspired me a lot and I have recommended these to others in many occasions.This book was way below my expectations I m afraid it s not the book, it s me The practical value for me was minimal as I have already implemented a lot of things he proposes in the book.As Cal Newport mentions that he sees the digital minimalism trend gaining momentum I thought this book has the potential to be the bible for this movement But I don t believe that happens because the message in this book is not clear enough There are really no core underlying principles for this digital minimalism philosophy that Cal Newport tries to communicate in this book or he just did a poor job at it I would have expected that he would lay out the laws or principles of digital minimalist at the start of the book and reinforce them through anecdotes in the rest of the book For me there were only loosely related anecdotes where sometimes I scratched my head and thought how is that relevant to this topic This book seems to have identity crisis As Cal himself mentioned at the start of the book he usually doesn t write practical books And this book is neither theoretically coherent nor is it well structured practical book It s somewhere between and it s a shame His research in this topic is very thorough and the examples and tips he offers are actually useful.One thing that irritated me a little was his dismissive attitude towards blog posts with tips to turn off notifications on your smartphone and then he goes on in the book and does exactly the same thing Of course he also talked about that you need a deeper philosophy to actually make these changes in your life but for me he failed at communicating it clearly enough.One of the biggest grievances for me was lack of authors understanding of how habits work This book would have been sooo much better when he would have actually connected our harmful digital behaviours with fundamental habit changing theory.If you would like to get pretty much the same content in a much clearer and practical form I would highly recommend you read Atomic Habits by James Clear and Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky Former gives a very solid understanding of the psychology behind habit change and the latter gives over 80 highly practical tactics to find better focus and energy in this distracting world. 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 WorldIn This Timely And Enlightening Book, The Bestselling Author Of Deep Work Introduces A Philosophy For Technology Use That Has Already Improved Countless LivesDigital 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 SatisfactionNow, 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 ConditionsDrawing 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 In ControlTechnology 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


About the Author: Cal Newport

Cal Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and the author most recently of Deep Work, a book which argues that focus is the new I.Q in the modern workplace, and So Good They Can t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long held belief that follow your passion is good advice He has also written three popular books of unconventional advice for students Hi


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