Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World is a well-written book with plenty of ideas to share. The writing is accessible and the audiobook well-narrated. The thesis here is that new technologies should be evaluated carefully before being incorporated as recurring parts of our lives. The benefit of convenience and quick communication offered by smartphones, email, and social media, come at a cost and this needs to be carefully considered. In addition to these ideas, Newport offers processes for technological decluttering and evaluation if one wants to pare down reliance on technology.

Generally, I was a fan of the book. The ideas have been widely circulated in the technology and productivity spaces online over the last few years, so most of the content was familiar ground for me. It was good to encounter them at their source and become familiar with Newport's own writing on the subject. Prioritizing personal values over trying to shoehorn new technology into them is an important and useful rearrangement of the lens of assessment offered here. 

I felt as though the anecdotes and examples in the latter two-thirds of the book could have been edited down significantly without losing much, functionally. I had several moments of "Could this book have been a long-form article instead?" Not a deal-breaker, but a feature of many nonfiction books of this type that I don't enjoy.

Definitely worth a read for anyone who is curious or hesitant about quick adoption of new technology and how it affects us in less-than-obvious ways, at least at first.. The processes outline for technological "detox" and decluttering could also be very useful experiments for folks concerned about their social media and communication technology usage. 

Andrew Rampton

Andrew Rampton

Treaty One Land