Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: Book Review

Yet Another Cal Newport Review, ay?

You may be beginning to notice a pattern here. But seriously, The man is such an intuitive and practical writer.

If you are anything like me, you may find that a lot of precious time gets sucked away by the internet, or digital world. In fact, this has become such a problem that 92% of teens go online daily, and 24% say they go online “almost constantly.” The internet may be really useful, but if it manages to control US, we know that we are making some serious mistakes.

This great book aims to give us a solution to this problem, and bare with me… It is not as radical as it seems.

The main premise is to advocate a more mindful/intentional way of using the technology beaming into our faces, rather than cutting out the use of it completely.

Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

It is brought to our attention that the big Social Media Conglomerates are manufactured with the intention to capture your screen time.

Think about it. How many times have you opened Reddit, Instagram, or YouTube and start browsing, browsing, browsing, and then notice that you have been looking at cat memes for about 4 hours!

Digital Minimalism offers extensive and practice solutions to this problem to name a few, there are: - embracing solitude (the book talks about how solitude is more important than it may seem) - participate in active leisure rather than passive leisure (i.e., it’s better to play a sport with friends or learn a new skill than to binge-watch Netflix) - do a digital detox/declutter (refrain from non-essential internet use for a period of 30 days to reset your compulsive habits) - start active socializing (talking to friends face to face generates greater satisfaction and meaningful conversations opposed to low bandwidth text messaging)

A digital minimalist values benefit over everything else. Its basic economics. If something doesn’t give better returns on investment, it might as well be booted. To put it simply, if something costs more than it produces, it is not worth your effort. (cost doesn’t necessarily need to mean money, it can also be applied to time or something valuable.)

The book promises that with mindful behavior regarding technology, your productivity, and wellbeing would increase exponentially more than if you took everything in the digital world at face value.

We are entering a new era, a strange era of massive amounts of information our primitive minds cannot handle. If we are reasonable with this power, we will succeed as a species.

Footnotes

Read the book. Seriously.

Thank you to cal’s and Samuel D. Davis’s blogs for helping me consolidate my thoughts.