Reviews

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport

pearseanderson's review

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2.0

I am not finishing this! I am a third of the way through and I don't want to continue. Newport is an outsider to digital culture, which yes gives him an important perspective but also means that Newport has an especially hard time grasping the nuance and importance of the internet, especially to marginalized groups. This books seems to be written for a white middle class, which is fairly narrow. The internet operates very differently when we're looking at it from the perspective of sex workers, closeted queer teens, or undocumented families trying to navigate where is safe. By a third in, all of that nuance is stripped out and replaced with "Do you really need this? Apply some rules I'll call nuanced but aren't, and then think about your life." Newport doesn't seem to believe noise is that important, but noise can wake us up. Noise can reveal a Greek choir of voices, which can be synthesized into powerful perspectives: that's why journalism needs both data journalism AND personal essays. He's navigating this all just from the essay of the individual, the personal essay, the fucking WALDEN POND example. I see its value but I don't respect the way Newport is writing about the digital world or the lack of a spine this book seems to have. I don't want to finish a book I don't respect.

madeline_'s review

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informative medium-paced

3.0

I have always felt like the internet and all the tools it comes with was overwhelming. I have never been one that is too drawn in to all the apps and notifications and such. This was a nice read in that it really highlighted some good skills to develop a better relationship with smartphones and the wild wild west of the internet. However, there were moments where it felt a bit preachy and as if the author was trying to shame the reader if they are a person who enjoys and thrives off the use of social media and its many aspects. 

Overall a good book to remind me why I limit notifications and the apps I do have in favor of hobbies. 

pbbcaa's review

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Ran out of time

farahg's review

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Realized I already do digital minimalism lol

mollymkruse's review

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5.0

The author over-uses the verb “deploy,” but that’s my only criticism of this mind-blowing book. Seriously, it changed my whole way of thinking about technology and how I occupy my free time AT SEVERAL POINTS while reading.

davidgilani's review

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5.0

There are quite a lot of books, videos, podcasts and movies out there these days about minimalism (Cal is often involved in quite a few of them). Whilst it's not exactly a new topic and it's hard to find anything revolutionary on the subject, this book is brilliant because it's practical, direct, and succinct.

It doesn't go on and on with a lot of the same messages, but just focuses on what digital minimalism is (in short - being deliberate with only utilising technologies that add significant value and joy to your life, rather than just always focusing on 'efficiency'), why it's worthwhile and how to go about it.

It's also wonderfully practical with steps that anyone can follow and examples of how people have put them into practice. I would say that I'm already on board with the overall principles of minimalism, so perhaps this book would be a bit too quick and direct for those that aren't supportive of the idea. But for me, I came away with lots of great ways to put those overall minimalist ideas into practice in the digital world.

jbrins1's review

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5.0

This book is clear, concise, and gives and easy to follow outline for anyone looking to minimize digital distractions. However, the real reason for the 5 star rating is that it caused me to change some of my daily interactions with technology and be more mindful and deliberate with the things that fill my time.

ninagudruna's review

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challenging informative inspiring medium-paced

5.0

amyguan's review

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Got a bit repetitive

surtadave's review

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5.0

my favorite non-fiction book ever!!!

This review won’t be fully complete until after my exam on Friday but here are some initial thoughts:

READ THIS BOOK!!! no pressure but I highly recommend it if you’ve been struggling with what you want social media’s role in your life to be. I got social media at a young age (12-13) like many people my age and it’s quickly become something I use all the time to connect with friends, keep up with people I don’t regularly see, and document my life in sorts as well. The usage and apps has significantly increased over the years, though it’s gone up and down. Ive had times where I’ve deleted things like snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram off my phone and now it’s more off and on.

I first realized an issue when I found out “screen time” was a thing on the iPhone and it told you how much time you are spending on your apps (highly recommend looking at this) and it put so much into perspective. I spent 10-12 hours a DAY using apps on my phone, one week there was a time when I spent 12 hours on tik tok so embarrassing! Granted some of these hours are quick looking up things or school or on amboss or playing a YouTube video while I’m getting ready BUT STILL! It’s very unnecessary especially when I realize these apps do not really make me happy and realized they actually cause anxiety, stress, and many unnecessary comparisons of my life to others.

There is things I didn’t agree with, but the beauty of this book is I can pick and choose what aspects of this book to implement into my life for a benefit and which I can choose to ignore. For example, I’ll definitely be keeping goodreads as it’s motivated me to read more than I have in my entire life and allows me to get book recs, see what others thing of books I’ve read, and more.

I listened to the audiobook but I am going to get the physical copy so I can read through it at anytime and literally write notes of what I want to do for myself!

Go read this please!!!