Book Review of Digital Minimalism

Book Review of Digital Minimalism by Peter Schutte

I just finished reading Cal Newport's, ‘Digital Minimalism’ and I wanted to record my thoughts while they are still fresh in my head. So here it goes ...

The book is a succinct and well researched piece of writing that takes a critical look at the way in which modern society uses digital communication tools. Its central point is that in the age of the attention economy, where smartphones act as modern day billboards and multinational IT firms have massive incentives for us to continue to increase our usage. We need to think more critically about how we use these new communication tools and the roles we allow them to play in our lives. 

A particularly illuminating thought that comes across, is the conceptualisation of a point at which more digital communication means less high quality and productive human life. A useful analogue with the economic principle of diminishing marginal returns is also drawn. As well as the related question, do we as individuals or as a society have an idea of where that point might be? The author does a good job of distinguishing different types of vocabulary and processes to divide up the types of tools and usage that will prove useful to the average person and the types they should probably stay away from. The author also highlights the role of conversation as a key component of high value communication, based on our biological evolution as species.

The goal of the book is to allow you to reclaim your sense of attention and purposefulness in the way that you use your time to accomplish productive goals. I really think that this book is a must-read for anybody who wants to begin the journey of being deliberate in the way that they use their time and could use a roadmap that incorporates that latest best practice knowledge, that digital communication tools play in this process. 


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