Welcome to the Lizzie Book Review for Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
All Lizzie Book Reviews are a 3 minute read, and in this format:
- Why I Chose This Book.
- The Review (under 300 words).
- My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.
1. Why I Chose This Book.
We tend to have a love hate relationship with technology. It can aid what we do but also fill our lives. We have come accustomed to fill all the layers of our life with doing. Many of us look back at the day and week and wonder where all the time we had has disappeared too. The screen time app on our phones tells us where. But how did that happen? This was a book I was hoping to give some tips and tools as to how I can become more conscious of my digital usage and more importantly fill my time with less digital ‘stuff’.
QUOTE: “More often than not, the cumulative cost of the non crucial things we clutter our lives with can far outweigh the small benefits each individual piece of clutter promises” p43
2. The Review.
A mix of research, stories and tips and tools, this is a book that brings to the forefront of your mind what you are using technology for to fill the layers of your life. I guess we all know this. The genius aspect of the book is that Newport adds simple ways or detoxing from the infectious technology habits we have (thanks to the investment by tech organisations to use behavioural science).
The book is divided into two sections the first, the foundations, includes what we are fighting against and going for a digital declutter for 31 days. The second is about practices we can embrace to help us keep the right balance with technology.
For those of you who enjoy a long read and an understanding of the background you will glide through the words with ease. For those of you who enjoy a short background with succinct ways as how to approach digital minimalism you may need a little more patience. Don’t give up though. I found some enlightening and thought provoking ideas. I particularly like the idea that we need to reclaim our leisure and I hadn’t come across the tribe of attention resistance people. The need to have time alone is important with maintaining digital minimalism.
QUOTE: “Stepping away for thirty one days provided clarity I didn’t know I was missing…..As I stand here now from the outside looking in I see there is so much more the world has to offer” p74
3. My scores for Creativity, Insight and Precision.
CREATIVITY – How interesting and innovative was it?
Some new ideas and some reinforcement of what many people are writing about. What was innovative was the simple ideas to support digital minimalism.
CREATIVITY SCORE: 7/10
INSIGHT – What will it teach you?
We need to be conscious of what we are doing with our leisure time, click bate, the power of solitude and attention resistance. Some would argue that these are obvious but when did you stop and think about them? This book is likely to bring to your awareness some things you may already know but more importantly encourages you to notice what you are doing. How technology has carefully slithered into your life and that it’s important as a human being to take more control of that. Newport shares ideas to put you back in the driving seat and that you can stay connected with minimal technology disruption.
INSIGHT SCORE: 7/10
PRECISION – How exactly can you apply what it teaches?
Digital minimalism has three principles: clutter is costly (cluttering your life with too many devises, apps and apps and services reduces the value of each individual item provides), optimisation is important (a particular technology supports something you value) and intentionality is satisfying (general commitment to being more intentional about how you engage with technologies). The practicality of getting there can be achieved through defining the rules, take a 31 day break and reintroduce mindfully. The leisure lessons are my favourite: 1. Prioritise demanding activity over passive consumption, 2. Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world, 3. Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions. Simple really. It will be up to your own inner strength that will allow you to follow it through.
PRECISION SCORE: 6/10
OVERALL SCORE: 20 / 30
QUOTE “If you must use these services, however, and you hope to do so without ceding autonomy over your time and attention, it’s crucial to understand that this is not a casual decision. You’re instead waging a David and Goliath battle against institutions that are both impossibly rich and intent on using this wealth to stop you from winning” p221
Should I buy the book?
If you would like a book that gives you a brief background and shows you how:
If you would like a book with stories and long hand examples that you could twist a little to fit your context: