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Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport • 2019

I find myself weirdly torn on this book.

It's a thesis that I strongly espouse and agree with (we should use our phones less, we should disengage from social media) and imparted at least one concept that I plan to fold into my daily practice (holding "personal office hours" to make constant availability a thing around which I and others can plan).

It's also just so shittily researched. Within the first thirty pages Newport namechecks Tristan Harris, Bill Maher, and Anderson Cooper. In the next sixty he deputizes Abraham Lincoln, Thoreau (Walden is mentioned, of course), and Martin Luther King into his argument. He expands on the "nature of craft" by talking about a dude from Portland who wrote a book about craft and Mr. Money Moustache. All of these anecdotes are delivered with the prose and stature of an overlong Medium post.

Okay, maybe I'm not actually that torn after all. "Overlong Medium post" neatly sums it up; this is a book that has reasonable arguments surrounded by terrible writing. It might successfully persuade you of something, but it will not teach you anything.

12/7/2020
✭✭
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