Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.
In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.
Digital minimalists are all around us. They’re the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones. They can get lost in a good book, a woodworking project, or a leisurely morning run. They can have fun with friends and family without the obsessive urge to document the experience. They stay informed about the news of the day but don’t feel overwhelmed by it. They don’t experience “fear of missing out” because they already know which activities provide them meaning and satisfaction.
Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement and makes a persuasive case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don’t go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends, and work. What we need instead is a thoughtful method to decide what tools to use, for what purposes, and under what conditions.
Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life, starting with a thirty-day “digital declutter” process that has already helped thousands feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.
“Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism is the best book I’ve read in some time about our fraught relationship with technology… If you’re looking for a blueprint to guide you as you liberate yourself from the shackles of email, social networks, smartphones, and screens, let this book be your guide.”
“I challenge you not to devour this wonderful book in one sitting. I certainly did, and I started applying Cal’s ideas to my own life immediately.”
“You’re not the user, you’re the product. Hang up, log off, and tune in to a different way to be in the world. Bravo, Cal. Smart advice for good people.”
“This book is an urgent call to action for anyone serious about being in command of their own life.”
“Cal Newport has discovered a cure for the techno-exhaustion that plagues our always-on, digitally caffeinated culture.”
“I hope that everyone who owns a mobile phone and has been wondering where their time goes gets a chance to absorb the ideas in this book. It’s amazing how the same strategy can work for both financial success and mental well-being: Put more energy into what makes you happy, and ruthlessly strip away the things that don’t.”
About the author
Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, who specializes in the theory of distributed algorithms. He previously earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 2009 and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2004.
In addition to his academic work, Newport is a writer who focuses on contrarian, evidence-based advice for building a successful and fulfilling life in school and after graduation.
His most recent book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Grand Central, 2012), argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice. Since its publication, it has been selected for several best business books of the year lists, including those by Inc. Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and 800-CEO-Read. Newport’s New York Times op-ed on the book became the paper’s most e-mailed article for over a week.
Newport is also the author of three books of unconventional advice for students: How to Be a High School Superstar (Random House, 2010), How to Become a Straight-A Student (Random House, 2006), and How to Win at College (Random House, 2005). The How To student series has sold over 125,000 copies since its inception, and Newport has been invited to speak on these topics at some of the country’s top universities, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Dartmouth and Duke.