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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today best seller

"Newport is making a bid to be the Marie Kondo of technology: someone with an actual plan for helping you realize the digital pursuits that do, and don't, bring value to your life." (Ezra Klein, Vox

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 best-selling 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 30-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.

©2019 Cal Newport (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"What a timely and useful book! It's neither hysterical nor complacent - a workable guide to being thoughtful about digital media. It's already made me rethink some of my media use in a considered way. " (Naomi Alderman, New York Times best-selling author of The Power)

“This book is an urgent call to action for anyone serious about being in command of their own life.” (Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is the Way)

“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.” (Peter Adeney, aka Mr. Money Mustache)

What listeners say about Digital Minimalism

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Live with intention

This book is a relief in a age where our attention is attracted by so many tools. It makes us think a lot about our priorities and abusive technology usage. Cal Newport is not anti-technology, but instead, he wants us to reflect how we engage with these tools in order to improve our quality of life. It’s everything about deliberate choices.

As the author says: “Digital minimalism is much more than a set of rules, it’s about cultivating a life worth living in our current age of alluring devices”.


Some notes from the book:

Don't click “likes”: connection is a low-bandwidth interaction (and it defines most of our online social lives). Conversation is much richer and a high-bandwidth communication. We should avoid the former. Click in the “Like” button teaches our mind that connection replaces conversation. Social media can be a useful tool if we decide to use it as one of our conversation-centric communication rather than create low-quality relationship. “Likes" don’t build relationship.

Avoid the slot machine: social media is built to be a true slot machine. We keep refreshing hoping for a reward. Something new to appear and satisfy our apetite. Or a notification saying that a bunch of people approves our post and generates a self-esteem boost.

Spend time alone: we are always online and connected. We lost the capacity to see the benefits of solitude. Regular doses of self-reflection is healthy.

Take long walks: I'm incorporating more walks to my routine. When it’s possible, I choose walking. When it’s not possible, I'm commuting with the phone in the bottom of my backpack. This allows me to read/listen a book or just stay disconnected.

Reclaim Leisure: prioritize demanding leisure activity over passive consumption.

Schedule low quality leisure: you don’t need to eliminate low quality leisure. Just schedule and create a threshold for usage. Remember: Facebook group (including Instagram and WhatsApp), for instance, is one of the most valuable companies in the world and there is a reason for this. They are great to capture the most valuable resource in the world: time.

Follow a leisure plan: if you don’t create a leisure plan, you will do the easiest thing available to you (e.g. scrolling the timeline until the end of the world).

Delete social media from your phone: unless you have a really good reason, you probably don’t need social media apps in your phone. If you need to use in your phone, use in the mobile browser and log out as soon as you finish what you intended to do. It will be a wonderful uncomfortable experience. Create friction for your bad habits (if you are interested about this subject, read "Atomic Habits")

Turn your device into single-purpose computers: our computers are powerful and we are capable to run multiple programs at the same time. Context-switching in a computer was never so easy. (Freedom.to/StayFocusd apps may help you)

Embrace slow media (http://en.slow-media.net/manifesto: Monotasking, don’t be a passive consumer, choose actively what and how you want to consume, focus on quality rather than quantity.



Join the attention resistance, be deliberate and enjoy your short period of life without a phone in your face.

3 people found this helpful

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Compelling and timely, but the performance drones

This is an excellent look at our digital age and makes a strong, compelling argument with digital minimalism. We live in an age where we are being manipulated by our media and technology so becoming aware of this and adopting strategies to take control of your time, and your life is so crucial. The contents of this book should be taught to all of our children.
My only minor complaint is that the performance was boring a lot of the time. I felt like I was back in a university lecture struggling to pay attention to a boring speaker despite fascinating course material.

2 people found this helpful

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Where’s Cal?

I much prefer books narrated by their authors. It just seems weird to me when they are not.

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A must read for current times

When social media first came out, it was hailed as a tool to erase boundaries and build connection. After years of social media use, we realize that it has erased too many boundaries. There is no more boundaries to protect us from noisy world unless you become intentional in what you pay your attention to. This book did an excellent job in explaining why we need to be intentional with our media consumption. It also lays out a detailed plan to help us with that. I absolutely loved this book!

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Informative

I liked the concepts shared in the book and felt that the topics were well researched.

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Life changing!

This book has been a beautiful way to open my eyes to the world before me! I cannot believe how long I have been stuck behind the light of my phone and TV. We need to put our phones down and recognize what is happening and unfolding behind the screen!!!

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Needed Now More Than Ever.

The concepts and practices in this book are on point, straight forward and somewhat complicated at the same time. I find myself craving and wanting to follow the digital minimalist practices to the T however the biggest part is focusing my attention to my interests outside of using my phone and technology on a whole. I am learning and growing each day. Thank you for this book.

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  • A.O
  • 2021-02-02

Amazing context-big tech anti-trust & user rights

The later chapters of this book add amazing context and guidance for users who are concerned with the "reach" of big tech into our lives. Big tech is not the overall issue but they are now the archetypes that clearly display the impact of decisions made in history. Such as enabling tabloid news papers to capitalize on selling readers "eye balls" as advertising dollars. Big tech has simply continued this practice on a much larger scale which has in turn revealed many issues with humans "writ large". I'd highly recommend reading/listening to "the coddling of the American mind" in conjunction with this book. Also, for the "communication" vs "connection" discussion a book like "talking to strangers" will add even further context.

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If you've ever questioned your media consumption

This text is crucial for improving our global state of wellness. An absolute must read.

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Genuinely life changing.

Cal Newport strikes home with this well-researched, enormously convincing outlook on living better with less technology.

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  • Loïs Talagrand
  • 2019-02-12

How To Live The Good Life

I was expecting a mere guide on how to use less technology, but I was extremely and pleasantly surprised to find that Cal Newport actually developed a much deeper philosophy of how to live the good life in the technological era. This book has the potential to radically improve many people's lives.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Carol Egan
  • 2019-02-28

The best book ever!

Digital Minimalism could perhaps be the best book I’ve ever read! Sure, social media is just a tool, but it’s been designed to possess us! It’s addictive, and Cal Newport, slam dunks the message in this book! Even if you think you have social media under control, read this book. It’s a game changer, it can literally give you your freaking mind back! I love all Cal Newport’s books, but this one made its way to one of the best books ever read! And that I read one book a week, that’s saying a lot!

21 people found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 2019-02-10

Well Crap

This was an amazing book but now I have to change!

It’s amazing how comfortable we have become with companies leeching our time away, especially in the digital sector. This book really gets you thinking and reflecting on yourself and how you use technology.

The nice thing is that it isn’t cramming an agenda down your throat, it’s just asking you to think and make up your own mind. I needed that and appreciate it too.

A great book that I will certainly be sharing. Thank you.

41 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-04-20

Deep Work is much better book

This books in the end represents just two prolonged chapters of Deep Work. If you haven’t read Deep Work and you spent significant amount of time on social media, then it is great book to read, otherwise it’s average book. The author imo should also more discussed YouTube which seem to me as undervalued issue.

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  • Aaron
  • 2019-04-15

Disappointing

I really liked deep work and I had high expectations for this book too. Those expectations were not met. The book has a few good points but it is very light on "new" information. Yeah, social media companies are out to maximize usage. Yeah, the best thing to do is to ditch it. Done. It felt like 80% of the book is how companies like facebook manipulate users and what you can do about it. What about everything else "digital" that there is to minimize? Lastly, the narrator was really a poor fit. He sounded like Android 17. Very monotone and robotic.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-02-11

great book, could have been a little shorter

I have read all of Dr. Newport's books and they are always excellent and interesting. He makes a compelling argument and makes it very thoroughly.

There were a few parts, like when he was describing the particulars of CrossFit, that I felt made the book bloated. Do readers really need to be given example Workouts of the Day (WOD) to understand that CrossFit is good for social relationships?

Overall, great premise and great book, but you might want to keep the skip button handy for a few parts.

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  • Tommilaitio
  • 2019-04-27

i deleted all social media apps

this book is an important reminder on why we need to reclaim control of our time. i deleted all sociql media apps and downloaded Moments to track my time on my phone.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Paul D. Simmons
  • 2019-02-18

Life changing

excellent narrator and vital subject matter if you want to regain control of your mind and attention

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  • Helmi
  • 2019-03-08

The book is better than the audible version

I have the printed and audible versions and the later is so difficult to listen to.

He sounds so monotonous that I cannot listen to him for more than 30 mins without feeling so low and down.
Interestingly the book is a different story.
It is nice to read and structured very well.. The Audible version should have the same layout yes, but his voice makes it sounds so dull.
I wonder how his students can stay awake during his talk/lecture.

Stay away from all his audible versions

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  • Jackson
  • 2019-04-28

Could have been a blog post

Summary: Try to use your phone less than you do and you'll probably be happier, and there has been research to prove it.

Everything else in this book is kind of a derivative of that.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Kerem
  • 2019-04-25

Some good advices, but a bit generation-specific.

My favorite part of the book: "you can't build the new Facebook if you spend your time on Facebook."

1 person found this helpful