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Digital Minimalism

Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Written by: Cal Newport
Narrated by: Will Damron, Cal Newport
Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 35.09
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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Important ideas!!

My view of social media has changed because of this book. I was in denial about how I use social media, anyone saying they “limit screen time” sounded like a total square to me. I only just realized they were getting at using screens for USEFUL things, not watching advertising and getting lost in a maze of attractive shiny things for a big corporation’s gain. It’s so sly how it gets into your life but social media and the smartphone can really waste your life.

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Nice Research done by the author.

Loved it. Well every one who don't think they can't live without their digital screens should try listening it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 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.

16 of 16 people found this review 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.

17 of 18 people found this review 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!

5 of 5 people found this review 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

4 of 4 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 2019-03-26

A Great Guide For Modern-Day Life

Cal provides a lot of scientific and anecdotal evidence to show us why we should consider being more conscious of our digital device and social media usage.

What I really enjoyed is that he offers actionable steps to implement his philosophy of digital minimalism and shares a variety of different “degrees” of said digital minimalism.
He provides the WHY and the HOW.

He did a very thorough job and has convinced me to try this out. When I read the benefits, I’ll come back and update this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Pen Name
  • 2019-02-15

Fantastic - I bought time

I really wasn't expecting much and just assumed this would be an anti technology hit piece to try to convince people to make a binary decision about whether or not to be on social media. I often defend my social media usage, "I like watching my friends kids grow up."

Instead of the binary decision, the author really makes great points about how we do get benefit from social media and from smartphones, however the benefit we receive can be achieved in a few minutes per week. He uses the F.I.R.E. movement and Mr Money Mustache as example of how people are using money to buy back their time.

I'm starting to value my time here. I removed Facebook and social media from my smartphone. I feel I still need a phone for Google Maps, but it doesn't need to be used to fill my time and to be the default go to device when I am bored.

If I had to critique the book I would say that I wasn't really feeling the "us vs them" attitude of Facebook. I feel that they really do care about reducing usage and have recently cut back some addicting features. Apple has done this too with Screen Time. It was borderline victim mentality at some points.

Overall, I hope I can stick with these changes. If I do, this book will have saved me hundreds of hours of week and hopefully makes me feel less anxious all the time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful