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Digital Minimalism

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Digital Minimalism

Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Compulsive use of digital devices and apps steals your time and attention. Escape it.

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


In today’s digital economy, your attention is a valuable commodity. The more time you spend looking at screens, the more companies such as Facebook and Twitter harvest your attention and sell it to advertisers. Digital tools have addictive qualities, and companies exacerbate those traits. According to computer science professor Cal Newport, these tools invaded society with such speed that people couldn’t determine their best use. He proposes a method for enjoying the benefits of digital technology while avoiding addiction and distraction. Newport advises pruning the clutter of technologies in your life and regaining control of those you choose to use. He suggests a thorough technological makeover that begins with a 30-day tech sabbatical, including deep contemplation of your values and goals. If you glanced at your phone in the last 15 minutes, you might benefit from Newport’s advice. If you looked at it before you finished this paragraph, you definitely will.


For many, use of technology has become compulsive.

In the modern digital economy, your attention has become a valuable commodity. Digital services such as Facebook extract data from your online behavior and sell it to advertisers. The more of your attention they snare, the more money they make. To that end, they design their products to be as addictive as possible by exploiting quirks of human psychology that induce compulsive behavior. The result: a culture in which people rarely stray far from their mobile devices while obsessively checking for texts, likes and retweets.

These devices and apps can gobble up hours of your day. But wasting your time is only one of their harmful effects. When you succumb to the constant distractions of digital technology, with its ceaseless offerings of shiny objects and dopamine hits, you sacrifice the opportunity for extended focus on your tasks or deep contemplation of your thoughts. Social media channels, which promise to connect people and keep them connected, actively undermine relationships. The constant checking of digital feeds fractures real-life interactions.

At the root of these problems...

About the Author

Cal Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, is also the author of A World Without EmailDeep Work and So Good They Can’t Ignore You

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    R. T. 2 years ago
    A decent enough read from an author that I love. The premise is quite simple: (how to) minimize your use of digital technologies & social media to better enrich your life.

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