Digital Minimalism (2019, Penguin Books, Limited) 4 stars

Most of us know that addiction to digital tools is costing us both productivity and …

Digital Detox

3 stars

Cal Newport's book explains the philosophy of Digital Minimalism; showcasing how technology can negatively harm our social interactions. Personally I listened to this book from the local library in an audiobook format and felt the chapters were way to long. Some chapters were up to 70 minutes in length. I personally prefer shorter chapters as it allows someone to dip their toe into a book for 20 - 30 minutes. I often put the book to rest and picked it up the next day trying to pickup where I left of.

The book cites examples of how peoples experiences with technology before his 30 day programme. It talks about how parents may miss out on quality time with their friends and family and what can be done. Cal offers advice throughout the book though some of them are more basic. The range of advice allows the reader to pick and choose some tips and try and implement them. Advice ranges from spending time alone to gain solitude, deleting social media of our phones and walking outside.

As mentioned earlier I borrowed this book from the library as an audiobook which gave me more confidence to pick it up and follow along. Unfortunately, I returned the book before finishing it, which I rarely do, skipping a whole hour long chapter. I felt that the tips were too basic of which some felt 'common knowledge'. I also felt that my life didn't meet up with the examples cited in the book. While age plays a part I have never been inundated with notifications but I have stripped my phone apps to the basics. Cal talks about social interaction being better than digital which can be argued either way. While face to face interactions might be beneficial for some, others may find it harder. Personally I prefer avoiding large social interactions as it can be awkward and hard to gage where conversations are leading. Likewise text based communication does not have white noise from other people talking around you which I find very distracting. Finally the majority of my friends, all be it limited are online and very few are in person where I know their phone number.


To summarise this book explores how social media can be harmful, looking at studies showing both sides. Cal's advice is basic but allows the individual to pick and choose what works for them. Though a large proportion of the advice given could be found out through online queries. I enjoyed listening to how one person spends time drawing a picture for his children's lunch box everyday, and thinking that is a nice touch. But it is far fetched from financial independence which is also discussed in another case study. I wished the chapters were shorter as I often zoned out of the book when listening or got bored and paused it for the day mid chapter.