Digital Minimalism is about living better with less technology. Providing a thoughtful and practical guide to troubleshoot attention grabbing digital media, Cal Newport suggests that a less is more approach to our online lives can provide an effective antidote to modern attention exhaustion.
Digital Minimalism Summary
Fashioned after the minimalism movement, Cal Newport is on a mission to declutter our lives by decreasing digital consumption.
Unpicking the disturbing truth behind addictive social media, the author suggests a series of practices to reclaim control and focus on the conscious use of digital technologies for improved health, happiness and productivity.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- Digital media is designed to manipulate behaviour and demand constant attention.
- The facebook like button is an example of intermittent positive reinforcement, proven to produce serotonin bursts and drive compulsive behaviour.
- Silicon Valley isn’t programming apps it’s programming people (Tristan Harris)
- Digital minimalism is a philosophical level approach to reclaiming attention by recognising (a) Clutter is costly (b) Optimisation is important (c) Intentionality is satisfying.
- Walden’s new economics and the FIRE movement support (a)
- Most technology has diminishing returns so (b) applies.
- Setting and achieving intentions offer deeper level satisfaction to shallow goals (c)
- You can reset your relationship to technology with a 30 day declutter, placing all your technology into a box and only keeping what you actively need to use.
- Practice 1 – Spend Time Alone – Rethink alone time as productive solitude and realise how solitude deprivation can restrict you from your goals. Examples include Lincoln, Nietzsche and various other creative genius moments.
- Practice 2 – Don’t Click Like – Online social connection can be replaced by face to face depth connection, allowing you to shoot for deeper meaning then the sugar rush of digital media.
- Practice 3 – Reclaim Leisure – Rather than using technology to shallow unwind after 8 hours work, scheduling productive and enjoyable leisure activity can energise the rest of your day, creating a deeper sense of purpose.
- Deleting social media from your smartphone and only using the desktop version is a highly effective way to dodge the most effective ‘nudge’ engineering.