Thursday, March 21, 2019

Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport is the author of "So Good They Can't Ignore You" , one of my favorite books. Check out a previous post about the book's main topic: "Follow Your Passion" is bad advice.

Today I wanted to point out some topics from Cal's newest book: Digital Minimalism. I just got done with listening to the eBook and thought it was great. I'd recommend it. Here are some bullet points:

  • Thoreau noted that the farmers were not able to escape their harsh conditions with more work. Feels sorry for those that inherits farms, etc. because they are hard to get rid of.
  •  Clutter is cost. Must balance between cost of time and attention
  • Nietzsche, Descartes, Newton, Kant, Pascal, Wittgenstein, etc. are examples of men that never had families or close ties but lead remarkable lies. We are wrong to assume intimacy is the peak.
  •  "Solitude Deprivation"- we are living in a time where we are depriving ourselves of the gift of solitude. We try to avoid boredom at all costs.
  • In our downtime the brain automatically spends its free time thinking about social networks
  •  Receiving likes from people we don't know well does not correlate with happiness
  • Analog cannot differentiate between phone and interaction in front of us. the social-ness takes away positive experiences in front of us
  •  "one click approval mechanism" - Clicking like is just one bit of information. It does not replace a rich flow of information that we get from face to face communication
  • If you don't check and respond on instant messengers that often (it is asynchronous), then it won't be treated like dialog. Thus it paradoxically strengthens the relationship as you seek higher quality conversations. Do not treat (social media) it as a replacement for real conversation 
  • Chase high quality leisure - Aristotle
  • A nod to the FI community and particularly MMM. Work in the physical world. Happiness through meaningful work and connection.
  • Computer programming is good but it misses the physical world (This hit home since I code 16 hours a day. Although I do miss building physical stuff)
  • Replace passive interaction with screen with active interaction. Use the technology as support (i.e. use YouTube to learn how to change your oil, or do a muscleup), not the primary.
  • Fix or build something every week
  •  Social media companies want you to focus on why you use them not how you use them because the majority of people can get the same value in 20-40 minutes
  • Embrace slow media (well thought out curated - not "breaking" news) or as Tim Ferris says: low information diet
  • To what end? - Thoreau. Are we degrading our humanity (with this technology) ?