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Summary

Listen to Digital Minimalism and you'll never again mindlessly sacrifice your productivity to clickbait or lose 40 minutes of your evening to your Instagram feed.  

In this timely and enlightening audiobook, Cal Newport 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 have fun with friends and family and eat out at restaurants without the obsessive urge to document the experience.... 

Now, Newport gives us a name for this quiet movement and makes a case for its urgency in our tech-saturated world. 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.   

Digital Minimalism will teach you how to rethink your relationship to social media and rediscover the pleasures of the offline world. It'll help you implement a 30-day 'digital declutter' process, making sure you're in control of your tech and not the other way around.   

©2019 Cal Newport (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"An urgent call to action for anyone serious about being in command of their own life." (Ryan Holiday) 

"Cal's call for meaningful and engaged interactions is just what the world needs right now." (Daniel Levitin, author of The Organised Mind)

What listeners say about Digital Minimalism

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Thought Provoking; Shame About The Narrator

This is a very interesting read, and has prompted me to delete social media apps from my phone. The summary of the ways in which social media use the mechanisms of gambling/slot machines and ‘hack our brains’ is an arresting one, and is impactful. The ‘practices’ (exercises) are do-able.

This is let down by the narrator (not Cal Newport), who is quite mechanistic, although my main criticism is his way of narrating quotes by women. The change in tone is unnecessary and sounds incredibly patronising.

20 people found this helpful

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Essential Reading for Everyone with a Smartphone!

This is my first review, and it's not going to be a long one. Simply put, this book outlines exactly why you need to take stock of your phone use and how to do it. You'll learn to uncover the beauty of full focus and concentration. Something most people struggle with these days. We are living in a distracted world, where 100% uninderupted thought is almost something of the past. It is possible to gain control again and break the addiction!

Digital Minimalisim should be required reading for everyone with a smartphone in 2019.

Thanks Cal!

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Good principles, nothing ground-breaking

Coming from the millennials generation myself and genuinely not best pleased with the amount of screen-time I found myself having, I sought out better ways to balance my time between screens and the real world. I found myself hating that when out on walks, people I walked with were more bothered about grabbing for their phone at the first chance of a fantastic sunset photograph to upload to Instagram, than rather taking a second to take in that scene for themselves.

That led me to come across this book.

I'll be completely honest, although the principles are good and sound, there's nothing exactly ground-breaking in what Cal is offering with ways to decrease time. In short, be more mindful of how long you spend on devices, social media and plan for more real world activities. Understand the trends and manipulation forced on you by these devices and companies and rely on your own willpower, over time you will become more digitally minimalist if you want it enough.

Other than these principles, the stories within the book can be used to inspire you to know you aren't alone and digital minimalism is achievable.

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Great idea but far too US-centric, poor analysis.

The overarching theme is great, it is clear, concise, and well put. The book isn't wrong by any stretch of the imagination and the overall point, as well as the recommendations are good. We should all read it... but only a summary of it. I feel this topic deserves much better treatment from another author with more evidence, scope, and more experience outside of the leefy green college campus in New England, or a sunny US West Coast college, that it feels like it has been written in or for.

It is much more of an agenda than meaningful argument or analysis, I would love a lot more data, evidence, peer reviewed citations and sources. This wouldn't reduce the appeal of the book, many authors do this well, it just feels so myopic, and that's from someone who ardently agrees with the book itself.
The book is blind to how privileged you have to be to follow some of the recommendations. Sure, handcrafts and functional skills are excellent, but they are often costly. Also, the time needed to invest in a skill as suggested requires a frighteningly privileged life that isn't just enabled by a reduction in smartphone use.

Finally, the book is far too centred on the US. Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, etc... all interesting people, but god do you have to trudge through a lot of it. I really cannot tell you how little I care about the importance of solitude to Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg address, yet we get far too many filler pages on it. Its also rampant guesswork and a laughably high school project level analysis of history. The sceptical reader is going to listen to it and likely be put off by what appears to be waffling, or an inability to make the argument for digital minimalism without resorting to something tantamount to pointing at some important figure of American history and going "if its good enough for him its good enough for me".

As for the narration, it is well done, with a good pace, pronunciation and intonation.

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Enjoyable listen, implemented a few things already

Finished it within a week and implemented a few practical tips with good effect- filling social media/ TV time with activities that bring me joy e.g. long walks- so good for figuring out problems I'm worried about; making a meal for family; hoping to try cross fit and potentially mouse book club with time. Feeling so much better, thanks Cal Newport for a balanced approach:)

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So glad I read this!

If like me you think you haven't got time to listen to this, start with chapter 3, start the 30 day digital declutter and then as if by magic I found I had way more time and listened to the whole book within a few days.
I'm in day 8 so far and the change even so far is incredible. I have so much more time and energy and I'm so much more present in my life and with my family. Highly recommend.

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apply these instructions!

pragmatic and skillful perspective on how to approach using social media

I think the benefits of this book can only truly be gleaned by the few readers that will listen to the advice and actually apply it to their lives!

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Not a story as such

A fantastic and thought-provoking insight into the effects of digital burnout. The book offers profound insights into the effects of social media and its intrusion into modern life. By no means should the book be considered the work of a luddite, but rather as a means of using technology to live a greater and more fulfilling life.

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amazing book

very enjoyable listen some sound ideas about how much we use social media and how is sucks up our most important commodity, time.

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Great reasons to try Digital Minimalism

The second book I’ve listened to by the author. The first was Deep Work. Both books compliment each other.
Really happy to listen to this and implement the techniques and suggestions.
Ive got so much time to do real life living now I don’t have social media on my phone, Facebook was the biggest time sucker.
Highly recommend for the kick you made need to follow on your ambitions and dreams. Seeing is believing IF you make the time to start and energy to commit. Spending hours a day watching tv, Netflix and on social media is not good for me. Happy to clearly define its place, not in my life.

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  • Herman Freysen
  • 20-05-19

Import message in these times

Do not trust that social media is there to serve you and improve your happiness.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shayhum Aboosalih
  • 05-04-20

An added pdf would be nice

An added pdf would be nice, like the bibliography in Deep Work.

Great Book!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mayur
  • 26-09-19

Don't lose tech... Use tech in a better way !

Book tells us that "Technology is an incredible innovation that enabled us to live best life than any other human lived in the history.
But we shouldn't get in trap of attention economy to waste our precious time. Instead we should use it to experience things that we deeply value.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-03-21

Good but repeats

Great and useful story but repetitive. It has made me consider the role of technology in society and my own life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-08-20

THANK YOU CAL!

Every book you write is progressively better and more informative than the last. I will be re-listening to this more often. Thank you so much!

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  • Chamal Perera
  • 14-01-20

Practical Advices to be a digital make minimalist

This book is definitely an eye opener to think about our digital activities. Cal provided practical advices on how to embrace the digital minimalism.

This book asked me the question of the real use of social media.

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  • Ori
  • 10-01-20

Reaffirmed decisions and feelings I had already

I always had a feeling that social media platforms are wasting my time, and even sometimes asked myself, after scrolling a lot "what am I doing?". The book breaks down in great detail how the attention economy we grew to know, skyrocketed with social media platforms to the point that our time and attention is literally being robbed by mindless scrolling and empty, emotional shock value videos or posts. Great read, taught me how to use social media with intent to empower the things that important to me. Reminds me of the book easy way to quit smoking by allen carr, as it points out all the behaviors, rationalization and excusing we put out, to keep using, instead of regaining control and realizing the truth.

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  • Nadhrah Athirah
  • 10-10-19

My thoughts

Love it. I've been trying to cut down my social media use, especially. I've been trying to practice some of it, i hope it works well (it is for at least one week while listening to this audiobook). Very inspiring. Thank you! Also this is my first audiobook ever, and so far i've been looking forward for more.

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  • Kiyaga Raymond
  • 17-06-19

Quite enlightening

Carl’s new book highlights the dangers of modern tools that affect our instincts to socialise. He highlights ways in which one can battle them and shows you how to be vigilant.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-04-19

exactly what I needed, when I needed it!

As good and helpful as Deep Work. Especially helpful and enlightening for people like me since I work online and have to be connected more than I like.
Easier said than done, yes, but Cal outlines practical steps that we all can follow to take back control over our lives.