Anthony Eaton's Reviews > The Winter of Our Disconnect

The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart
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Sep 12, 10

Read in September, 2010

This is an important book.

And to follow on from this grand opening statement, I'm going to make another.

This book changed the way I live.

If you follow my blog, or know me, or have seen my office, you'll know that I'm something of a techno-junkie. Not hardcore, you understand, I can quit it at any time, and I just like the way it makes me feel, but nevertheless, I'm typing this review up on my iBook, which is hooked up to two screens for easier data management. Beside me on the desk is my iPad (portable internet, you understand, essential in my line of work), my iPhone (must...be... connected) and my windows-based PC (Just in case, you know, the Apple empire suddenly collapses, or I need to do something in powerpoint, or on a couple of other more specialist applications I have on it)

A week or so back, I was showing a colleague how I've moved to entirely paper-free classes. All my class management documents are now iPad friendly. When I go to meetings, I load all agendas etc... onto my iPad. When I'm at home, watching QandA on a monday night, I generally have either my laptop or my iPad close at hand. Got to see what the zeitgeist is saying, after all.

So yeah, I like my technology.

When I read Susan Maushart's account of her family's self-imposed six month 'blackout', where they literally went cold turkey on screens of all shapes and sizes, it was fair to say that I was squarely in the target audience.

I don't want to give away anything substantial here - this is a book you need to read and think about for yourself. I will say, however, that since reading it I no longer tweet from in front of the TV. When I get home at night, I don't check my email any more. Once I walk through the front door, I put my iPhone on its charger in the bedroom and there it stays until the following morning. And on the weekends, my laptop stays in its bag, and the iPad doesn't come out to play.

And, you know something? Doing this has made my life better. I'm spending more time engaged with the rest of my family. More time reading again. More time switched on to the real world around me, and more time actually getting things done. I've disengaged from the virtual world, and I'm thinking more clearly, and being a better husband and father as a result.

So yeah, this is an important book. It's beautifully researched, thought provoking, convincing and will have an impact on you. Read it. Especially if you, like me, suffer from low (ie: high) level technology obsession.

(Oh, yeah, in case you're wondering the book lost 1 star on the review because I grew up in Perth, and quite like the place. But that's just me being petty. Apart from that - brilliant.)
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Beth I like your honesty - I like my technology also but don't have as much and don't use it as much. My husband and I do have times when the technology isn't around and I do things without technology - fiber crafting. My take on the book came about because of my curiousity about how all this technology is impacting our world and whether what the users claim is right or not. The book leaves that up in the air to a large part but does point out all the downsides to heavy use of the technology.


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