Michelle's Reviews > Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
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Sep 17, 10

Read from September 14 to 17, 2010

This is an extremely important and valuable book, if for no other reason than to confirm to me that I am *not* crazy, that our headlong rush into more and more digital connectedness is not necessarily a good thing--it's confirmation of my feelings these last few years. And like the author, I'm not an anti-techie. I LIKE having a cell phone and email. When used in the proper proportions, I think the digital world does enhance my life.
But there is a point past which it makes me crazy instead. And this book is important validation for WHY and then, for WHAT to do about it. I never knew, sometimes, why I was feeling so uncomfortable. I would make a brief foray into some new digital adventure because "everyone is doing it" and then, when I felt only stressed and not happy, I'd pull back and leave, and take my lumps from people around me who could not understand my decision at all. I actually got hateful comments when I "resigned" from the blogosphere after a year-long experiment. And when I briefly joined Facebook, and then quit, I had people genuinely puzzled. "But how can ANYONE not like Facebook?????" Now I know--I was just needing more "alpha" and less "omega" to keep the balance in my life.
In addition to persuasively identifying the problem of the downfalls of too much connectivity in our lives, and how stressed it can leave us, Powers then takes us on a thoughtful tour through history to learn from the adaptations of other men in other times who've had to adjust to a new technology. My kids did not like this part of the book best, but I really enjoyed it--I think there was a lot of value to learn. And I really appreciated that Powers gave us examples of things to do to find spaces in our lives for non-connectedness, rather than give us "prescriptions" I think he is absolutely right that we have to decide on our own boundaries ourselves, and not have it imposed on us from outside.
Very vital book in this day and age, thoughtful and persuasive.
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