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Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness
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Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Smart phones and social media sites may be contemporary fixations, but using technology to replace face-to-face interactions is not a new cultural phenomenon. Throughout our history, intimacy with machines has often supplanted mutual human connection. This book reveals how consumer technologies changed from analgesic devices that soothed the loneliness of a newly urban gen ...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published August 24th 2012 by Prometheus Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Randall Wallace
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
people on their iphones usually look tense and self-absorbed. the tech that is supposed to bring the world closer together often keeps people further apart. there are two books out now called the big disconnect and both are on the same subject. i got both and will read the other book by steiner-adair later.

what did i learn from this book by Giles Slade?
it clearly laid out the concept that business realized, after the development of the assembly line, that if EVERYONE had their OWN car/gadget/gi
Edward Sullivan
Slade is often successful in making the case "that our progressive reliance on technology for companionship is part of a prolonged and increasing disconnection from nature," which includes disconnection from our own humanity. A better book on the same subject is Sherry Turkle's Alone Together.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't dislike this book but it was awfully dry, though I'm not sure what else I expected. I mostly agree with the author's central thesis along the lines of "we are using technology too much and it's probably not a good thing" and I appreciate that he looks at it from a historical/multi-generational point of view. As a Millennial, I enjoy learning about how EVERY generation has happily adopted technologies that isolate them from the world around them because older generations tend to think we ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Confession: I read this book on the subway. Yes, I engaged in that most solitary of activities, reading, in order not to be bothered on my commute. Missing out on the “simple satisfaction of well-stocked bookshelves”, in deference to the author, I also returned the book to the library, after self-checking it out with little diminution in pleasure I couldn’t ascribe to the content.

Every few years, technophobe fulminations grace the market – arguments not too different in form Neil Postman’s port
Greg Talbot
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
As a 27 year old, living in downtown Chicago, with an IT job, and is fairly reliant on a constant stream of news from computers...well let's just say a lot was very riveting to me.

One of the strengths of the book is explaining how the technology we use fulfills basic functions - our radical need for connection, warmth, friendship. The counter is how the increased trust we have on technology has weakened our connection to others, and general 'mindreading'.

The totemic "Wilson" the volleyball, the
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: late and early adopters of technology
I really enjoyed this book. Although a bunch of the perspectives of the author are debatable, I see how society has changed to become less social in some aspects. However, at the same time, technology has also allowed us to become more connected, when being connected before was extremely difficult, which the author does not really touch upon. Convenience and independence requires us to cut out the middle man, which, in most cases, are the human interactions. Everything from eCommerce to headphon ...more
Jun 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some interesting concepts here but what was really disconnected was the organization of the book. It veered and jerked wildly from discussions of the closed automobile, recorded music, the link between bipedalism and humanity's innate love of singing, and the reliability of firearms in wartime. I get the overarching theme - that the urbanization of society has driven us to seek solitude to block out the masses, and in turn seek digital companionship as as poor replacement for actual people - but ...more
Krzysztof Mathews
Dec 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
I stopped reading when I hit this delightful passage:

“In this way, as technology slowly replaced intrapersonal interactions, agoraphobia and isolation wandered hand-in-hand into modern life like Hansel and Gretel innocently making their way into the depths of the forest toward the witch’s house.”

This should be nominated for one of those "Bad Writing" contests where they choose examples of Worst Mixed Metaphor. This metaphor broke the mixer completely. Even the engineers at Blendtec wouldn't try
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've been on a kick reading books about technology and its effect on society lately, and this is the latest I've read in that vein. Slade describes how technology has evolved to increasingly isolate us from each other--at first a necessity in our urban environment, where we can't possibly interact with everyone we meet, but now, perhaps, a surrogate for human contact. Some excellent ideas in this book, but it's somewhat hampered by poor editing and some spots where hard data would have helped.
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
Lots of books have come out recently on technology and how it's changing us, many of them focusing on computers and/or social networks. This book is unique in that it utilizes a larger perspective--looking back at other technologies such as radio, movies, and even music--to make a deeper critique. Unfortunately, the subject matter covered is a bit too broad and/or the author isn't quite able to pull it together and it doesn't come off as well as it could have.
Kelly Wagner
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Here's the author's thesis: it's the Kindle's fault that people talk to each other less and are ruder when they do. No, it's's fault even before the Kindle! No, it's the /Internet's/ fault!!! He thinks that since we buy more stuff online now, and have fewer daily interactions saying "thank you" and "have a nice day" with store clerks, we are lonelier and losing the ability to converse.

Um, no.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent read. Full of strange facts and lot of material on things
I had no idea have a back story. Why front porches on houses are disappering,work songs demise or how listening to music alone was
considered a selfish pursuit. Unintended consequences of the technology and how we live our lives. Look forward to future books.
It can be a slow read as it makes you think from page to page.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Had some great history and concepts about technology and isolation, but the book just isn't my cup of tea. Slade certainly has some good points to consider as to how and why we have come to this point, but didn't leave me feeling much different than when I began reading it... which is to say I should turn off this damn computer and go camping in the mountains for a week with a copy of Walden.
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting book on technology.... Other subjects thrown in there, too, but I would definitely recommend this one, overall! How we are affected by technology...
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book presents some very interesting facts and history of technology. However, I felt like his point was often lost, and it was a fight to get through. Read more like a blog than a book.
Maddie Sifantus
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating but somewhat dense in places. Very useful as I think about a sermon on social media.
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