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Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  110 reviews
'Do I wish to keep up with the times? No. My wish simply is to live my life as fully as I can'

The great American poet, novelist and environmental activist argues for a life lived slowly.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Penguin Classics (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  523 ratings  ·  110 reviews


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Ariel
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what to expect here. I just thought the title sounded intriguing.

And then lo and behold.. I possibly have a new favourite author??!! The ideas presented here are fascinating, they made me reconsider all sorts of things, and were done with such clarity and peace.

I LOVED IT AND I ORDERED ANOTHER BOOK BY HIM IMMEDIATELY.
Michael Kotsarinis
I found out about this short book (an essay rather) from a fellow bookstagrammer and it seemed intriguing.

The texts are now 30 years old and one has to take that into account when it comes to criticising technology. I can't say I agree with all the arguments and the overall line of thought but that's exactly what essays are about, to promote thinking, arguments and discussion.

Some of the thoughts in the essay have indeed become very relevant in the next decades and the ar
...more
Adeeb
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: honors-shelf
How refreshing is it to read a book that critically discusses things from both sides of the argument, and in essay format?

I hadn't known about this author or this new collection of books, but then Ariel Bissett on her Instagram posted it and I was so intrigued. And this is probably one of the best books that I've read this year. With less than 50 pages, the book raises so many questions and arguments that cultivate deep thought.

This book was written in late 1980s I believ
...more
Nicky
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book kind of read like an internet comment fight between some strangers, which is a shame because the author makes some valid points.
Karolina Zych
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
the topic was very interesting but the way of explaining his opinion was weird.
Kirsty
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The fiftieth, and final, Penguin Modern is Wendell Berry's Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer, which features two essays. The title essay was published for the first time in Harper's magazine in 1987, and the second - 'Feminism, the Body and the Machine', which provides a reflection upon it - in 1990.

In the first essay, as is evident in its title, Berry argues his case for writing 'in the day time, without electric light', and with only paper and a pencil. He says, of his decision: 'I do not see that computer
...more
Nathalie
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I could be persuaded to go up to a 2.5 stars. The ideas presented were interesting, and certainly well worth some more thought. But 1. I do not agree with most of them (however important they might be for a broad, wide sided look and discussion on the issue) and 2. I could not stand the tone of this. Berry seemed very self-righteous. He criticised his critics that they could not accept a single argument to be brought against their issue, and then proceeded to minutely lay down every arguments th ...more
Vienna
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
*4.5 stars. Really makes you think and glad I picked it up (Thanks to Ariel Bissett, haha)
Kristīne
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"If the use of a computer is a new idea, then a newer idea is not to use one."
Annika
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Everyone GO READ THIS: it is fucking amazing and you need this in your life.

Pay that damn euro/pound/dollar and get yourself a copy!
Olivera
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magnificent. If only more people thought like this man.
Kritika Narula
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Our dependence on capitalism is its only recommendation of itself.
I absolutely loved the book, and how it was compiled into a series of replies which brought all opposing views. At a subtler level, it was also a snide remark on how conversations happen today, and how it isn't different from a pre-google era.
Heike
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: facing-life
His claim is simple: do we need a solution to a problem we do not have: no!
Very well formulated, with lots of food for thoughts – everyone should read it!
Dominik
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Pros:
- It will lead to interesting discussions if you read it in a group or a classroom setting.
- It is a document of its time.

Cons:

- As far as arguments go, there is not much logical structure to the text, it's self indulgent style over substance and gut feeling over arguments in most cases.

Neutral:

It's interesting to ponder how Berry would have coped as a blogger. He received 20 letters after publishing this. Yet those letters who are publ
...more
Linton Newton
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-paperback
A very cheap, short couple of essays which over many topics but largely focuses upon titiular justification.

While the main topic is of interest, it is the other topics and in particular the one of industrialisation which I was most interested in. The page or so in which he comments on the educational system of the time (1989) is marvellous -- though of course also depressing considering how much worse the system is now. It is this industrial attitude which has changed the modern world the most
...more
Anne
Mar 28, 2018 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Sometimes a text is more important for what it does to your mind than how it is executed.

Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer is far from a perfect book: Berry criticises his critics for having "more feeling than intelligen[ce]", but bases many arguments of his own on feeling and tries to sell them off as intelligence. He flirts with Marx but fails to mention him. He makes some tenuous connections between his arguments which look good at first sight but wither when you inspect them closely.
/>Why
...more
James
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
The first segment of this essay (read: 10 or so pages) starts us out with the well-founded idea that perhaps a computer is not necessary for a full life, painted against an (under-explained) concern for environmentalism and a clear fondness for slow and considered ways of life that I genuinely felt some connection to. This is then immediately followed by a self-aggrandising diatribe of which the bulk is devoted to explaining that the fact that his wife types out his work for him isn't oppressive ...more
Rebecca Macaskill
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-in-glasgow
A great short read, with lots of meat in it to get your teeth into. I particularly enjoyed the second section of the book in which Berry goes into much more detail behind his thinking and reasoning for not buying a computer. I won't be getting rid of my laptop and smartphone just yet, but reading this has definitely given me a new perspective on why I might be using the technology I use; for good, or bad? And what is that good and bad while we're at it? Lots of food for thought!
Iris Bratton
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5 STARS

An interesting perspective on technology and its consequences.

What an interesting view Wendell Berry has. I've always feared technology but really never thought of why. I guess I've never really weighed the options when it came to using it. Being raised in a culture where it's normal, I've never really thought about how it affects us as parents, as a society and as evolving human beings.

Now Berry isn't completely against the idea of technology but he's more wary of the b
...more
Larissa
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Before reading this short collection of two of Berry's essays, I've never heard of him before. I saw this book on Ariel Bissett's YouTube channel and I was very intrigued (and not only by the beautiful cover design ;)). I really enjoyed reading his opinions on technology and how we as humans are evolving with it.
Zaabakar
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A more thought-provoking read than I expected and I had to slow my reading speed significantly to absorb the arguments.

A well-argued essay (and response to its feedback) not just on computers and why he prefers not to use one but also on technological progress, feminism, and the environment.

I'd only vaguely heard of Berry but in these past two weeks, I've heard his name and books mentioned at least three times.

If the TBR pile is reduced, perhaps I will pick up his novel Hannah Coul
...more
Andrada-maria Havasi
Apr 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-reads
I picked it up because a booktuber recommended it and the title was intriguing.

The essays are thought-provoking and Berry definitely has some interesting point of vies regarding technology. Yes, we consume a lot. Too much for our own good. However I completely disagree that every new invention is bad. I totally support the idea of clean resources, but I am disappointed that he believes that only he is right. And he's clearly not.

Firstly, his essay made me feel less becaus
...more
Lisa
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did spend sometime thinking about what the purpose of this text was but overall I found the execution overplayed and the arguments made by the author both tenuous and red herrings.

Berry's initial essay is poorly written and the argument about not needing a solution to something that is not really a problem is interesting but they way he executes it is condescending.
Then as a follow up Berry criticizes his critics for having "more feeling than intelligen[ce]" in direct hypocrisy of his m
...more
Holly
Mar 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what I made of this (very) short read. He definitely had some valid points to argue, and I agreed with most. When I first bought this book I wasn't sure what I was getting into but I'm glad I've read it.
Katrin
Feb 28, 2018 added it
I hate read this one. Yes, it is thought provoking. Yes, there are some very important bits and pieces in here. But, hell, do I disagree with most of it.
Lily
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this short read. This work was very thought-provoking and fantastically well-written. It made me feel comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. In 50 pages, Wendell began to tell me what he thinks, but I felt like the book was challenging me to ask myself what I thought. As such, I think this is a fantastic introduction to critical thinking on a number of topical issues and I particularly appreciated the perspective of the individual, and the role that the singular person ...more
T P Kennedy
Feb 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't disagree with the central thesis but there's noting very new here. The framing of a brief article followed by taking issue with letters written in response to it is irritating. This series is fantastic in terms of sampling unfamiliar authors but this is one sample I disliked.
Michael Mills
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: essays
I agree with Berry when it comes to his ideas about marriage, but found his take on technology incredibly frustrating.

To take the good first. He’s right that there’s a certain mode of right-on-ness that seeks to reduce feminism and gender politics to sticky labels, convenient to slap on anyone and anything that vaguely resembles something that was once objectionable. It’s moral superiority by checklist, the illusion of thought.

But his views on technology are wilfully blind. Of course change do
...more
Franky
I think that there are definite nuggets of philosophical wisdom and truisms contained within Wendell Berry’s essays contained here. This, despite the fact that this was written over thirty years ago. Wendell discusses elements of technological “progress” and his ideas about a more simplistic system of living.

However, the means by which the author arrives at his points and, more specifically, the tone and manner of the main crux of arguments is a little off putting. He spends a good deal of time
...more
Vartika Rastogi
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I did not know what to expect with this one, and was pleasantly surprised. Wendell Berry, in the two essays included in this volume, speaks broadly about technology, writing, the lived impacts of industrialisation, and the idea of living by 'the future'. Written in the 1980s, Berry's views age well. Infact, these essays seem to have assumed a heightened significance in recent times. I particularly enjoyed "Feminism, the Body and the Machine".
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Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."
“I should ask, in the first place, whether or not I wish to purchase a solution to a problem that I do not have.” 4 likes
“And yet language is the most intimately physical of all the artistic means. We have it palpably in our mouths; it is our langue, our tongue. Writing it, we shape it with our hands. Reading aloud what we have written - as we must do, if we are writing carefully - our language passes in at the eyes, out at the mouth, in at the ears; the words are immersed and steeped in the senses of the body before they make sense in the mind. They cannot make sense in the mind until they have made sense in the body.” 0 likes
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