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Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  32,928 ratings  ·  3,877 reviews
The key to living well in a high tech world is to spend much less time using technology.

Georgetown computer scientist Cal Newport's Deep Work sparked a movement around the idea that unbroken concentration produces far more value than the electronic busyness that defines the modern work day. But his readers had an urgent follow-up question: What about technology in our pers
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Portfolio
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Kate Having read both, I would say Deep Work is a much stronger book overall - if you had to pick just one to read, pick Deep Work over Digital Minimalism.…moreHaving read both, I would say Deep Work is a much stronger book overall - if you had to pick just one to read, pick Deep Work over Digital Minimalism. Deep Work is a core philosophy; Digital Minimalism is a supplemental tool that might help you implement that philosophy. But they are technically stand-alone books.(less)
David After having read all three of his book, it feels like the author is just re-hashing the same ideas every few years with a slight different emphasise.…moreAfter having read all three of his book, it feels like the author is just re-hashing the same ideas every few years with a slight different emphasise.

It's not to say they are bad; just repetitive. Whichever one you read first, you will probably find it rather insightful, while the next two becomes increasingly dull and full of fluff.

My recommendation is to read the synopsis on the back of all three and just pick one to read. There really is no need to read all three. (less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Start your review of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Although at times it made me annoyed for how into only citing dudes or dude-centric work it is (hi, the Craft movement has been in the women's spheres for forever, but it didn't become "cool" to do crafts -- whatever craft you prefer -- until dudes "reclaimed" it over the last few decades), this is a really smart, thoughtful, and practical book about how to make sure that social media works for you, rather than you becoming a tool of the social media. I've been doing some of these things in my o ...more
Robert Chang
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cal Newport provided practical advice on how to embrace the philosophy of Digital Minimalism:

- Spend time alone to gain solitude
- Leave your phone at home
- Take long walks
- Write letters to yourself (journaling)

- Don't click "likes"
- Avoid falling into the slot machine feedback loop of likes
- Consolidate texting
- hold conversation office hours
- Reclaiming conversations

- Reclaim Leisure
- prioritize demanding leisure activity over pass consumption
- use skills to produce valuable things in
Carl Rannaberg
I badly wanted to like this book. I really did. Because I have very much enjoyed other books by Cal Newport: So Good That They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work. Both have inspired me a lot and I have recommended these to others in many occasions.

This book was way below my expectations. I'm afraid it’s not the book, it’s me. The practical value for me was minimal as I have already implemented a lot of things he proposes in the book.

As Cal Newport mentions that he sees the digital minimalism trend g
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I appreciate the thesis that by choosing to minimize technology in our day-to-day lives, we're choosing to be more deliberate with how we spend our time. I liked some of the advice to consolidate texting, hold conversation office hours, and in general, choose to be more purposeful with what energy we give to reacting to others. I think this book would have been stronger if he provided research to this points rather than random anecdotes about people who decide to step away from techno ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
I know the irony of writing such a review on a social media platform, but as always there is potential for both good and for bad, for modest consumption or addiction.
One should always keep in mind that humans are social animals, prone to getting addicted to interacting with each other. Online. 24/7. Until real life (which one was that still...) collapses

Probably the one or the other reader might tend to eat too much sugar, fat, has quit smoking or even worse things like online gaming. In each o
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
5 Stars!

Where we want to be cautious . . . is when the sound of a voice or a cup of coffee with a friend is replaced with ‘likes’ on a post.

Read. This. Book. Have you ever told someone in your life you just didn't have enough time in the day to get everything done? Have you thought about why that is? Maybe look down and see what you've been doing for the last 5, 10 or even 60 minutes. Probably scrolling through your phone. Sometimes with intention but sadly a lot of the time we are on our ph
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
I liked this book, but I will be sincere. The methods offered here to be a minimalist aren’t realistic for many of us, including me. It’s not that I, and many others, don’t have the will to be a minimalist but it’s that we can’t. Newport does show the benefits of reducing technology use quite nicely but unfortunately this book wasn’t made for everyone. Newport’s previous book was significantly better.
Julie Christine
Every rare once in awhile a Facebook friend announces their imminent departure from Facebook. Or simply quietly slips away, leaving behind a shadow profile in my friends list. I send up a silent cheer when I realize they have deactivated their account, knowing in my belly they are better off without this ubiquitous social media overlord.

For a long time, I've felt a sense of disquiet about social media, but the disturbance has become a growing alarm and a deep sadness in recent months. I feel th
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the idea in here--less is more. We do not need all the apps and the social platforms. He's definitely talking to someone like me here. I am not a huge consumer of these platforms (mostly this is age-related). However, I listened to his book using audible and some apps have really helped me expand my mind (meditation apps and audible are two). There is no room in Newport's framework for using smartphones in a good way. He's sort of an intellectual luddite. I get this and sometimes I think ...more
K.J. Dell'Antonia
I've been thinking a lot these days about making more deliberate tech choices. No one human--not even Steve Jobs--ever expected technology to invade our lives the way it has. Instead, keeping us tethered to our tech and pulling that lever became the most popular and obvious way to monetize the Internet, and we individuals became, not the consumers, but the product being sold. And instead of cutting ourselves some slack--billions of dollars have been spent in the name of making the screens around ...more
Laura Noggle
Deleted Facebook and Facebook messenger off my phone thanks to this book!

Hard not to feel guilty over phone use after reading, probably because I know I waste too much time on it.

Would read this one again to help ingrain the importance of living the minimally digital life.

“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, c
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I continue to wonder if Newport ever bears primary caregiving duties for anyone.
mindful.librarian ☀️
If you are ready to make radical changes in your approach to tech in your life, this book is for you. It has been life altering in the best possible ways for me. I’m noticing that the people who aren’t ready to make changes tend to get defensive and call Newport a Luddite 🤷🏼‍♀️

However, if you almost never use your phone except for making phone calls or don’t use social media, you can probably skip it. Or if you’ve already read other books on the topic, maybe this covers the same ground? I haven’
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little over a year ago, I posted an entry to my blog softly decrying the place that social media and screen time was playing in my life. A few months later, as I was preparing for a trip to Europe, I vowed to go without social media for two weeks while I was away (outside of texting my kids). I was . . . mostly successful. I was on very little, far less than "normal". And my strategy of taking a notebook with me and writing every night proved successful. But I didn't drop everything all the wa ...more
Tyler J Gray

I have somewhat complicated feelings on this book. I feel like I need to say these are all just my opinions. Anyway..Through-out there were so many times I was internally screaming "DISABLED PEOPLE EXIST!" and wanting to DNF it. I almost wish I had. There is so much privilege that goes unseen that I wanted to scream. That's not to say I didn't get anything good out of this book, because I did, but it was a chore to wade through the privilege, so much of it I don't have myself, and the preten
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism is Marie Kondo’s tidying philosophy applied to technology: technology isn’t inherently bad or good, but it should be judiciously curated to fit your pre-existing values of what constitutes a good life. Rather than going to Facebook or Instagram or a news feed of breaking news to find human connection and entertainment, pre-decide what you value in the spheres of entertainment and connection and then tailor the tools of social media to achieve those pre-defined ob ...more
Huyen Chip
The entire thesis of the book is: uninstall all your apps and only reinstall those that actually serve a purpose. The rest of the books is just examples.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been trying to write this review for nearly a week, which has been repeatedly stymied by lack of focus and exhaustion due to sleeping badly. Consequently I have lowered my standards and invite you to lower your expectations.

I was bitterly amused when, six months after I reserved a copy, 'Digital Minimalism' turned up in the library the day before lockdown. Amazing timing. Once my initial desire to read only escapist fiction had abated, however, it suddenly seemed like an ideal read at the m
Matthew Quann
If you're anything like me, you've come to feel more than a little enslaved to your cell phone and you're failing to see what you get out of the whole exchange. I've found myself sitting down with a cup of coffee for a quick scroll of content, looking up to find 30 minutes or more have passed. The thing is, these social media scrolls rarely leave me feeling the way, say, a great book does: rewarded, challenged, or that I have just spent my time doing something useful. All the same, I found it ha ...more
Tanja Berg
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I picked this book up on a whim at Helsinki airport a week ago. For a few months, I've been trying unsuccessfully to reduce the amount of time I spend browsing social media on my phone. The screen time report has been dismal reading. I also realize that when I am tired after a long day at the office, my capacity to resist is next to nil.

I am now going to make a serious attempt at decluttering my digital life. Tonight I will delete all social media on my phone and take a 30 day break. I feel horr
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019
Such an important work of non-fiction for anyone who would like to evaluate their relationship with social media. I loved this book -- it spurred me to take a 30-day break from Instagram, and I look forward to re-reading it in the future to keep me thinking about the role of social media and general technology in my life!
Luke Bacich
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deep work (Cal's previous book) is my favourite book; it overhauled how I stay focused during the work day in an age of distraction. Digital Minimalism is the perfect sequel. Digital Minimalism removes low impact distractions from your personal life in search of meaningful high quality analogue activities. Between the two books your work and personal life are covered. You come away a far more present and content with your life.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: privileged people who happen to have an internet addiction?
Shelves: nonfiction
During the first half of 2019, I was reading mostly about environmental issues, which led me to read a few books on the Zero Waste lifestyle, which then led me to read a few books on minimalism (or rather, starting a few books on minimalism, getting through most of them, but almost never finishing them). I have implemented many minimalist and zero waste practices in my own life since, and it has benefited me. Then, as I have always been struggling with social media addiction, I came across this ...more
Emma Sea
"'Likes' are poison to your attempts to cultivate a meaningful social life. . . . don't click 'like. Ever . . . Don't click and don't comment. This basic stricture will radically change for the better how you maintain your social life."

I want all the benefits Newport outlays, but I'm scared of doing a digital detox. I have a YouTube addiction and I am afraid going cold turkey will highlight to me how empty and unfulfilling my leisure time currently is. And how much I am not spending my hours on
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a re-read for me, but for the first time in physical format as I previously listened to this on audiobook. This is probably the best book that I've encountered on the subject of digital minimalism, and having revisited it around the time I finally decided to delete my Facebook permanently (and am close to doing the same with my Instagram), I can safely say that this is an incredibly useful practical guide on how to move away from being phone dependent. I might have to finally buy my own ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Have you read any other book written by a self-proclaimed minimalist? If so, no need to read this one. It's like a checklist: uncritical quotations from Thoreau, unquestioned male privilege, neoliberal individualism, smug superiority.

Did you know, the internet is addictive! But, it's not like an *actual* drug; you'll get over it if you just set very firm rules and get a new hobby. Like woodworking! Welding! Cross fit!

We desperately need to have nuanced and sophisticated conversations about tec
Nicholas Kotar
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I'm going to say is:


I have joined the attention resistance movement. I am now a digital minimalist. And let me tell you, my quality of life has improved exponentially. Do it, people!
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, loves
Reviewed on: Ashes Books & Bobs.

The moment I saw the cover for this book, I knew I had to pick it up. I often find myself overwhelmed by technology. While others seem at ease holding a conversation, scheduling an Uber, and texting 3 different friends, my mind struggles to keep up with one task at a time. I feel strained and exhausted by information overload. I want to be on social media less and in the real world more. Yet, when ten different people are needing ten different things in one moment
Viv JM
There seems a certain irony in the fact that I read this on an electronic device and am reviewing it on a social media site...ho hum.

Newport casts an enquiring and sceptical eye over our use of social media and addiction to smart phones. The history of social media and how it is engineering to be so compelling was an eye opener. He gives very useful ideas about how we can rebel against the "attention economy". The author stresses the importance of spending time being bored and being alone with o
Anne ✨
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-tech
I found this book insightful - it's important conversation that we need to have with ourselves to take more conscious control over the degree to which we allow our digital devices to suck up our time. Newport provides some helpful concrete changes that make a lot of sense!
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Cal Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and the author most recently of Deep Work, a book which argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace, and So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. He has also written three popular books of unconventional advice for students. Hi ...more

Articles featuring this book

Just the titles of these books themselves will start you off on the right foot: Girl, stop apologizing! Maybe you should talk to someone? Stay...
31 likes · 9 comments
“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.” 52 likes
“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.” 27 likes
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