Tim Casteel's Reviews > Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam
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Putnam describes the adverse effects the decline of in-person social interactions in America.

Definitely not a book I'd read again. But worth reading simply for the fact that few sociology books are referenced more than Bowling.

Some brilliant analysis of our society mixed in with mind numbing research.

My favorite review on here of this book:
"This one's a doozie. I don't recommend it unless you are a naturally optimistic and mentally stable person.
Bowling Alone is long, dry, and somewhat repetitive."

Bowling is a bit of a time capsule in that it captures Putnam (and other scholars) breathless optimism at the turn of the millennium re the internet:
It will be a utopia of egalitarian discussion across race and gender. It will only encourage in-person communication. We will not see a decline in reading…

Though his findings on the effects of TV are prescient:
- TV is producing a "drowsy and passive" with "an intolerance…for daily moments that are not similarly chocked full of sight and sound."
- "Some viewers grow dependent on the stimuli of television and become increasingly incapable of filling leisure time without external aids."
- "Much of television's attraction is that it is ubiquitous and undemanding....As an activity, television viewing requires no advance planning, costs next to nothing, requires no physical effort, seldom shocks or surprises, and can be done in the comfort of one's own home."

A couple great insights:
- "Churches are arguably the most important repository of social capital of America"
- "The single most common finding from a half century of research is that happiness is protected by the breath and depth of your social connections.
Getting married is the happiness equivalent of quadrupling your annual income."
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Reading Progress

August 29, 2019 – Started Reading
August 29, 2019 – Shelved
August 29, 2019 – Finished Reading

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