Friday, August 6, 2010

HAMLET'S BLACKBERRY: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
HAMLET'S BLACKBERRY

A Practical Philosophy for Building
A Good Life in the Digital Age
BY WILLIAM POWERS

ABOUT THE BOOK:

A crisp, passionately argued answer to the question that everyone who's grown dependent on digital devices is asking: "Where's the rest of my life?"

At a time when we're all trying to make sense of our relentlessly connected lives, this revelatory book presents a bold new approach to the digital age. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, Hamlet's BlackBerry sets out to solve what William Powers calls the conundrum of connectedness. Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose an enormous burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave.

Hamlet's BlackBerry argues that we need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. To find it, Powers reaches into the past, uncovering a rich trove of ideas that have helped people manage and enjoy their connected lives for thousands of years. New technologies have always brought the mix of excitement and stress that we feel today. Drawing on some of history's most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, he shows that digital connectedness serves us best when it's balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness.

Using his own life as laboratory and object lesson, Powers demonstrates why this is the moment to revisit our relationship to screens and mobile technologies, and how profound the rewards of doing so can be. Lively, original, and entertaining, Hamlet's BlackBerry will challenge you to rethink your digital life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

William Powers was born in Arizona and grew up in Rhode Island. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in history and literature. He began his journalism career at The Washington Post where in the 1990s he covered business, politics, popular culture, and other subjects. His widely read Post column, "The Magazine Reader," launched his career as a leading thinker and writer on life in the age of information.

His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, and many other publications. He is a two-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Award for best American media commentary.

Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age is a crisp, passionately argued answer to the question that everyone who’s grown dependent on digital devices is asking: Where’s the rest of my life? Powers challenges the widely held assumption that the more we connect through technology, the better. It’s time to strike a new balance, he argues, and discover why it’s also important to disconnect. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, the book draws on the technological past and such great thinkers as Plato, Shakespeare, and Thoreau.

Hamlet’s BlackBerry is William Powers’s first book. He is married to author Martha Sherrill. They live in Massachusetts with their son.

MY REVIEW:

William Powers’ HAMLET’S BLACKBERRY is a clever and thought provoking book about technology in our lives today and how much is too much? Are we all TOO connected? Surely, common sense tells us that all the technology we use from laptops to iPhones, from Blackberries to iPads, makes our lives easier and gives us more time because of their lightning fast help. This is not just for working people that the subject comes up but also for everyone who uses this technology in their social lives and for amusement. If you didn’t have your Twitter, Facebook, or BLOGS, who would you “talk” to and how? Would you still be surrounded by “friends” or all alone? Powers looks at these ideas and many more in HAMLET’S BLACKBERRY.

The title actually did come from Shakespeare’s HAMLET. In one scene, Prince Hamlet makes reference to a technical advance from the time called a “table”. If you thought as you read the book or saw the play, Shakespeare meant a table like you use to eat dinner, you were wrong. According to Powers, it was about a book that had inside, specially coated parchment that a person could use a stylus like we use in technology today, but perhaps a bit less techno looking, to write notes during the day. When the day ended, or the information was no longer needed, this specially treated paper could be wiped clean! Who knew? Not I!


Powers discusses the teachings of seven ancient thinkers like Plato, and how our world is not that different from theirs except for time constraints that make everything move faster and add to all the stress in our lives. Powers advocates trying to strike a happy medium with all our “screens” and reminding us of all the things that have gone on before without this technology. He advises us as well that we allow ourselves time to “disconnect” and just have time to think, thus making it possible for new ideas to take form in the future.


His research found that stopping at work to check our “inbox” during the day has actually made the work force less productive because of the time loss. The study he discusses found workers spending more than 25% of the work day dealing with these detractors and that added up, in 2009, to $900 billion in economic loss.


Powers own household follows an “Internet Sabbath” on weekends that his family were adamantly against at first, but now find it a pleasant family/personal time. I know this surely got me to thinking. How many times a day do I click on my email to see what needs to be answered or dealt with? Of those items, how many of them could have waited and what did that take me away from? A LOT! If nothing more, I found the book to be thought provoking and interesting and an easy read….but I must sign off now as my cell phone is vibrating across my desk and I have an IM coming through! Give HAMLET’S BLACKBERRY a try, I think you’ll enjoy it.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO KYLE AND GOOD PEOPLE
AT HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHING,
I HAVE 3 COPIES OF THIS INTERESTING
NEW BOOK TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT
YOU NEED TO DO TO WIN A COPY!




--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT AUTHOR WILLIAM POWERS BY CHECKING OUT HIS WEBSITE HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT TO TELL IF YOU OWN A BLACKBERRY AND A CELL PHONE. TELL WHICH YOU LIKE THE MOST AND WHICH ONE YOU COULD DO WITHOUT AND STILL BE FINE

+1 MORE ENTRY:
BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE OTHER CURRENT GIVEAWAY OF MINE YOU ARE ENTERED IN. JUST GIVE ONE, PLEASE.

GIVEAWAY ENDS
6 PM, EST,
AUGUST 20!

GOOD LUCK

49 comments:

Steve Capell said...

I found Katie Couric interview of William Powers very interesting and thought provoking. AOL survey stated that 19% of people choose their vacation destination on the availability of the Internet. I thought vacation was to get away from the phone and Internet? I guess I am not part of the 19%. However, I wonder at times if I am too connected to the world. I would very much like to read this book and I thank you for hosting this contest.

steven(dot)capell(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

William has certainly been very connected in his own life. He went to Harvard and then worked in DC at the Senate and the for the Washington Post. A busy guy!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I just have a cell phone. I don't mind turning it off at all, but think in general, it's a useful device to have. Especially in MN winters!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I entered the Larsson trilogy giveaway.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

This book is fascinating and unique and would be interesting reading. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I have a cell phone only used for emergencies. They are all over the place and invasive. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

I entered The Beach giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

The author was a journalist who won awards. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I have a cell phone which I use rarely. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I entered The Vintage Affair. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Amy said...

I learned he was a parent!Interesting book and guy!

Shirley said...

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Christine H said...

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Jeff said...

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Linda Kish said...

I agree that we all need to take time and disconnect on occasion. Sometimes we get a little crazy with technology.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I have my son's old blackberry. But I don't have internet with it. He and his wife do, tho. I use it for calls and texting only. If it wasn't for texting, I wouldn't hear from my son most days.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I entered the Disappearing Spoon giveaway.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

degood said...

I thought it was interesting that he graduated from Harvard and I find his topic so interesting. I know i am totally connected and always have my phone and email with me at all times. I lost the my phone charger this week and felt completely naked everytime i left the house without my cell phone this week.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

I only have a cell phone but it is a windows mobile phone so it has email, internet browsing etc on it. I am very addicted to it. :)

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

dag888888 said...

The author is a 2-time winner of the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse Award for best American media commentary.

dag888888[at]yahoo[dot]com

dag888888 said...

Entered Hachette beach books giveaway!

dag888888[at]yahoo[dot]com

dag888888 said...

iPhone owner, can't live without it.

dag888888[at]yahoo[dot]com

George said...

george(dot)girton(at)gmail(dot)com
It was interesting that William Powell was a Harvard grad. I just have an old motorola phone that rings my google number. If I threw it in the lake I could still get calls (just not on that phone). I haven't checked for any other giveaways -- this is the only book I'm interested in reading for now.

allisonsbj3 said...

I learned that the author lives in MA, like I do!

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonsbj3 said...

I don't own a blackberry but I couldn't live without my cell phone!

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

allisonsbj3 said...

I entered the I Know I Am, But What are you giveaway

allisonsbj3(at)gmail(dot)com

Christine H said...

He graduated from Harvard with a degree in history and literature.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I own a cell phone but no blackberry. My husband and I are together most of the time so we don't even use the cell phone we have. lol

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

https://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/21656144264

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

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Christine H said...

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chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

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chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I'm entered into the QUEEN PIN GIVEAWAY chirth7@yahoo.com

Jeff said...

http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Jeff72768/review/45005039/

jeff72768@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Guardian and many other publications. shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I own a cellphone, I only use it when I'm out or usually only to call out in an emergency.

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://twitter.com/Grandmamaof10/status/21659476551

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100001087052807&v=wall&story_fbid=137924319581951

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

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shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&authorID=540593519&messageID=6679343048&hash

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

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urbanL said...

As a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center in 2006-2007, Powers wrote the groundbreaking essay, “Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Why Paper is Eternal.” His argument that the latest digital devices have much to learn from a 2,000-year-old tool caught the attention of thoughtful technology-watchers and news outlets around the world.
jeff72768@yahoo.com

urbanL said...

I just own a cell phone and don't really get alot of use out of it.

urbanL said...

http://twitter.com/jeff72768/status/21663498531

urbanL said...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100000609680005&v=wall&story_fbid=144250418938590

urbanL said...

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urbanL said...

http://bulletins.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulletin.read&authorID=540594583&messageID=6679344775&hash

urbanL said...

I entered QUEEN PIN GIVEAWAY

Christy said...

I had to get rid of any device that allows me to check email on the go. I feel tied to it as it is!If I could find a cell phone from 1988, I'd probably use it.

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