A Practical Philosophy for Building
A Good Life in the Digital Age
BY WILLIAM POWERS
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.
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.
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!
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COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER:
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