Digital Minimalism's notes, summary and lessons

By Cal Newport

Rating: 7/10

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  • People don’t succumb to screens because they’re lazy, but instead because billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable.

    Page: 9
  • We didn’t sign up for the digital lives we now lead. They were, instead, to a large extent, crafted in boardrooms to serve the interests of a select group of technology investors.

    Page: 24
  • When people consider specific tools or behaviours in their digital lives, they tend to focus only on the value each produces. [...] Thoreau's new economics, however, demands that you balance this profit against the costs measured in terms of "your life".

    Page: 41
  • More often than not, the cumulative cost of the non-crucial things we clutter our lives with can far outweigh the small benefits each individual piece of clutter promises.

    Page: 43
  • Does this technology directly support something that I deeply value? This is the only condition on which you should let one of these tools into your life.

    Page: 75
  • How am I going to use this technology going forward to maximize its value and minimize its harms?

    Page: 76
  • Solitude is a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds.

    Page: 93
  • Regular doses of solitude, mixed in with our default mode of sociality are necessary to flourish as human being.

    Page: 99
  • When you spend multiple hours a day compulsively clicking and swiping, there’s much less free time left for slower interactions. And because this compulsive use emits a patina of socialness, it can delude you into thinking that you’re already serving your relationships well, making further action unnecessary.

    Page: 143
  • You cannot expect an app dreamed up in a dorm room, or among the Ping-Pong tables of a Silicon Valley incubator, to successfully replace the types of rich interactions to which we've painstakingly adapted over millennia. Our sociality is simply too complex to be outsourced to a social network or reduced to instant messages and emojis.

    Page: 150
  • The idea that it’s valuable to maintain vast numbers of weak-tie social connections is largely an invention of the past decade or so.

    Page: 155
  • A life well lived requires activities that serve no other purpose than the satisfaction that the activity itself generates.

    Page: 166
  • The value you receive from a pursuit is often proportional to the energy invested.

    Page: 176
  • Digital minimalists see new technologies as tools to be used to support things they deeply value - not as sources of value themselves.

    Page: 252
  • The primacy of anger and outrage online is, in some sense, an unavoidable feature of the medium: In an open marketplace for attention, darker emotions attract more eye‑ balls than positive and constructive thoughts.

  • They joined Facebook to stay in touch with friends across the country, and then ended up unable to maintain an uninterrupted conversation with the friend sitting across the table.

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