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Hamlet's Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Ageby William Powers
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[An] elegant meditation on our obsessive connectivity and its effect on our brains and our very way of life." Laurie Winer, New York Times Book Review
"Powers mounts a passionate but reasoned argument for 'a happy balance'....[He] is a lively, personable writer who seeks applicable lessons from great thinkers of the past....Lucid, engaging prose and [a] thoughtful take on the joys of disconnectivity." Heller McAlpin, Christian Science Monitor
"In this delightfully accessible book, Powers asks the questions we all need to ask in this digitally driven time. And teaches us to answer them for ourselves." Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid
"Always connected. Anytime. Anyplace. We know it's a blessing, but we're starting to notice that it's also a curse. In Hamlet's Blackberry, William Powers helps us understand what being 'connected' disconnects us from, and offers wise advice about what we can do about it....A thoughtful, elegant, and moving book." Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
"A brilliant and thoughtful handbook for the Internet age — why we have this screen addiction, its many perils, and some surprising remedies that can make your life better." Bob Woodward
"Benjamin Franklin would love this book. He knew the power of being connected, but also how this must be balanced by moments of reflection. William Powers offers a practical guide to Socrates' path to the good life in which our outward and inward selves are at one." Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose a burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave.
How to solve this problem? Hamlets BlackBerry argues that we just need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. William Powers sets out to solve what he calls the conundrum of connectedness. Reaching into the past—using his own life as laboratory and object lesson—he draws on some of historys most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, to demonstrate that digital connectedness serves us best when its balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness. Lively, original, and entertaining, Hamlets BlackBerry will challenge you to rethink your digital life.
About the Author
William Powers, a former staff writer for the Washington Post, has written about media, technology, and other subjects for a wide variety of publications, including the Atlantic, the New York Times, and McSweeney's. This book grew out of research he did as a fellow at Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. A two-time winner of the Arthur Rowse Award for media criticism, he lives on Cape Cod with his wife, author Martha Sherrill, and their son. This is his first book.
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