The subtitle of this book is “How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life in an Age of Media Overload.” Thomas Cooper, a professor at Emerson College and former assistant to Marshall McLuhan, offers compelling reasons for going on a personal media diet. He also considers group fasting — and fast-breaking — by families, classes, Plain People, and the Rapa Nui of Easter
MIT graduate Eric Brende and his wife went off the grid for a year, joining a remote community of plain people whom he calls the “Minimites.” He finds that, contrary to expectations, living off the land and forsaking technology actually leaves them with more leisure time.
This sci-fi story by M.T. Anderson imagines a future world where people connect to the Internet through feeds implanted in their brains. When a hacker disables their feeds and teenagers get a taste for thinking on their own, they decide to fight for more disconnection. (A National Book Award finalist.)
In this slim volume, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff — who also wrote Cyberia, Coercion, Life Inc., and Media Virus — offers ten commands for a digital age, including “Do Not Always Be On” and “Live in Person.”
Virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier makes a counterintuitive case against collectivist culture, arguing that we undermine individual creativity when we accept the “wisdom of crowds” and the “hive mind.”
Susan Maushart, the device-addicted mother described in the subtitle, tells an engaging and humorous story about what happened when she coerced her family into trying a six-month experiment in unplugging.
Environmental activist Bill McKibben, who writes eloquently about the limits of technology, explored the value of unplugging from media in a Thoreauvian 1990s experiment. In this book, he compares what we learn by watching television versus by experiencing things first-hand.
In this essay, William Deresiewicz discusses how technology is taking our ability to be alone — or, rather, how we are doing this to ourselves. When he asked students about the place that solitude has in their lives, one of them said she was so unsettled by being along that she must sit with friends while doing homework. Another asked him, “Why would anyone
Neil Postman, a founding scholar of the Media Ecology movement, discusses our cultural shift from a tool-using society to a society in which he believes tools are using us. In other words, this book argues, technology now has a monopoly on culture.
This article in The Atlantic magazine sparked nationwide conversations and propelled Nicholas Carr to write his book The Shallows. His work helped familiarize the reading public with scientific terms such as “dopamine squirt” and “neuroplasticity.” It also motivated some people to try disconnection to mitigate the influence of digital media on our brains.