Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

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Harper Collins, Jun 29, 2010 - Social Science - 288 pages
21 Reviews

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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

I was hoping for a bit more depth from this book. Basically Powers' argument boils down to "think about how much time you're spending looking at a screen, and if you can, decrease that and spend time ... Read full review

Review: Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

User Review  - Missy Reid - Goodreads

We should set boundaries for ourselves so digital clutter and connectedness don't take over our lives and render us shallow thinkers with equally shallow relationships. That's the gist of this book ... Read full review


In a Digital World
Falling Out with the Connected
The Trouble with Not Really
Plato Discovers Distance
Seneca on Inner Space
Gutenberg and the Business
Shakespeare on the Beauty
Ben Franklin on Positive
Thoreau on Making
McLuhan and the Thermostat
Practical Philosophies for Every Day
The Internet Sabbath
Back to the Room
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About the author (2010)

Award-winning media critic William Powers has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and McSweeney's, among other publications. He lives on Cape Cod with his wife, the author Martha Sherrill, and their son.

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