Hamlet's Blackberry

Hamlet's Blackberry

A Practical Philosophy for Building A Good Life in the Digital Age

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
A former staff writer for the Washington Post draws upon ideas from Socrates, Shakespeare and Ben Franklin to describe a new philosophy to manage digital addictions to Blackberries and the Internet and strike a healthy balance between connectedness and disconnectedness. 40,000 first printing.


“A brilliant and thoughtful handbook for the Internet age.” —Bob Woodward

“Incisive ... Refreshing ... Compelling.” —Publishers Weekly

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? Hamlet’s BlackBerry challenges the widely held assumption that the more we connect through technology, the better. It’s time to strike a new balance, William Powers argues, and discover why it's also important to disconnect. Part memoir, part intellectual journey, the book draws on the technological past and great thinkers such as Shakespeare and Thoreau. “Connectedness” has been considered from an organizational and economic standpoint—from Here Comes Everybody to Wikinomics—but Powers examines it on a deep interpersonal, psychological, and emotional level. Readers of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Outliers will relish Hamlet’s BlackBerry.

Blackwell Publishing
"To those dithering over whether to close down Facebook accounts, resign from the Twitterati, and resume a more contemplative and more properly connected life, this remarkable book presents the answers and the validation for which you have been hoping. William Powers, brave in intent and wise in argument, offers in these pages an oasis of serenity and sanity, a sanctuary from a world fast turning into a limitless digital Sahara.---Simon Winchester, Author of the Professor and the Madman and the Man Who Loved China"

"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. This is 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

"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 Souid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain

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.

& Taylor

Draws upon ideas from Socrates, Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin to describe a new philosophy to manage digital addictions to BlackBerries and the Internet and strike a healthy balance between connectedness and disconnectedness.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061687167
Branch Call Number: 303.4833 P875h
Characteristics: xv, 267 p. : ill. ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Nov 03, 2017

To be connected or not to be connected; that is the question.
Powers' important goal is to teach us how to reach the proper Depth of human living while retaining the benefits of our screens and digital tools. This conundrum applies to our personal lives, our relationships, and our work time (28% of work time lost to digital distraction??) in equal measure. Powers' answer is not just to disconnect, but to create the gaps in which we can breathe, and the gaps "where thoughts, feelings, and relationships take root;" his compelling narrative takes through a number of points in history when deep thinkers (from Plato to Ben Franklin to Marshall McLuhan) have considered questions of balance between the inner life and life in a crowd, in every case as mediated by changes in technology.
The author spent many years as a prominent journalist and now works at the MIT Media Lab.

May 01, 2015

Relevant read as to why we look around and see nothing but humans staring into screens and what to do about it!


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