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

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Synopsis

“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.

 

About William Powers

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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.
 
Published June 16, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hamlet's BlackBerry

Kirkus Reviews

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Since 2000, he writes, “the total number of mobile phones in the world went from about 500 million…to about 5 billion today.” The author dubs this idea of continual connectedness “Digital Maximalism,” a phenomenon that is “encouraging the unhealthy extreme, the digital equivalent of alcoholism.” ...

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The New York Times

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Powers reminds us of when Socrates, the greatest of all oral communicators, was freaking out over “the very latest communications technology, written language based on an alphabet” (though as Powers concedes, “writing wasn’t completely new”).

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

The Wall Street Journal

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The most persuasive and entertaining parts of "Hamlet's BlackBerry" are found in Mr. Powers's efforts to practice what he preaches.

Jun 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

Christian Science Monitor

These days, click on any screen – or open any print publication – and chances are you’ll find something about how constant connectivity is fracturing our attention, addicting us to a steady stream of input, interfering with human contact, and destroying our ability to focus deeply.

Jun 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

PopMatters

oddly, Powers did not.) “Crowd Zones” could allow a plugged-in area, and “Walden Zones” could allow a refuge for contemplation in the same hi-tech house, he posits.

Jun 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

Full Stop

It is not the technology itself that Powers wants to criticize, but the tacit, unexamined philosophy with which we have so far invited these gadgets into our lives, a philosophy Powers calls “Digital Maximalism.” Digital Maximalism is an essentially fundamentalist creed, its core tenet being som...

Aug 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

Sunshine Coast Daily

THE author has used an analogy of Hamlet’s tables – yes, Shakespeare’s Hamlet – and his notebooks to demonstrate a method of bringing a rowdy, confusing world of stimuli and information into check.

Sep 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

The Kenyon Review

It’s 75 pages long and beautifully written, but in case you’re too busy skimming other electronic writing, here’s a quick summary: He references Garrison Keillor’s guide to reading a newspaper, Paul Duguid’s assessment of supersession, Mark Patinkin’s “I’ll Miss Having a Newspaper in my Hands” (...

May 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

Psychology Today

I write my appointments in a small book that fits in my pocket, and at the end of a year - before I have a new appointment book - I make no future commitments because I have no place to write them down.

Dec 10 2010 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

Getting Smart

This August, William Powers released his book Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, which seeks out the timeless philosophies of history’s greatest thinkers to delve into finding a solution to the looming question of today: Have we become too connected through technology?

Sep 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practi...

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