Discussion about Digital Minimalisim by Cal Newport


Here’s the “official” thread for the book. I’ll update some thoughts when I’m at my computer.


Great. I’m getting this book today and I think I will “take the plunge” with how I use my iPhone (removing social media apps, etc.) and setting aside time in the evening to enjoy a bit of surfing on my older MacBook that I will use as a dedicated device.


I agree. Currently using Moment and the Phone Bootcamp free coaching. I’m trying to force myself to resist checking my phone as much. Do Not Disturb is helping but it’s also hard and difficult.


I read this book and found it … interesting. I felt like I was wasting my time reading it when I should have been heads down in focused work. If I applied all of his teachings, I wouldn’t be on this forum either :slight_smile:

On the flip side, I did feel like the way he schedules his work was something to experiment with. I wasn’t sure if it was a complete contrast from David Allen’s GTD or if it would work in harmony with it (felt like the former). I read these books back to back so my head was spinning a bit after comparing the two methods.

I should note: the title of this thread is about digital minimalism, not a book review. As far as that goes, I think a LOT of time is wasted in digital environments and I know I could personally work re-allocating time I’ve spent on social networks into more productive projects. I have a new site I built last year and would love to start marketing it this year.

Update 2: I thought this was about the concept, not a new book. I was commenting on Deep Work. I’ll show myself out now, lol.


Did you have a pre-release copy? DM is dropping today.


No worries! Read his latest book too!


Oh, no problem. I was confused.
DM is probably like DW with added admonishments about social media.


Lol, Deep Work was really great as well, very influential to me in helping me finish my doctoral dissertation. I think Deep Work can be a part of the broader discussion that will come up here, so don’t go too far away!


I’m pretty familiar with Cal’s work (it made a huge impression on me when I got back in school nearly a decade ago) so if you read his blog, the first couple of chapters will seem like a review of his principles, but Digital Minimalism sounds like a serious undertaking!


I have mixed feelings about Newport. I read his stuff all the way back in 2010 for high school and a few years later college. His blog was super helpful and well written.

Lately, I’ve found his books fine but they could’ve been blog posts instead of 100+ page books. I also stopped being a student and started working in the tech industry which means open offices, Slack, and less autonomy to engage in deep work when I want. I still go “deep” in my free time but my actual work “deep work” is limited by reality :slight_smile:

I’ve gotten this book and will read it, if only to engage in discussion. I’ve never had the “social media makes you sad!” issue and my usage of it is limited compared to most 25 year olds. Yet I feel like most of my usage is useful - no Facebook, no Twitter on phone, and my Instagram is mostly publications, brands, art, and history accounts I enjoy. I mostly want to quit Hacker News (tech news site) and mindless browsing.


I’ve found this for most “business” and/or non-fiction books.


I removed Facebook from my phone last year after some of their misdeeds came to light.

I am doing a Facebook Free February right now and might not go back. (Extra difficult since my birthday was yesterday and I missed all the Happy Birthday wishes from people I don’t talk to otherwise…ha ha.)

I never really got Twitter or Instagram so that’s not an issue for me.

I guess this is me saying I mostly agree with what he preaches on the blog about DM and thus probably won’t buy the book.


I’ve been Facebook-free since 10/8/2017.
I do use Twitter, as some scientists’ work that I’m interested in comes up there occasionally. I block people (especially that one person) so don’t see their tweets or retweets. So I don’t find Twitter addictive like the MPU forum here :slight_smile: (kidding, not kidding).



Looks like Newport is speaking at my local bookstore on 2/9 – will have go over and listen to what he has to say.


There’s a good interview with him on the Art of Manliness podcast. It’s just been released, and is good so far…


This was the best interview of any of the podcasts he’s been on, really great breakdown of his hypothesis.


I removed my birthdate from my facebook profile and only had like 3 of my friends reach out to me. It was nice to feel no pressure to respond the many “Happy Birthday” messages, and also served as a good reminder who your real friends are.

I love Instagram. I use it for mainly for research (yoga, gymnastics, design).

Twitter is almost 100% web design & development for me so I find it helpful as well. Facebook, on the other hand, I would love to drop if it weren’t for the groups feature that a few of my communities (who aren’t tech people) communicate.


I feel the same way about Instagram despite that they are owned by FB. It reminds me of the early days of FB: you post some pics and others can interact with you about them, there was nothing obtuse or bothersome about it.


No Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for ~5 years and absolotely no FOMO.


Alright I’m ready to write up my thoughts for the time being:

When I was in college I had a time when I had deleted my Facebook (Cal Newport made a blog post about it and I decided to based in part by his post). This was sophomore year of college. Along with deleting Facebook I also would wake up at 4am and work on my homework and such from 4:30am-8am or so. I’ve never been so productive. I got a ton done. That said though I didn’t feel as much FOMO as I thought but truly missed seeing photos of friends and being out of the loop on various social events planned through Facebook. I remember going to my scholarship induction ceremony and multiple people thought I’d fallen off the face of the earth. I also remember not getting many birthday texts as like many it’s shown on Facebook.

Back to present day, I have Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. Also for context I’m 25 years old or otherwise known as a millennial. Of those apps I don’t use Twitter anymore though my use case was primarily at tweeting at tech support as it was an easy means of getting assistance. Pinterest I don’t use too much though it’s great for inspiration and ideas with teaching along with decorating. I maybe visit Pinterest once a month. For Instagram, I last posted a photo in 2017 when I graduated college. I use it for family primarily to see photos along with some friends. I wish I could block Instagram stories, especially from certain people so I don’t see them but still follow for photos.

I don’t make YouTube videos but have probably 160 or so videos in my watch later list. This isn’t something I need to plow through but too is something passive. I only have a couple channels I subscribe to and watch some but not all of the content, typically not right after the air date. As for Facebook, I made my timeline dumb for the most part where I don’t see updates from friends as I’ve hid them from my timeline. If I remember correctly I did this in bulk. Primarily I use Facebook for various useful groups (a KonMari group, YNAB group, Mr. Money Mustache, and an eBay sellers group). My biggest usage of Facebook is events along with being reminded people’s birthday. Reddit I love but deleted the app off my phone and iPad and will only browse on the computer. I find that I also am working to only browse Reddit in a “binge” for a few hours on the weekend as an experiment as well.