Tuesday Books: Books for Luddites and Technology Purists

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Today’s Tuesday books is a response to a problem we all face: when do we learn to turn off and disconnect? The term “luddite” gets used in a lot of contexts. Today, I’m going to use the term to start a discussion about when and how to go offline and enjoy the world.

These books give us an anti-technology perspective without saying all technology is bad. I’m a believer in technology and its benefits, especially when it comes to our ability to read more or communicate easier. But there are times when I want to disconnect. Perhaps you are thinking the same thing.

The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox by John Freeman

This book is part curmudgeonly complaint about how email is distracting us, part solution for our inbox woes. At times, John Freeman is right: email is a destructive force in our lives and a difficult medium to deal with. Other times, Freeman tries too hard to make connections between how email affects us and how other destructive technologies encroach on our lives. But, he also argues email is part of our need to communicate and feel wanted. The same could be said for social media, and in some ways (not all ways, though) social media is affecting our lives in more ways than email.

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

Cover of "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Pub...

This is an older book, originally released in 1985. Its main discussion topic is the effects of television on our political and cultural discourse. Today, the book almost seems prophetic. While TV is still a dominant medium and source of entertainment, the internet and mobile devices have caused us to rely on media as a source for cultural insight more than ever before. This book is worth a read if you are interested in how media affects how we make political or cultural decisions.

iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us by Larry Rosen, Ph.D.

iDisorder is an academic appraisal of how technology is affecting our lives. It’s not interested in finding solutions to get away from technology, nor does it portray doom and gloom scenarios. Instead, Rosen looks at the historical and current ways in which technological disruption affects our ability to balance our media consumption. It’s not a new phenomenon either, and Rosen makes that clear in this book.

Kevin Eagan (@KevEagan) is a freelance editor and writer living in Central Florida. He edits book manuscripts and articles for local and national publications. Critical Margins is his place to share his interests. You can also check out his professional website, KevinThomasEagan.com.