What are you reading this summer?

Some of the users have pointed out to me that they like receiving the emails but they don’t check out the forum that much on their own (as they don’t know what to post). I thought it might be a good idea to do an ice-breaker topic here so people get to know each other a little bit and start taking advantage of the community we are building here.

So what are some of the books you have read or are reading this summer and would like others to know about/read?

I will go first:

Happy to discuss them any of these here or in person if we run into each other. Looking forward to learn what others at UChicago are into.

Cal Newport is the man. Love his other piece ’ Digital Minimalism: How to Digital Detox and Declutter Your Online Life’: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40099422-digital-minimalism

Fiction: Finished up The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. Currently the pretty idiosyncratic ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’, by Philip Pullman.

Non-fiction: From Dunkirk to the Rhineland. Diaries from a British WW2 solider which mentions my Granddad. Discussed in my latest Tales from a Windy City vlog: laurencewarner.com/tales

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That book is not going to be out until next year though :wink:

Yeah I can’t wait too smart-ass! Given how good the content of the piece has been over the past year or so I expect it will do well.
My fave highlights from the piece:
His call to action to take part in the experiment:

Many of you expressed interest in participating in my digital declutter experiment during the month of January. The goal of this message is to describe the basic guidelines for how to participate.

The high-level idea for the experiment is to take a break from optional digital technologies throughout January. During this break, you’ll confront life directly, without the dulling mediation of a screen, allowing you to rediscover which activities and behaviors really provide value in your life, and which are mindless distraction.

When the month is over, I’ll help you leverage these insights to reintroduce these technologies into your life in an intentional manner – clearing out the clutter and putting back only those digital habits that truly matter.

There’s no one right way to implement the directive to “take a break from optional digital technologies.” I urge you to interpret this phrase in a way that makes the most sense for both your personal and professional constraints. Below are a few helpful suggestions to consider when deciding on the rules for your personal version of this experiment:

  • The break applies primarily to optional digital technologies in your personal life. Efficient uses of technology in the workplace is a topic for another day. In other words, don’t tell your boss that Cal said you can’t check email until February.
  • If possible, don’t log into any social media accounts during the experiment. Your don’t have to cancel these accounts – just try not to use them. You might find it useful to delete the apps from your phone so the temptation for a quick glance is removed.
  • If possible, don’t read news online . If you need to know what’s going on in the world during January buy a newspaper or turn on the radio.
  • If possible, don’t use the internet for entertainment . In more detail: Don’t web surf. Don’t browse YouTube videos. Ignore clever links lurking in email forwards. Though I hate to suggest it, take a break from blogs as well. (One exception, of course, is that you should continue to read my emails about this declutter experiment. I will also continue to publish blog posts during this month – as most of my readers are not participating in this experiment – but you should feel free to ignore these posts. I won’t hold it against you.) I’m fine if you want to still stream shows/movies or listen to podcasts, as these somehow seem different to me, but if you disagree, modify these definitions in a way that resonates.
  • If you’re a heavy text message user, consider serious restrictions on when you read and respond to these messages.
  • It’s likely too prohibitive to ignore personal email accounts during this entire period, but you probably shouldn’t check them constantly. If possible, temporarily deactivate these accounts from your phone, forcing you to wait until you’re at a computer to check your inbox.

In general, the most important thing is to fix some set of rules for the digital declutter that make sense to you. Then do your best to follow these rules, while simultaneously going easy on yourself when the inevitable backslide or exception emerges.

I hope I can convince many of you to attempt this experiment this January. This is my last email on this topic before the experiment begins on January 1st: so if you’re going to participate, you have all the information you need.

I’ll send my next email about the digital declutter – which will provide guidance for what to do with your newfound offline time – relatively early in the month.

For those who are participating in the declutter experiment: Happy Decluttering! And for everyone else: Happy New Year!


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Completed: High Rise Stories, Audrey Petty

Currently reading: Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare

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Much Ado, my first play aaaahhhhh (laurencewarner.com/acting to see what a true Messenger looks like)

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How’d ya like Much Ado in the end?
I’m currently workshopping ‘This can be no Trick’ as my go-to classical comedy monologue for acting auditions.