Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
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on May 26, 2016
A guide that every person should own. Power's amazing fusion of the digital age we live in with philosophical tech lessons of the past has greatly impacted my daily life. Most importantly, my life has been improved with the guidance in this book.

I used to feel frazzled and easily distract due to an overload of digital usage. This book provide practical guides and ideas on how to disconnect and use technology like a philosopher. Thank you HBB for making me a more effective digital executive!
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on April 27, 2016
Great book. I enjoyed the author's writing style. The author went and compared how people in past generations coped with the social media their time then how we can do the same things today. In the end of the book, you almost feel like the problem of media has not been solved. But there are strong principles to derive from the book.
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on March 28, 2016
Before someone even recommended this book to me, I was trying to unplug from the digital world. I was experiencing a lack of attention and a frustration that I had become unable to focus on anything for any length of time. I was spending too much time on social media and feeling unsatisfied by the experience. In a nutshell, I was burnt out on technology. So I stopped carrying my cell phone everywhere, a limited my time on social media to 20 minutes a day, and checked my emails only once per day (if there was something important someone needed to tell me, they have my landline phone number). I also stopped reading the newspaper and watching television news. I was reading more books and keeping a handwritten journal again in a Moleskine notebook.

What happened was dramatic: My mind became uncluttered, I had more time for myself, my vocabulary improved, and I became more creative.

By the time I picked up Hamlet's Blackberry, I was already reaping the benefits of what the author described. But the book is so compelling and full of fascinating information about past culture's struggles with new technology that I could not put it down. The extra focus I'd gained from not using digital technology so much made the act of reading pleasurable for a change. And guess what? I felt like I was actually gaining some valuable information instead of digital fluff.

I cannot give this book a higher rating than 5 stars, but if I could, I'd give it 10. It's well-written in a style that's not ponderous to read, which in itself is a pleasure. I'm not going to get into a blow-by-blow explication of the contents--I'll leave the pleasure of that adventure to you. Suffice it to say that it is a valuable book to read if you have become disenchanted with digital media, and find yourself craving some freedom for some serious self-reflection and discovery.
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on November 13, 2015
“tap, tap tap…”

This “tapping” is the what most of us experience every day according to William Powers, author of Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age.

The book is divided into 3 sections: The first seeks to deal with the question, “How is our technology affecting us?”, both negatively and positively. Section two takes a look at seven men throughout history who navigated through the new advances of their day while still keeping their heads above the “technological waters”. Powers concludes in section three by sharing modern, practical applications that can be gleaned from the historical examples in section two, and how he and his family have applied similar principles to live a more deep and meaningful life in their home.

In my reading of Hamlet’s Blackberry, I was convicted from the first chapter of my own over-dependence on technology. I shuttered with Powers as he recounted the horror of falling from his boat into the water with his iPhone in tow to find that the phone had “given up the ghost”. Yet the freedom he felt soon after losing all connection to the outside world also resonated with me, giving me a desire to loose my connection with the digital world and experience a similar independence.

Unfortunately, the historical examples in section two, including Socrates, Seneca, Benjamin Franklin and beyond, felt stretched, and at times irrelevant. For example, Powers tries hard to draw modern parallels through Seneca’s pursuit of focus through writing letters, and Franklin’s list of moral virtues to practice, but seems to come up short with content, often filling in the gaps with unnecessary historical commentary and personal stories.

Half of section three also becomes something of a rehash of “lessons learned” in section two, apart from a few encouraging stories of the flourishing the Powers family experienced through taking steps to disconnect from the digital stream by instead, connecting in the right ways. They achieved this by making their home a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, fostering uninterrupted family time, and creating special space in the home for quiet, reflective solitude.

Hamlet’s Blackberry offers some helpful insights into the search for the deep, meaningful life in an often shallow digital age. If read with an open mind, this book should cause you to question your own heart and assess your digital habits. Regrettably, most of these quality insights seem to be strewn between a lot of unnecessary content.
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on November 8, 2015
Clear perspective about self and the many unnecessary digital connections in our life......
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on November 1, 2015
Great commentary on technology. Mankind had complained for years about the detrimental effect of life-changing inventions. Here is in a comprehensive, well-written account that encompasses Socrates, Seneca, Guttenberg, Franklin, Thoreau and a host of others. Great read and inspires great conversation.
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on April 26, 2015
The point the author is making is valid -- today's society is addicted to 'screens' and instant information-gratification.

HOWEVER, I have to give this book just 2 stars, because the author goes on and on and ON repeating the same theme page after page after page. What you or I could write in just 2-3 paragraphs, the author feels compelled to write in 2-3 pages (or more!) Sooo many times I was reading this book and I was like "ok, I get the point -- rather, I got the point a few pages ago, are you really still talking about the same theme? OMG!"

I really really really wanted to like this book, but I just can't. Yes, I agree with the author's point that we need to slow down and appreciate the world around us, but the way to do that is not through endless repetition.
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on April 9, 2015
Just a book needed for college.
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on February 19, 2015
Great book about the revolution of communication and transfer of knowledge! After reading you will want to try the digital Sabbath!
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on February 18, 2015
A must read for the connected era.
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