- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Creative Good, Inc.; First Edition edition (June 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780979368103
- ISBN-13: 978-0979368103
- ASIN: 0979368103
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 212 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload Hardcover – June 15, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Praise for Bit Literacy
This is The Elements of Style for the digital age.
- Seth Godin, author, The Dip
Mark Hurst has written the indispensable guide to the digital era. Instead of a mere "how-to" guide, Hurst shows what's really going on when we struggle with e-mail and todo lists. For anyone who has ever used a computer, this will not just wildly increase their productivity (as it has for me!) - it'll also let their ideas fly.
- David Bodanis, author, E=mc2 and Passionate Minds
An informative and clear step-by-step guide on how to turn the ever-increasing avalanche of bits into a force that will propel your life and career.
- Tom Hughes, Chief Design Officer, Idealab
Mark Hurst is the smartest person thinking about ways technology can make our lives easier rather than harder. If you're willing to give up some of your useless bytes for true knowledge and crowded RAM for zen clarity, then get bit-literate today.
- Douglas Rushkoff, author, Get Back in the Box
A lot of people feel left out of the whole Internet and computer thing, but realize it could be really valuable for them. Bit Literacy provides the basic skills required for anyone to engage the wave of informational change.
- Craig Newmark, founder, craigslist.org
Most of us learned how to deal with digital technology in piecemeal fashion. We developed habits that served us well for a time. But for the modern digital age, almost all of our habits are bad. In Bit Literacy, Mark Hurst provides brief, no-nonsense, clear, and unbelievably helpful advice on how to replace those bad habits with good ones. Take his advice and instead of being tyrannized by the overload that comes at you daily, you'll be liberated.
- Barry Schwartz, author, The Paradox of Choice
The word 'empowerment' should be included in the subtitle of this book, as I believe reading it reduces the hypertension involved in our daily journey through the flotsam and jetsam of life. Bit Literacy helps make the complex clear.
- Richard Saul Wurman, author, Understanding USA
About the Author
Widely credited for popularizing "customer experience" online, Mark Hurst has worked since the birth of the Web to make Internet technology easier to use. Named one of the 1,000 most creative individuals in the U.S. by Richard Saul Wurman, and Netrepreneur of the Year by InfoWorld magazine, Hurst is a leading authority on making people more productive with technology.
As the founder of Creative Good and Good Experience, and host of the renowned Gel conference (Good Experience Live), Hurst and his companies help organizations work more productively and create better customer experiences. Hurst holds bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from MIT. He lives in New York City with his wife.
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This would be a great book to read if you are feeling the overload from your inbox and especially if you have more than one email inbox! The author's point of the book was neither to delete everything in your inbox when it gets overcrowded nor to live completely off of the grid. The point was to make the bits easy for you to manage. One of the ways to manage bits is to ask yourself, “is this leaving me empty?” or “what do I really get out of this?” I put down the book at this point and thought long and hard about my usage of Facebook. After I finished reading the book I actually took the time to clean up my Facebook of “friends” and business pages that I was following. I then took the time to actually unsubscribe to email lists that I no longer have interest in. Usually I would just delete the emails without reading them, but this Bit Literacy made me realize that they were still wasting my time by ever showing up in my inbox in the first place.
* People who are afraid of technology and people who are obsessed with technology really have the same relationship with technology-fear.
* Technology is here to stay. The impact it has on our lives is increasing and we must more and more vigilant about where and how we allow technology into our lives
* Technology can answer the how, but humans must answer the "Why" and "What for?"
Going to the Solutions part of the book, I was little disappointed. I was still confused about what bit literacy means and how it differed from computer literacy. I was given clues about it, but never really got a clear grasp of it. I also came across some phrases like:
"Emptiness is at the heart of bit literacy..." (pg. 211)
What does that mean? It sounds deep, but I missed the boat on that.
Moving beyond that, the book does have some really good guidelines about how to better select your information sources (especially overload). I say guidelines because they are more general in nature. When specific tips are given, they are highly detailed (leading to overload in reading them). Other details, while good, really didn't add anything to my repertoire though because most of the tips I already implement or I wasn't interested in. It's a good book, but it's gets lost in the process of trying to simplify the process.
Bottom line: the book's tone was sometimes off-putting, so the experience of reading it was definitely three stars, but what bumps my rating up to four stars is that unlike a lot of advice books, I do find myself using some of this book's advice in my actual life in a useful way. Ultimately glad I read it.
Edit: A tip!
The author rhapsodizes a lot about the to-do system he started up, Good Todo (Gootodo), which I thought seemed really awesome in theory, but unwieldy when I tried it. I've discovered, though, that I can easily use Remember the Milk for all of the most important features he hypes, and now I love them.