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The Digital Diet: The 4-step plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life Paperback – May 3, 2011
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"Anyone who thinks he or she doesn’t need a digital diet is in denial. Sieberg nails the sad truth of what our tech-triggered ADD has done to us and offers solutions for breaking away--and re-incorporating these same tools in a healthier, more meaningful way. If you've got your nose in your blackberry as you read this, this book is for you."
--Leigh Gallagher, assistant managing editor, Fortune
"The Digital Diet is a book packed with wisdom you can put to use right away. It gives you the power to take a huge weight off your shoulders -- and regain control of your life. Sieberg clearly loves technology, and shows how to make it work for you, not you for it."
--Will Schwalbe, co-author of SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better.
“Outlines simple advice on how to reduce your Internet intake and gain control of your life…With his nifty new book, he's given overburdened consumers some sound advice.” - Jon Swartz, USA Today
"This book is brisk, lively, and smart. It's also deeply important: many of us use technology too much, without realizing it. Sieberg has had his own problems with overuse and overload, and now he's emerged with a very sensible set of solutions for helping people restore balance to their lives. It's the rare diet book that might actually work."
-- Nicholas Thompson, Senior Editor, The New Yorker
"In The Digital Diet, Daniel Sieberg offers strategies to help us address our tech-dependence and learn to live peacefully with technology. Through well-researched data and guided exercises, he provides a new way to think about, and ultimately change, our connection to the digital world. This book is fun, informed, and incredibly user-friendly."
--Dr. Katherine L. Muller, Behavioral Psychologist, Center for Integrative Psychotherapy
About the Author
DANIEL SIEBERG contributes to ABC, BBC, and MSNBC and was formerly the science and technology correspondent for CBS and CNN. He lives in New York City with his wife, daughter, and beagle.
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Organized into a month of staged concepts and exercises, Daniel's program includes elements of detox, developing a "virtual weight index," and relearning to connect with important people directly. And, mercifully, there's no "Back your car over that iPhone immediately!" command. Daniel understands we're not going to get far by trying to reverse our collective march into the digital sunset. That course has been charted. Instead, he wants you to learn to live with a "sustainable intake" of tech influence, not be staggered and run over by ringtones and Cloud-fails.
Not many of us will experience the kind of epiphany about our tech habits that Daniel had during a video shoot he did off West End, Grand Bahama, observed by a large and unplugged tiger shark. "I actually had the urge to use my BlackBerry underwater," Daniel writes, "while a fearsome predator stared me down. What the hell was wrong with me?"
What was "wrong" with him can hit any of us on dry land. You don't have to be what TV-speak calls a "tech guru" to know the allure of the LED-pulsing, churning techno reef our world has become. Always a next version, a next generation, a next iteration, the better screen, the faster connectivity, the higher pixel count, and schools of fishy folks all swimming in precisely the same direction. (They bonded while standing in line at 3 a.m. to buy the next great piece of bait dangled in front of them.)
Daniel "got it honest," coming to his work with a native interest in computers and those far-flung inter-webs. Where I think he does his best work for the networks is in blowing away the PR smoke screens used by the persuasion-profiling corporate forces behind the roll-outs. He knows that when we hear of "tech advances," that often means advances into our time, our space, our privacy, and our peace of mind. I confess that for all the tricks I've learned to find focus and the mental room I need for creative work, I'm still hand-over-fist with my tech, teetering daily between DIGITAL DIET-ing and G4 grazing.
Daniel's book has been good for me in this regard. (I've had an advance copy to peruse.) And if you are among the folks who are really troubled by a sense of kneejerk enslavement to tech's treats, you can find hope here, too. Two factors are in your favor:
(1) Daniel Sieberg is frequently the "gadget guy" you see on TV, powering through CES, a true expert in the field. If he can beat the charger-choked craze that such a job becomes, the rest of us can, too.
(2) And his writings here come from way beyond the glam-soaked, neon-buzzing, stage-roaming CEO interviews and tablet wars. There's a lot of heart in his writing.
Clean, spirited, and never less than committed, Daniel Sieberg's text comes from a point of personal investment, at times of real crisis. He cares about your experience in the jangling jungle because he has to work there every damned day. In this book, you meet a fellow who's had to figure out how to remember that his life is deeper than the hurly-burly of talk shows and those fad-fueled liveshots.
I don't think this is the end of Dan's journey. It reads to me as a prelude to new adjustments, not just a farewell to old ones. But if the trip he's on in life can offer us, from time to time, something as rare as this book--a how-to guide with genuine conviction and personable concern--then we're lucky to share the ride with him.
I think the majority of people understand the use of technology can get totally out of control. When I see neighborhood kids walking down the street and texting to the people beside them - it seems the use of technology is out of control. That is just one of many examples we see every day.
If you are one of the many people who has a cell phone, a computer, a laptop, several email accounts, several social media accounts, and iPad and various other technology items - you know what I mean. Just finding enough plug ins to recharge all those things can take a while. So, maybe you need The Digital Diet. I know the word "diet" scares people, but author Daniel Sieberg steps readers through his 4 step plan, one step at a time.
There are a number of quotes from the book that I really enjoyed...
"At the core, the Digital Diet is about common sense and common courtesy, Impress yourself and those around you. Be the master, not the slave."
"Technology makes life more sterile and makes it too easy to avoid a conversation (services like slydial send you straight to voice mail), face responsibility (sorry, didn't get your message), or display emotions (those emoticons just don't cut it). Too often technology allows us to replace meaningful interaction with superficial ones. Many of us have become terrible and ineffective communicators and blog and elfish broadcasters. Lots of telling but very little listening. We've come to rely on what I call, in fast food term, "drive through conversations". Pull up, get what you want and drive away. No fuss, no muss. If only real life were so convenient."
"... our heads down, all too often we give in to our gadgets and let them be our guide. But when we use our mind and our social graces to overcome a particular dilemma, like catching the right train, there is a sense of pride that we accomplished something, not our device. That's one key to better management of our digital life. Recognize those occasions when your brain is able to solve the problem and rely on it."
Let's face it - keeping up with every new gadget, toy, program or social site is very exhausting. So, using Sieberg's plan makes sense. These are short summaries of the 4 step plan.
Step 1 - Think - Consider how technology has overwhelmed our society and the effect it's had on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Step 2 - Boot - Take stock of your digital intake using Sieberg's Virtual Weight Index and step back from the device.
Step 3 - Connect - Focus on restoring the relationship that have been harmed by the technology in your life.
Step 4 - Vitalize - Learn how to live with technology - the healthy way, by optimizing your time spent e-mailing, texting, on Facebook and web surfing.
As with any diet plan, you should review all the steps and then find the best way to utilize the plan to improve your life. But having read this book and shared the information with friends, I really think you will be pleasantly surprised by the things you will learn about yourself by reading this book and working through parts of the plan. Imagine the difference it could make when you're able to take back control of your life...