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How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design Paperback – May 5, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
A wide-ranging self-help guide explores the potential perils of the modern sedentary, screen-obsessed lifestyle and offers tips for achieving resilient health and memory.
Madden (The Durable Human Manifesto, 2013), a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists, warns that with their current dependence on technology, humans are not only losing muscle mass and memory, but also opening themselves up to the possibility of being superseded by robots. She calls her proposed solution the "Triple Crown of Durability": self-reliance, genuine relationships, and curiosity. According to the author, the barriers to healthy development are considerable, ranging from the metabolic diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle to the eye strain caused by frequent screen use. She also frets over the energy emitted by Wi-Fi-enabled devices, which she rather whimsically refers to as "The Glow." A possible association between cellphone use and cancer remains controversial, but a few high-profile cases have made it at least seem prudent to use hands-free devices whenever possible and not store cellphones and tablets on one's person. Luckily, this book is not all doom and gloom: rather than leaving it at plain scaremongering, it lists straightforward mitigation strategies at every turn. Madden enumerates simple ways to add more walking and standing to each workday and suggests that cutting time with gadgets by spending more moments outside contributes to better health and sleep, especially for children. Many problems boil down to having an overloaded brain, she explains, so mindfulness and decompression through music, conversation, or exercise are essential. Anecdotes and everyday metaphors help to drive the lessons home. For instance, Madden was forced to pay better attention when she fell off her folding bike because she didn't secure the handlebars properly. She deftly equates sleep to the body performing a thorough cleanup of its systems like a dishwasher and compares working memory to an often leaky bucket. Sometimes the book seems overly indebted to opinions and quotations from other authors, but that doesn't significantly detract from how useful a compendium of knowledge it should prove to be.
An all-too-relevant and eminently practical book that offers health strategies in a gadget-packed world.
- Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
JENIFER JOY MADDEN has informed the world about health and well-being on news outlets from ABC News to The Discovery Health Channel; The Huffington Post to The Washington Post; to her website, DurableHuman.com. A member of the National Association of Science Writers and Society of Environmental Journalists, Jenifer is a multi-media reporter, design ethicist, digital communications professor, and award-winning community leader. But her most prized accomplishment is raising three loving, contributing, durable humans.
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It turns out there are a few tricks to preserving our essential humanity in a digital future. Madden offers practical advice on keeping social media in balance, mining the positive aspects of technology, and avoiding the predatory dangers that are lurking in the online world. She also has next-generation insights on “lost in the shuffle” values like getting enough sleep, the criticality of actual human relationships, exercise for the mind and body, and the restorative power of spending time in the natural world.
The ways our children take in and process information and communicate with each other and the world around them are changing so rapidly, moms and dads have a tough time keeping up and staying relevant. It takes about ten minutes these days to become “old school”. Luckily Jenifer Joy Madden is around to monitor the flood of trends and technology, and help parents navigate the changing information landscape their kids inhabit.
I loved a lot of things in this book. My favorite part was the section on the power of hugs! Overall, I think this book is great, and I recommend it to everyone. I am even thinking about purchasing a copy to donate to my company's resource library.