Ep 109 | Book Review: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport

November 5th, 2019 · 42 mins 50 secs

About this Episode

How would your life change if your digital world were clutter free?

In today’s episode we explore the philosophy of digital minimalism - the belief that less can be more to our relationship with digital tools. This idea stems for Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.”

We’re trading in the question “does it spark joy?” for the question “is this the best way to use technology to support my values?”

We want to hear from you! Tell us your burning tidying questions or share stories about how KonMari has impacted your life. Find us at www.sparkjoypodcast.com and click “Ask Spark Joy” to leave a question or comment for a chance to be featured on next week’s show.

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Joy Check

What's sparking joy for Karin: Vernado fan cool NYC fall breeze, windows open!

What's sparking joy for Kristyn: Creative winter months. Collaborating with an artist on a new For the Love of Tidy production

In this episode, you’ll enjoy:

  • Spark Joy's previous book review of "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, " Spark Joy Episode 21
  • "Deep Work," Cal Newport's previous book that sparked a discussion that led to the release of Digital Minimalism
  • The Pros. What we loved about the book:

    • The way it was organized
    • Insights about the Slot Machine Concept
    • The Three Principles of Digital Minimalism
    • Stories shared from his Digital Declutter Survey
    • Cal's views on personal transformation
      • The Cons. Things that didn't spark joy:
      • The thesis style format and technical writing style
      • A large amount of focus on the value of solitude
      • The Digital Minimalism Plan:
      • Set aside a 30-day period during which you will take a break from optionial technologies in your life.
      • During this 30-day period break, explore and rediscover activities and behaviors that you find satisfying and meaningful.
      • At the end of the break, reintroduce optional technologies into your life, starting from a blank slate. For each technology you reintroduce, determine what value it serves in your life and how specifically you will use it so as to maximize this value.
      • Similarities with a capsule wardeobe - Spark Joy episode 39: Closet Joy Part 2
      • Practical tips that Cal recommends leaning on as you work through the three steps of your digital minimalism plan
      • FI (Financial Independence) references: Spark Joy Episode 58
      • Tips on "filling the void" left when you break from your devices
      • How Karin and Kristyn have applied Cal's tips and more to make some big changes when it comes to digital clutter


  • “Is this the best way to use technology to support my values?”
  • "Because of technology I’m a better human being than I ever was before."
  • "Minimalists believe that the key to thriving in a high-tech world is to spend much less time using technology."
  • "The average user spends 50 minutes per day on Facebook products alone."
  • "In my experience, gradually changing your habits one at a time doesn’t work well."

You can find Karin Socci at The Serene Home
You can find Kristyn Ivey at For the Love of Tidy