Hamlet's Blackberry

Hamlet's Blackberry Cover

Hamlet's Blackberry

Building a Good Life in the Digital Age

By William Powers

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061687174, 267pp.

Publication Date: August 9, 2011


Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose a burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave.

How to solve this problem? Hamlet's BlackBerry argues that we just need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. William Powers sets out to solve what he calls the conundrum of connectedness. Reaching into the past using his own life as laboratory and object lesson he draws on some of history's most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, to demonstrate that digital connectedness serves us best when it's balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness. Lively, original, and entertaining, Hamlet's BlackBerry will challenge you to rethink your digital life.

About the Author
William Powers has worked for over a decade in development aid in Latin America, Africa, Washington, D.C., and Native North America. His project in the Bolivian Amazon won the 2003 Harvard University JFK School prize for innovation. He is author of the Liberia memoir "Blue Clay People," and contributor to two recent books on tropical biodiversity. His essays have appeared in the "New York Times "and "International Herald Tribune," and he provides commentary for World Vision Radio and NPR. Powers, who is still based in Bolivia, is 2004-2005 recipient of the Open Door Foundation fellowship for nonfiction

Praise For Hamlet's Blackberry

“[An] elegant meditation on our obsessive connectivity and its effect on our brains and our very way of life.”
-Laurie Winer, New York Times Book Review

“Powers mounts a passionate but reasoned argument for ‘a happy balance’. . . . [He] is a lively, personable writer who seeks applicable lessons from great thinkers of the past. . . . Lucid, engaging prose and [a] thoughtful take on the joys of disconnectivity.”
-Heller McAlpin, Christian Science Monitor

“A brilliant and thoughtful handbook for the Internet age—why we have this screen addiction, its many perils, and some surprising remedies that can make your life better.”
-Bob Woodward

“In this delightfully accessible book, Powers asks the questions we all need to ask in this digitally driven time. And teaches us to answer them for ourselves.”
-Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid

“Benjamin Franklin would love this book. He knew the power of being connected, but also how this must be balanced by moments of reflection. William Powers offers a practical guide to Socrates’ path to the good life in which our outward and inward selves are at one.”
-Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

“Always connected. Anytime. Anyplace. We know it’s a blessing, but we’re starting to notice that it’s also a curse. In Hamlet’s Blackberry, William Powers helps us understand what being ‘connected’ disconnects us from, and offers wise advice about what we can do about it…. A thoughtful, elegant, and moving book.”
-Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less