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Books photoJournal Productivity & Work

One page at a time

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Reading a book, preferably a physical one, is a good way to get your attention back.

The problem in reading on smartphones is distractibility. You’re a notification away from checking Instagram, email, or a text.

If you’re going to read on a digital device, make it a Kindle. Its lack of functionality — just try web browsing on it — is its best feature.

Reading is an escape from the endless buzz of the digital world. It builds focus. In today’s world, single-tasking is more important than ever.

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Books Life & Philosophy Psychology

Reading into book statistics 

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Back in the 1830s, ten thousand people bought Harriet Martineau’s book Illustrations of Political Economy. It’s a remarkable statistic that one hundred and forty thousand read it. Each family owned a copy and passed it around.

Each of those one hundred forty thousand readers in 1950 went on to own their own copy. Fast-forward to today and one copy of the book can sell that many times over.

But despite infinite shelf-space, fewer people are reading novels. Our attention clings to news with little substance. As a result, we fatten our minds with misinformation that has no utility. Instead, its serves as fodder for banter within our worlds of influence.

Technology eases distribution, yet it doesn’t guarantee people will read in depth.

“We’re spending ten times as much time with a device, and one-tenth as much time reading a book.” — Seth Godin

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Get Unstuck: 10 Tips to Unlocking Creativity

I published a new book that I think you’ll like, Get Unstuck: 10 Tips to Unlocking Creativity.

The book is an aggregation of the thoughts you typically see on this blog. Below are the 10 chapters (tips) to unlocking creativity:

  1. Believe That You’re Creative
  2. Do the Opposite
  3. Break Routines
  4. Copy Someone or Something
  5. Combine Ideas
  6. Curate Instead of Create
  7. Go for a Walk
  8. Take Time to Dream
  9. Do It “Now”
  10. Embrace Your Flaws

I hope you’ll support me in downloading this book. I’m happy to send you a PDF version of the book for free if you’ll provide an honest review on the Amazon product page. You can also send me an email or leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks for your support.

Wells Baum, aka Bombtune

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Printed newspapers may be a luxury item. People still have horses, but it’s not their primary way of commuting to the office.

Jeff Bezos
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We need separate devices

It used to be that we kept our devices separate, our MP3 player from our phone along with our books, cameras, and notepads.

Today, the phone has officially swallowed these things into one. And the quality is just as good if not better than the separate products by themselves.

For example, the camera on the iPhone 5 is sharper than any handheld camera I’ve ever had. I rarely miss a chance to catch a good idea or observation because of the phone’s quick accessible notepad in my pocket. And my book and music collection is more organized and searchable than it ever was in CD format.

There’s only one major issue in converging all of these amazing features into one device: Distraction.

Convergence saves us time, money, and space but it owns our attention. We can hardly read a book on the iPhone without itching to check our social networks, texts, and email. Sometimes we even do these things simultaneously while on a call.

The phone stimulates dopamine which in turn makes us addicted to checking. There’s always a fresh stream of content and new likes to see on our own shares.

For the past few years, the Kindle has been my only sanctuary from all this digital madness. The interface is completely dedicated to reading, although you can still share clippings to your social networks. I never do though for the simple fact my Kindle requires Wifi and because it just takes too long; certainly more than standard three clicks.

A lack of functionality in digital devices creates more focus. We don’t need one potent smartphone device, we need a few unconnected devices so we can consume or work uninterrupted.

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A Few Digital Habits

  • Twitter is the entertainment. Some of us don’t even watch TV; instead, we watch our Twitter streams and still get the download. Twitter is the new Cliff Notes.

  • The Kindle is still a great way to read digital books. It lacks the full functionality of a Smartphone on purpose; less distractions enable more focused reading.

  • Keep Reminders digital and To-dos optional. Set automatic reminders on the phone or on the computer. Write to-dos in whatever screen works best. I typically keep a log of things I need to do in one document and scribe priorities on a sticky note. There’s something about writing out a to-do that makes it more actionable.