Welcome to What We’re Reading. Each month, we’ll curate a list of books―from perennial classics to new releases―chat with authors, and review titles with the hope of co-creating a community of well-read makers. Discussions around work, creativity, and entrepreneurship are constantly evolving; here, we aim to create a space for different ideas and approaches to be in conversation with one another. Whether you’re already an avid reader or wish you read more, we hope you’ll feel inspired to read along with us.
This month, we’re reading three books and a longform article about disconnecting from technology, what it means to do nothing in a capitalist economy, and how silence can be essential to sanity and happiness.
For many of us, August brings a longing for the crackling sounds of a campfire, the smell of an open road, or the feeling of a late summer sun our skin. In many parts of the world, August is a month of holidays. In some countries, workers even take the entire month off. And while such indulgences are less common in the U.S., this time of year does bring with it an urge to slow down and maybe even disconnect.
But what does disconnecting really look like in today’s world? Today, a full 95% of Americans live our lives with a miniature computer permanently attached to us. For the vast majority of us, phones have become a literal extension of our bodies; they’re the first thing we look at each morning and the last thing we see each night before we drift off to sleep. Some of us even go through real, physical withdrawals from our phones, whether that’s feeling vibrations in your pocket when no one is calling or hearing your phone ring when, in fact, it’s not.
For better or worse, when it comes to taking time away from technology—the constant streams of text messages, the obsessive refreshing of social media apps, or the incessant urge to check our email at all hours of the day—many of us admit that we want to but, for some reason, we just can't.
Disconnecting or unplugging may look different for everyone, and there is no right way to do it. But one way to start is by realizing that we’d like to, and identifying a method that might make sense for our particular situation. Whether we like it or not, summer is winding down to a close, and so, there’s no better time to prioritize the practice of recharging our bodies and minds.
This month, we’re reading things that inspire us to slow down, take a look around, and reconnect with ourselves. Today’s culture often urges us to “rise and grind”—365 days a year, if possible. These selections encourage us, instead, to make an effort to unplug and recharge, whatever that may mean to us, and then use the clarity rest affords to get back to work on our personal and professional goals.