Media Scholar and TED superstar, Sherry Turkle, wowed me and over 5 million other people with her brilliant talk “Connected, but are we alone?” In its aftermath, she wrote Alone, Together, which fleshes the thesis of her Ted Talk: technology is silencing us. Reclaiming Conversation follows up to Alone Together—less robot discussion, more investigation of dissatisfaction with technology—and is equally important. What is our most basic tool for staying connected? According to Turkle, face-to-face conversation. Since EP was founded with face-to-face meetings, and intentionally chose not to have an online social media presence, the book underscores the importance of IRL communities where people commune. Although much of the narrative includes research, Turkle offers practical advice. She is not a Luddite and doesn’t suggest we should be one either. I loved this book for the simple reasons that it confirmed my distains towards technology, while also empowering me with solutions to use it in more meaningful ways. Perhaps too, it helped me to bridge the technological generation gap I experience around Tweens, and that, most of all, is a win!
After my first year living in Hanoi, I was going mad. I went from living beneath sapphire skies to everyday gray. Trees were another problem. There just weren’t any. I was convinced my funk was a result of the lack of nature around me. According to The Nature Fix, my hunch was right. Williams is not a researcher herself, but a journalist who experienced a similar low when she moved from tree-drenched Colorado to drab Washington D.C. Although Hanoi offered a slew of environmental issues to bog me down, there was one thing I realized I could fix. From stories about research on the Redwoods in the American West to the forests of Korea where people practice forest bathing, Williams concludes that we all need more of one thing: nature. Her keen investigation reveals something else. People need a specific amount to be happy. To find out the dose, I recommend that you get this book, and go read it under a tree.