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The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection (Paperback)
"In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Harris argues that our greatest loss has been that of absence itself—of silence, wonder, and solitude."
Are you concerned about striking a balance between technology and a meaningful life? Do you have the niggling feeling that being connected 24/7 isn't all it's cracked up to be? Do you miss daydreaming, and even solitude? Insightful and funny, The End of Absence is essential reading for all of us who want to use technology as a tool, but find ourselves becoming disturbingly addicted to the gratification of "likes" and "followers". I've read some great books about social media lately (Writing on the Wall, Rewire, etc), but this is really the one I've been looking for.
Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean? Those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After. We catch ourselves idly reaching for our phones at the bus stop. Or we notice how, midconversation, a fumbling friend dives into the perfect recall of Google. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Michael Harris argues that amid all the changes we're experiencing, the most interesting is the end of absence-the loss of lack. The daydreaming silences in our lives are filled; the burning solitudes are extinguished. There's no true "free time" when you carry a smartphone. Today's rarest commodity is the chance to be alone with your thoughts. Michael Harris is an award-winning journalist and a contributing editor at Western Living and Vancouvermagazines. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
About the Author
MICHAEL HARRIS is the author of The End of Absence, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award and became a national bestseller. He writes about media, civil liberties, and the arts, for dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, Wired, Salon, The Huffington Post, and The Globe & Mail. His work has been a finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, the CBC Bookie Awards, and several National Magazine Awards. He lives in Vancouver with his partner, the artist Kenny Park. MichaelJohnHarris.com
"The End of Absence is a genial and philosophical tour through one man’s anxieties surrounding digital life.” —The New York Times
"Harris has caught, with brilliant fidelity and incisiveness, a hinge-point in modern history: Before and After the Digital Rapture. The End of Absence deserves a place alongside Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death and Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen. A great, important (and fun) read. I couldn’t in good conscience lend out my copy: every other page is dog-eared." —Bruce Grierson, author of What Makes Olga Run?
“This is a lovely, direct, and beautifully written book that will make you feel good about living in the times we do. Michael Harris is honest in a way I find increasingly rare: clear, truthful, and free of vexation. A true must-read.” —Douglas Coupland, author of Worst. Person. Ever. and Generation X
“The End of Absence is a beautifully written and surprisingly rousing book. Michael Harris scans the flotsam of our everyday, tech-addled lives and pulls it all together to create a convincing new way to talk about our relationship with the Internet. He has taken the vague technological anxiety we all live with and shaped it into a bold call for action.” —Steven Galloway, author of The Confabulist and The Cellist of Sarajevo
“Everybody over sixty should read this book. The rest of the population will need no urging, unless they are too far gone to read anything longer than a blurb. The first part reads like a horror story, a shocking mind-thriller. In the second half the author, despite real foreboding, demonstrates in his own person that all is far from lost. Relief, after much learning.” —Margaret Visser, author of Much Depends on Dinner
“In this thoughtful, well-written book, Michael Harris combines personal narrative with the views of experts to show us that the digital revolution that envelops us contains traps that can lead us to understand less even as we seem to know more.” —Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom