The Revenge of Analog

The Revenge of Analog

Real Things and Why They Matter

Book - 2016
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One of Michiko Kakutani's ( New York Times ) top ten books of 2016

A funny thing happened on the way to the digital utopia. We've begun to fall back in love with the very analog goods and ideas the tech gurus insisted that we no longer needed. Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life. Notebooks, records, and stationery have become cool again. Behold the Revenge of Analog.

David Sax has uncovered story after story of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even big corporations who've found a market selling not apps or virtual solutions but real, tangible things. As e-books are supposedly remaking reading, independent bookstores have sprouted up across the country. As music allegedly migrates to the cloud, vinyl record sales have grown more than ten times over the past decade. Even the offices of tech giants like Google and Facebook increasingly rely on pen and paper to drive their brightest ideas.

Sax's work reveals a deep truth about how humans shop, interact, and even think. Blending psychology and observant wit with first-rate reportage, Sax shows the limited appeal of the purely digital life-and the robust future of the real world outside it.

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, ©2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781610395717
1610395719
Characteristics: xix, 282 pages ;,25 cm.

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c
c8r2cats
Sep 01, 2017

Plain and simple, as members of the human race, we have basic needs for interaction with other human beings; physical, tactile, reality-based experiences; and a psyche that won't be fooled by, or satisfied with, digital substitutes. The proponents of an all-digital world are being taught an expensive and shocking lesson. As much as I embrace this message, I found the book itself slightly boring, devoting way more words and space to each topic than necessary. I can't necessarily recommend spending hours reading the book. After all, the title pretty much tells the entire story!

d
Dave99_0
Jul 04, 2017

The chapter on film photography is quite interesting. I am not surprised that film photography is making a comeback. You cannot take proper photos with a 2.0 Megapixel cellphone camera. To take proper digital photos, you need to spend at least $600. on a smartphone camera or pay at least $600. for a digital camera. Yes, digital photography eliminates the cost of expensive film. However, the cost of a good 35. mm. analog camera was half as much as the price of a digital camera. Consequently, there is no compelling reason to switch to digital photography. I would rate "The Revenge of Analog" at 4.0 stars.

j
Jodi13
Jun 26, 2017

An interesting read, and makes you think about deciding which digital technology to embrace and which to not.

w
wyenotgo
Jun 08, 2017

While the title is deliberately provocative, this is really more like a testimonial on behalf of things that are real than a call for revenge. Much of what Sax says is reassuring, optimistic that we have not become irreversibly hostage to digitally based technology. But in places, it strikes me as wishful thinking, especially in the chapter titled Revenge of Work. Sorry, but those "blue collar" jobs are not coming back. Some went to China, the rest no longer exist anywhere. Technology has not replaced old jobs with "new economy" jobs -- it has replaced them with permanent unemployment for some and poverty-level McJobs for others. Technology is busily destroying the middle class, taking the economic structure of the western world back 150 years to the start of the industrial revolution. The spread between entry level wages and those of senior executives grows wider by the day. On the other hand, in his chapter on education Sax really offers great insight and hope for the future. He makes a compelling case on behalf of the value of those so-called "soft skills" like empathy, collaboration, critical thinking which are entirely the domain of human instinct and socialization -- a field that the digital domain cannot address.
Overall, a very thought-provoking book, impressively researched.

SPL_Sonya May 31, 2017

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter written by David Sax is an exploration into society's growing desire for more tactile, human-centric experiences. This insight first revealed itself to the author in 2012, when he noticed a record store open in his Toronto neighbourhood. After spending a decade replacing physical music collections with virtual ones, music lovers were rediscovering the pleasure of physically browsing and buying music and record stores are thriving. Most significant is the demographic buying these records -- young music lovers who grew up with digital music!

The author soon discovered that the very human need for social interactions and the need for all of our senses to be stimulated are at the heart of the revenge of analog.

Board Game Cafes are increasing in popularity, encouraging players to create and maintain real friendships. Paintball and Escape Rooms replicate video games but provide a real experience and social interaction. Niche focused print magazines are providing a venue for bloggers who want a level of credibility that isn't achievable online. Independent bookstores are growing once again with a clientele who appreciate the assistance of staff who can link their reading tastes with recommendations. Analog schools have proven to be a better learning environment. Children need to physically touch, smell and, yes, even taste paint. Tech companies design analog work spaces with white boards, ping pong tables and free meals to encourage more interpersonal interaction and collaboration in a workplace which would otherwise lean toward isolation.

Sax, a writer and reporter, concludes that as digital technology continues to rightfully thrive, the more important analog becomes to our overall well being.

This insightful, well researched and thoroughly documented book is available at the Stratford Public Library through our Perth County Information Network of Libraries in print, e-book and audio formats.

a
aquifuhrer
Apr 20, 2017

A very tedious and boring read. I started glossing over chapters halfway through. The author thinks that in giving minute details of an interview he held, throwing in a few creative words in the process, and restating his point over and over again, he's creating a fascinating, insightful presentation and discussion of the subject. Wrong. He could easily cut this book down by half and get his point across more effectively. My overwhelming reaction is "yeah, yeah, I got it the first time you said it."

d
devsalz
Mar 24, 2017

I liked this book. It wasn't political, pretentious, or academic. It didn't drag on. It pointed out the shortcomings of our culture's worship of tech as a be all and end all savior.

j
japdx
Mar 13, 2017

I got this book because I am someone who buys records, has multiple magazine subscriptions, a NYTimes subscription, you know the target audience for this type of book.

However this book would make a great article in the New Yorker, or the Sunday NYT magazine. Just the intro, a few paragraphs from the 1st chapter, a few paragraphs on education/tech failure, and a good bit from the epilogue.

The rest of the book is utter garbage. I don't know know how many times I said to myself after finishing some grandiose over generalized pronouncement by this author with: No, actually that is not how it works, or how it happened.

Time and time again, this author took bits of information, and jammed it into his predetermined narrative, and if it did not fit nice and neatly, he just glossed right over it with some grand pronouncement.

This book is not worth the time investment.

m
mamabadger56
Dec 27, 2016

This book has excellent chapters along with a lot of rather mediocre material. In spite of David Sax's best intentions, many of his chapters on analog revivals read (ironically) a little like an online 'listacle' as in "Ten Analog Technologies That Made a Surprising Comeback." They report on these comebacks without providing much insight. But he makes up for it with some thoughtful and informative chapters, particularly Chapter 6, "The Revenge of Retail;" Chapter 8 which deals with technology in public schools; and the epilogue.

AndyD_KCMO Dec 15, 2016

David Sax visited the KC Public Library in December 2016; audio from his presentation is available to listen to online.

(Cut and paste the link below into your browser)
https://ia801504.us.archive.org/8/items/2016128DavidSax/2016-12-8DavidSax.mp3

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m
mamabadger56
Dec 27, 2016

"The younger someone was, the more digitally exposed their generation was, the less I found them enamoured by digital technology, and the more they were wary of its effects. [...] These kids revered analog. They craved it. And they were more articulate about its benefits than was anyone else I spoke with."

m
mamabadger56
Dec 27, 2016

"In the end, we are analog machines and these things tend to work with us. People who are versatile in the analog world make better digital stuff." (Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine)

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