How to Break Up with Your Phone on

I didn’t expect much going in. I’ve merely picked up this book while scrolling through book lists on minimalism. After not only finishing the book but also completing the 30-day “breakup”, I now know that I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. How to Break Up with Your Phone offers way more insight and wide-ranging advice than its cover would lead you to believe.

The book is split into two parts. First, the wake-up, which lays the theoretical foundation and explains why you might want to reconsider your relationship with your phone. Second, the breakup, which is a 30-day hands-on guide to improving that very relationship. Throughout, the guide doesn’t just focus on your screen time but rather makes you question your use of technology in general, how you could leverage its upsides while avoiding its (addictive) downsides, and how you could fill your newly won time with fulfilling activities.

Personally, most of the advice would have been on point for me one or two years ago. After iOS 12 introduced Screen Time, I’ve slowly started to rethink the amount of time I spent on my iPhone. During this breakup now, I’ve learned that I already have had developed a good relationship with my phone and that the book’s target audience is on a whole nother level. Ironically, right on day one, I actually overestimated the number of times I pick up my iPhone.

For the typical smartphone user though, this book fits perfectly. Its breakup guide will make people more than a bit uncomfortable, which is the whole point of the exercise. As for me, I’m certainly not the book’s typical reader, having just completed a digital declutter inspired by Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. Despite that, it was refreshing to see that Catherine Price’s and Cal Newport’s core message are very similar.

Read in May–June 2020.