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This was one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s message is profound and deep and brings the reader face to face with the commitments we have and those we have abandoned. Why is this book one of the best? It’s message, its meaning and its timing.
It is well organized, the prose is engaging, the examples are good and varied as well. There is a blend of philosophy, science, social commentary, advocacy and yet all done gently enough to avoid being a polemic or manifesto, yet persuasive enough to make you sit up and pay attention to the way you treat your commitments. It’s a book we need now and the most important book I’ve read in years.
Browsing can be a nice, relaxing activity, as long as we are relaxed in the first place. But Davis warns that infinite browsing leads to anxiety and eventually, the loss of our sense of commitment. Many of the older generations already bemoan the fact that people nowadays tend to move around too much – in jobs, relationships, and country. I fact, this might have been the result of an abundance of choice in everything from soap to games, to the infinite ways of amusing ourselves.
In the past, tradition and things of the community were melted down with the view of replacing them with something else, but in recent times, the idea is to keep melting. Nothing stay the same for long; the objective is constant change. Melting down becomes an end in itself.
This book is about the virtues of commitment, how we are losing it to infinite choice, and the modern mantra of change in order to progress. It is a slightly meandering book, and some of his ideas a tad disjointed, but on the whole, an easy, thought-provoking book.
Sometimes I come across awesome books. Little treasures to read. This is such a golden book. This book is ‘the extension’ of Pete’s awesome 2018 Harvard graduation speech, which I recommend watching. It’s a deeply inspiring 9 minutes video, you should go there if you are also struggling to narrow the focus in your life or work.
What you can learn from this book:
1. Understand the infinite browsing mode
Pete Davis explains the challenge of our ‘liquid modernity’: we can’t commit because we are afraid of doing that. I’ve personally experienced commitment to one expertise area is a difficult move. Davis’ explains the 3 fears this could come from: - The fear of regret: we worry that if we commit to something, we will later regret having not committed to something else. - The fear of association: we think that if we commit to something, we will be vulnerable to the chaos that that commitment brings to our identity, our reputation, and our sense of control. - The fear of missing out (see also my previous book review about FOMO): we feel that if we commit to something, the responsibilities that come with it will prevent us from being everything, everywhere, to everyone.
2. The downside of keeping the options open
Davis explains that keeping the options open at first, is bringing the joy of new experiences but after a while starts getting us stuck and dissatisfied. It’s something I’ve experienced with so many (unfocused) people: they love to keep the options open but get burned out from jumping around and saying yes to almost everything. They all have the ambition to get known as subject matter experts but they are struggling to commit to the focus it requires. They get stuck in their infinite browsing mode which almost always leads to great despair in the long run. Davis’ book gives us great examples of the downside and provides us with hope and the process to leave our vicious liquid state.
3. The joy of depth
I will never forget Davis' saying: ‘Depth is your superpower’. Depth has been my way of living as a consultant the past decade and nobody ever described it as beautiful as Pete Davis: DEPTH IS YOUR SUPERPOWER. Wow! When we start going deep in our craft, we gain mastery, says Davis. And the depth that comes from such extended focus on our single craft, is a superpower. The narrowing is difficult (plenty of monsters waiting for us), says Davis, but the more time we add to something, the more beautiful it becomes. Davis finishes the book by stating that depth makes the ordinary extraordinary. What a wonderful closing.
Pete has inspired me tremendously (I listened to his audiobook - with Pete reading it himself - during a 7 hours car drive) and this treasure book will undoubtedly help me to inspire my clients to develop their superpower. Don't forget his graduation speech! Amazing!
Hay muchas ideas muy interesantes que nos ayudan a entender el contexto de oportunidades que tenemos y la dificultad que experimentamos para navegar en él. Sin adelantar más, este libro me ayudó a ser mas consciente de la importancia de la seguridad emocional para tomar decisiones y el impacto que esto tiene en mi calidad de vida. Espero que lo disfrutes también.
An inspiring essay on life, rich yet easy prose that goes down like candy and is worth the read in its own right, almost imperceptibly laced with teachings from the highest traditions of centuries of philosophy, and an insightful, provocative message that will catalyze if not force reflection likely to leave you both motivated to do better and at great peace with yourself. Strongly recommend.
One of the best books of the year. So well written. Pete does a great job of bringing into clarification on where we are at in our Infinite Browsing, how it came about, and what we individually can choose to do with it. While I am not a history buff, the examples he gave throughout the book were pertinent, and necessary. I really think we should all read and contemplate this book and what it's contents mean in our lives. I know that I do not want to stay in the hallway. Yes, you have to read the book to find out what that means. Finding a room here, and going to stay in it!
This book highlights the beauty of commitment in different aspects not just romantic. We’re always seeking what’s new and exciting, but never realize how beautiful it is to go thru ups and downs with hobbies, books, movies, etc. In today’s world it’s easy to lose focus, but those who commit are indeed the most admirable, most fit, most successful.