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Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 4 2021
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Most of us have had this experience: browsing through countless options on Netflix, unable to commit to watching any given movie—and losing so much time skimming reviews and considering trailers that it’s too late to watch anything at all. In a book inspired by an idea first articulated in a viral commencement address, Pete Davis argues that this is the defining characteristic of the moment: keeping our options open. We are stuck in “Infinite Browsing Mode”—swiping through endless dating profiles without committing to a single partner, jumping from place to place searching for the next big thing, and refusing to make any decision that might close us off from an even better choice we imagine is just around the corner. This culture of restlessness and indecision, Davis argues, is causing tension in the lives of young people today: We want to keep our options open, and yet we yearn for the purpose, community, and depth that can only come from making deep commitments.
In Dedicated, Davis examines this quagmire, as well as the counterculture of committers who have made it to the other side. He shares what we can learn from the “long-haul heroes” who courageously commit themselves to particular places, professions, and causes—who relinquish the false freedom of an open future in exchange for the deep fulfillment of true dedication. Weaving together examples from history, personal stories, and applied psychology, Davis’s “insightful without being preachy…guide to commitment should be on everyone’s reading list” (Booklist, starred review).
“A celebration of caring and community within our often bloodless digital world . . . Davis makes a persuasive case for dedication as ‘an alternative path of life.’” —Kirkus Reviews
“A manifesto for deeper civic engagement to create a path toward a more robust democracy.” —The Progressive
"If you have ever struggled to cross the Rubicon and commit to an endeavor that would foreclose other options, then this book is for you. Pete Davis provides a provocative countercultural thesis for our time, explaining why resolve and stamina are in such short supply and how we can, in an era of infinite browsing, learn to be dedicated." —Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and founder and CEO of Character Lab
"Pete Davis is one of America’s most creative and inspiring young writers—sparkling with enthusiasm, yet profound beyond his years. In Dedicated he challenges his peers to change America and themselves for the better by committing themselves to something greater than self. It’s a sermon, all right, but it’s far too lively to be just a sermon. And those of us a bit older could learn a thing or two by eavesdropping." —Robert D. Putnam, Research Professor, Harvard Kennedy School, and author of Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again
“Pete Davis’s Dedicated is a magisterial book on the moral Counterculture of Commitment in our shallow culture of money and fear. His depth of wisdom and scope of knowledge are astonishing. And his powerful vision of decency and democracy are compelling.” —Cornel West, Harvard University
"The most countercultural act you can do today may be committing to something for a long period of time, maybe forever. That's the word that married couples tend to balk on these days—not 'love,' 'honor' or even 'obey,' but 'forever' or 'all my life.' In his provocative new book Pete Davis shows us why commitment is so difficult for people today, but why it is also not only beneficial, but necessary, if we are ever to accomplish anything of value or live lives of depth." —James Martin, SJ, author of Learning to Pray
“This is a brilliant book about one of the defining predicaments of our time: the temptation to keep our options open. Pete Davis is the fresh voice of wisdom that our culture desperately needs—Dedicated is required reading for the 21st century pursuit of happiness and success.” —Adam Grant, New York Times–bestselling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast "WorkLife"
“An engaging exploration of how to restore meaning and purpose and the satisfactions of enduring commitment in an era of short attention spans and infinite choice. In this greatly expanded version of a 2018 Harvard commencement speech, Pete Davis challenges his generation—and all of us—to reconnect to the institutions and relationships that truly matter—and will build a better world." —Drew Gilpin Faust, President Emerita of Harvard University, and author of This Republic of Suffering
"In a society of endless possibilities, I’ve long felt there was something radical about commitment. Instead of letting that insight take the form of a passing thought, Pete Davis devoted himself to exploring the same intuition, and the result is a thoughtful, original, erudite, and inspiring manifesto. We can scroll through life and stay in the shallows, or limit our options and connect on a deeper more satisfying level. Devoting your attention to the wisdom in these pages is a good way to begin.” —Astra Taylor, documentary filmmaker and author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone
“My dad used to say, ‘If it’s worth doing, it's worth doing right.' It was his take on the importance of dedication. Most everything that matters requires dedication: day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out. At the end of every effort you want to be able to look back and feel the kind of satisfaction that can’t come from staying on the sidelines. Pete Davis’s Dedicated is a book that speaks to me and shares important messages and values that can be helpful to anyone who is facing a challenge or simply looking to excel in what’s important to you.” —Cal Ripken Jr., Hall of Fame shortstop and third baseman
"This is the book we need right now, more than ever. There's no useful forward motion without enrollment, and that requires commitment. Pete Davis knows that it's up to each of us to choose to matter." —Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
About the Author
- Publisher : Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (May 4 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1982140909
- ISBN-13 : 978-1982140908
- Item weight : 408 g
- Dimensions : 14.29 x 2.54 x 21.27 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #256,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from Canada
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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.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
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!
Deeply recommended reading (or listening)!