A #1 Washington Post bestseller
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 Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life.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.
In this study of consumerism in the 21st century, Sax (Save the Deli) sets out to prove that nostalgia is not the sole reason for the resurgence of vinyl records, film cameras, paper notebooks, and bookstores in an era dominated by digital technology. He travels across the United States, Canada, and Italy, visiting factories and startups, stores and cafes, where the focus is on solidifying a place for analog technologies and goods in a world full of screens, instant messages, and almost endless digital choices at one's fingertips. Lastly, he investigates the meditative practices of executives in Silicon Valley and returns to a summer camp he attended as a child outside of Toronto, discovering how the people one might most expect to be glued to their illuminated screens computer programmers and kids are limiting technology's place in their lives. Sax's message is that digital technology has certainly made life easier, but the analog technologies of old can make life more rich and substantial. This book has a calming effect, telling readers, one analog page at a time, that tangible goods, in all their reassuring solidity, are back and are not going anywhere.