“Software is eating the world,” or so we’re told. Products that once took up physical space can be contained in our smartphones and held in the palms of our hands. Instead of having a record collection, now we can stream any music any where and any time we want. Instead of shelves and shelves of books, we can have access to thousands of volumes in our Kindle app. Instead of stacks of photo albums, we can store a virtually unlimited collection of pictures in the digital cloud.
But in the cultural background to this digital shift, there’s been a silent rebellion brewing.
My guest tracks that rebellion in his book, The Revenge of Analog. Today on the show, David Sax and I talk about why we’re seeing a return to analog products like vinyl records, hardcopy books, and pen and paper — and it’s not because of nostalgia. David goes into detail about the sudden revival of vinyl and turntables and why it’s more than just some hipster fad, why hardcopy book sales are going up while ebook sales are declining, and why writing with pen and paper unleashes creativity compared to typing or writing on a screen. He then gets into how the internet is counterintuitively driving this upsurge of interest in tangible products and the benefits we get psychologically, culturally, and economically by living in an analog world.
- When it was that David noticed “real” stuff was making a comeback
- Why “the old thing is rendered obsolete by the new thing” isn’t quite accurate
- What is it that’s fueling the “revenge of the analog”?
- How people are “maturing” with their technology use and finding ways to balance their tech use with tangible items
- The irony of the internet helping drive the revenge of the analog
- The vinyl comeback and its example of the larger analog phenomenon
- Why people enjoy tangible things in spite of its seeming inconvenience
- The emotional connection people have to objects you can heft in your hands
- How tangible items make socializing easier and more pleasant
- Why paper books didn’t die, in spite of that prediction many years ago
- The surprising percentage of books sold that are ebooks
- Why humans like sensory feedback
- Brett’s tin foil hat reason for enjoying tangible goods
- Are we really moving beyond an “ownership” society?
- Why folks are still drawn to pen and paper
- The value of writing (and drawing!) things down
- How architecture has suffered in the digital age
- The importance of embracing imperfection
- Why men enjoy “stuff” and collecting things
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- My Journey Into Record Collecting
- Moleskine notebooks
- The Benefits of Writing By Hand
- How to Make a Moleskine PDA
- Bringing Back Board Games
- Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
- The turntable Brett got for his birthday
- Vinyl Me Please
- The End of the Printed Book?
- My podcast with Nicholas Carr about Utopia is Creepy
- AoM’s articles about pocket notebooks
- Field Notes
- How and Why to Start a Collection + 50 Collection Ideas
- A Primer on Collecting Books
- A Primer on Collecting Vintage Fountain Pens
The Revenge of Analog provides an excellent analysis of trends in our culture that often get overlooked. It will also inspire you to step away from the digital world and embrace the physical. Pick up (a hardcopy) of it on Amazon.
Connect With David Sax
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Last updated: April 6, 2017