I received copy of Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World for review. Even though my background is in technology, and I love technology, I have found it, at times, intrusive. I’ve also wondered if my connection to technology has, in some ways, affected my ability to concentrate, and, as odd as it sounds, be productive.
Dr. Camille Preston is a psychologist, organizational consultant, and leadership coach. In Rewired, she suggests that many people are not just wired, but they are overwired. Being overwired causes us to feel stressed, burned out, and as if we are always “on” 24/7.
Dr. Preston makes a strong case that it is time to step back and unwire so we can rewire and be “purposely productive.” The problem, she writes, of being overwired is, “the inability to do one thing, properly, at a time.” I agree with her assessment. The distraction that technology provides harms the ability to focus and think deeply. As I read the book, I realized there are times when I check my email, phone, etc. even after I checked a few moments earlier. I find myself turning to my technology as a way to be distracted, not realizing it hurts my ability to be focused.
The book is broken into four main parts: Overwired, Unwiring, Rewiring for Wellness, and Success! Overwired gives evidence of the effects of technology to our productivity, relationships, and our brains and bodies. Preston gives steps in part two, Unwiring, on how we can unwire our tangled technological lives. In part three, she discusses how we can be purposeful with technology and use it as a tool to actually make our lives better. Part four of the book, Success, contains accounts of those who have successfully unwired and rewired their lives and the changes they’ve experienced.
Preston was successful in making her case that technology, while promising to make our lives better, has caused some harm. Her prescription is also strong. It was evident that her experience as an organizational consultant and leadership coach helped her not only see the issues involved with being overwired, but also gave her the insight to see how to become “rewired” or, in other words, allowing technology to make us purposely productive.
I appreciated the “Takeaways” after each section because they highlighted the important information. As I read the book, I recognized elements of strong presentations. She let the reader know what was going to be covered, covered it, and then reminded the reader what was covered. This, I believe, was extremely helpful.
On a more negative note, so much repetition made the book seem smaller than its 88 pages. While the material in the book was strong, I wanted more, especially in the first part of the book. She did quote some studies and research, but I felt there could have been much more in regards to what technology does to our brains, bodies, and relationships. It seemed that she interviewed a couple of experts and they become her main “go to” researches. I found I wanted more.
That being said, the book is extremely valuable, especially for those of us who find ourselves fixated and focused on technical tools so much that they cease to be tools, and become toxic. Preston not only gives hope, but help in getting our lives rewired and back on track to purposeful productivity and a more meaningful life.