Our attention has been hijacked by the tsunami of devices, games and social media which now dominate our lives. This new technology brings efficiency, cost-savings and instantaneous information. But when our attention is the currency being traded by big tech firms, what price are we willing to pay for convenience? Addiction, anxiety, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, empathy development, troubled relationships, fake news, propaganda and even threats to democracy are just some of challenges new technology presents. Antitrust law has failed to prevent the emergence of a few dominant big tech platforms and regulation has not kept pace with surveillance capitalism. The internet was created on the assumption that all users are equal, but children and the vulnerable are not. In Born Digital, Robert Wigley distils the mountains of available research on the subject and brings to bear his wealth of institutional experience to present a roadmap for society to radically and urgently reset its relationship with technology - for the sake of future generations.
Few are better qualified to examine this issue than Robert Wigley - I would far surpass my usual blog length if I dedicated time to discussing his CV, but it is safe to say that the author has worked in an array of high level business/finance roles, sat on many boards, and served as a trusteee for the brilliant charity Whizz-Kidz - so this is a man with considerable experience and education, who is taking on a whopper of a subject - how the accessibility of digital media has affected Generation Z, and how society and individuals need to look to protect future generations when it comes to the harmful potential affects of all encompassing digital media.
Don't take this to be some Luddite polemic though - and in the book there is no doubt that there are many positives with digital media being everywhere and easily accessible, no more noticable then during this current pandemic that has had most of us only seeing our families on devices, and many children attending school through a laptop. But the harmful affects cannot be denied, and must be investigated further. From the terrors of online bullying through to the lack of blocks on adult material, through to the sharing of misinformation and outright lies on social media. Through a combination of fascinating and deeply concerning statistics, combined with his vast experience, Robert Wigley conveys a clear call for the urgent attention that is needed in this area - for regulation and for education in the Digital World. It's clever, clearly conveyed, and very well written - I strongly recommend this to anyone who is wondering whether their child is spending too much time on their phone, as well as anyone who feels that their digital addiction is becoming a toxic one...
‘The status of women is a global challenge; it touches every human being without exception. How is it possible that countries where women have achieved political, economic and social rights after exhausting struggles remain seemingly indifferent to the egregiousness of other nations where the status of women is still tragic? The time has come to help those left behind. The lack of interest stems from two important and connected factors: public opinion with regard to the status of women is not strong enough to force lawmakers to fight for their rights, at home or abroad; and there are not enough women in political and economic leadership roles to act as standard-bearers for the campaign of reform. These two factors are inextricably linked: one affects the other and vice versa…’
Already a bestseller in Italy, this translation has been extensively revised by the author to incorporate recent events that impinge on women’s rights and the struggle to achieve equality.
Paola Diana is an entrepreneur, author, activist and host of the YouTube show ‘Unleashed. The Game Changers’. She is the founder and CEO of a global recruitment company, leader in the household and secretarial staff sector and she is producing a documentary series based on social issues such as knife crime, domestic violence, racism and homelessness. As a successful female entrepreneur and women’s rights expert, Diana contributes regularly to TV and radio in the UK and Italy. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 she was named on the prestigious Spear’s 500 list.
So, I've always thought of myself as a feminist. I was bought up by strong, indepenent and outspoken women, and as such have never had an issue respecting the authority of women, or happily accepting the fact that they are equal to men in every way (and in some ways, superior)!
With this in mind, I wasn't sure what to expect from Paola Diana's book - in previous jobs I've served on Diversity Iniatives to ensure that the hiring of women is fair and equal, and worked on panels to combat inequalities. However, as is clearly pointed out in this well thought out book - I was clearly focusing on easy tasks, and not looking at the bigger picture or the bigger problems that women still face.
Diana explores these in detail, travelling around the world to explore the inequalities and injustices that women face. She doesn't hold back - for those who may have been ignoring just how unfair some countries are, they're explored here and will likely shock you.
This is a book intended to inspire and to provoke change, and it does exactly that for me - opening my eyes and spurring me on to make a difference. I think my only thought on something that this book could have done better, would be exploring the fact that gender has become less binary over the last few years - there are some interesting dialogues that definitely need to be addressed with that in mind - but I appreciate that they may have taken away slightly from the main drive of Diana's words. Maybe in the sequel! Powerful and inspiring, this is well worth a read.
Many thanks to MidasPR for the copy
In this Audible Original audiobook, Emma J. Bell tackles the ultimate question: why go through life merely surviving, when you could be thriving?
Drawing on the insights of 50 inspiring people who have suffered a wide range of trauma but are thriving nonetheless, Emma J. Bell has extracted nine enlightening secrets from their experiences. You’ll listen as they talk about how they found renewed purpose in life; how they learned to forgive rather than hold on to resentment; and how they developed practices to create calm and live authentically. Whether you want to apply their life changing lessons to your relationships, your work or the way you deal with setbacks or challenging past experiences, each story offers something different and inspiring for you to draw on.
Traditionally I've avoided books that I thought looked a bit 'self-helpy' - I think my inner repressed brit balks at the thought of asking anyone (even a book!) for help, and it's this same inner sabuteur that prevented me from dealing with my mental health until my early 30's.
Had I known that a book like '9 Secrets to Thriving' existed though, I may have thought very differently...
Yes - this is a book that shows the readers they can thrive, grow, and persevere, and the advice is clever, wise, and not remotely patronising - there's a practicality and an understanding that not everybody is going to be willing, or able, to make some of the change suggested here.
What makes this book so brilliantly well though, are the real life stories that are threaded throughout - shocking, thought provoking true tales that allow the reade to empathise, but also gave me a wonderful sense of perspective.
As a former lawyer and judge, author and narrator Bell has clearly seen more than her fair share of the world, and of the many issues that people in it face, and overcome. As such, her prose and narration is wise - but also friendly and kind - there is no judgement here, but understanding and advice.
I finished this audio book feeling both emotional and empowered, and I'll be returning to it in the future!
Many thanks to MidasPR for the copy.