An Ars Technica Holiday Reading Title of 2021
A lively and approachable meditation on how we can transform our digital lives if we let a little Nietzsche in.
Who has not found themselves scrolling endlessly on screens and wondered: Am I living or distracting myself from living? In Emergency, Break Glass adapts Friedrich Nietzsche’s passionate quest for meaning into a world overwhelmed by “content.”
Written long before the advent of smartphones, Nietzsche’s aphoristic philosophy advocated a fierce mastery of attention, a strict information diet, and a powerful connection to the natural world. Drawing on Nietzsche’s work, technology journalist Nate Anderson advocates for a life of goal-oriented, creative exertion as more meaningful than the “frictionless” leisure often promised by our devices. He rejects the simplicity of contemporary prescriptions like reducing screen time in favor of looking deeply at what truly matters to us, then finding ways to make our technological tools serve this vision. With a light touch suffused by humor, Anderson uncovers the impact of this “yes-saying” philosophy on his own life—and perhaps on yours.
About the Author
Nate Anderson is the deputy editor at Condé Nast’s Ars Technica. He is the author of The Internet Police: How Crime Went Online, and the Cops Followed, and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Nietzsche’s warning to avoid the seductions of easy comforts remains fresh… [In Emergency, Break Glass is] accessible and lively.
— Boston Globe
Anderson gives us the philosopher we need for the moment at hand, and it is a welcome gift.
— Kirkus Reviews
Unconventional arguments (read less, forget more) and Anderson’s facility in distilling the useful from Nietzsche’s writings while tossing the “bad, cruel or juvenile” breathe some refreshing originality into the screen obsession discourse. This is a must-read for anyone overwhelmed by the Information Age.
— Publishers Weekly