There are benefits to doing things the slow, hard, difficult way. To having constraints built right into your creative process. To experiencing the world in 360-degree, 3-D reality.
In this episode, I chat with journalist David Sax, whose recent book Revenge of the Analog tracks the resurgence of all things analog — from vinyl records and Moleskine notebooks to Polaroid film and reel-to-reel tape.
We discuss how almost all of the most meaningful activities in life — like being creative, learning something new, or even making memories — are inextricably linked to the analog.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- Why the slowness and constraints of analog objects are actually a benefit
- What it is about real-world, 3-D experiences that fosters such strong emotions
- Why we learn better on paper than on digital devices
- What the “information persistence” effect is, and why it helps ideas stick
- Why creatives are returning to analog methods like Polaroid film and reel-to-reel tape
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“The attraction to analog is about the totality of the experience. It is a 360-degree, full-body, real-world experience. It’s not virtual reality. It’s reality in all of its beauty, and its complexity, and its cost, and its difficulty. Often, that work equals some of the reward.”
“I think we know that the phone is the antidote to deep social interactions, relationships, and friendships — whether it’s as children or in our adult lives with work colleagues, with our loved ones, with friends.”
“I have no memories, no good positive memories of interactions on social media. You get this instant sense of gratification, but you go back for more because it leaves you lacking.”
A shortlist of the books and ideas referred to in our conversation:
- David’s fantastic book Revenge of the Analog
- A brief history of The Strand bookstore
- The science of learning on paper versus on screens
- Profile of musician Jack White and his recording studio
- Hurry Slowly episode with designer Craig Mod talking about his blackboard
- Virginia Heffernan’s book Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art
- The “User vs Profile” Facebook episode of South Park
- The trailer for the disturbing 1992 film Lawnmower Man
- Follow David: Website | Twitter
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