The best books to beat binge watching

Who am I?

Christina Crook is a pioneer and leading voice in the field of digital well-being. She is the award-winning author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, the harbinger of the global #JOMO movement, and Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in a Digital Age. Christina regularly shares her insights about technology and our daily lives in international media including The New York Times, Psychology Today, and Harper's Bazaar which called her "The Marie Kondo of Digital.”


I wrote...

Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age

By Christina Crook,

Book cover of Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age

What is my book about?

What if there was a simple shift in thinking that could eliminate digital stress, reconnect us to the real world and give greater meaning to our lives? Christina Crook, the award-winning author of The Joy of Missing Out, reveals there is, and it’s in reach of all of us. In her new book, Good Burdens: How to Live Joyfully in the Digital Age offers concrete solutions for flourishing in the digital age.

Crook advocates for a realignment of our energies, online and off, towards effortful pursuits - cultivating relationships, community, and creative projects that bring lasting joy. But Good Burdens is more than actionable advice—it’s also a lively intellectual tour of this simple yet powerful idea, introducing readers to social media gurus, offline rebels, academics, and everyday heroes who have embraced the joy of missing out on the right things to make space for good burdens.

The books I picked & why

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Off: The Day the Internet Died: A Bedtime Fantasy

By Chris Colin,

Book cover of Off: The Day the Internet Died: A Bedtime Fantasy

Why this book?

We all dream about it: a life free of scrolling, tweeting, liking, faving, streaming, replying, apologizing for not replying, and other assaults on our poor, saturated brains. But what would an analog world actually look like? Award-winning writer, Chris Colin, paints a picture in his bedtime fantasy book for adults titled Off: The Day the Internet Died

Delivered in a pitch-perfect, tongue-in-cheek biblical style, this little book imagines an alternate reality that will hit home in our tech-addled worlds. Un-barraged by celeb gossip and political news, we begin to notice nature again. Rinee Shah’s playful illustrations perfectly capture the absurdity of life reflected in our screens. Whether you’re addicted to tech or not, you’ll see something of yourself when you put down your phone and pick up this smart, funny book.

Off is “So funny and so necessary. For humanity to stay sane, this must be read like the Bible.” - Dave Eggers... I couldn’t agree more. In the digital age, what holier act is there than turning Off?

Off: The Day the Internet Died: A Bedtime Fantasy

By Chris Colin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Off as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We all dream about it: a life free of scrolling, tweeting, liking, faving, streaming, replying, apologizing for not replying, and other assaults on our poor, saturated brains. But what would an analog world actually look like? Chris Colin, author of What to Talk About, paints a picture that's a little Edenic and a little demented. Un-barraged by celeb gossip and political news, we begin to notice nature again. We take walks, stare at the clouds, and listen to podcasts consisting of our own thoughts. Snapchatting gives way to endless rounds of Go Fish. Minecraft is a game involving sticks and…


Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

By James Williams,

Book cover of Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Why this book?

In his breathtaking book Stand Out of Our Light, James Williams deftly asks: what do we really pay when we pay attention? “You pay with all of the things you could have attended to but didn’t: all of the goals you didn’t pursue, all of the actions you didn’t take, and all of the possible yous you could have been, had you attended to those other things."

Digital distractions keep you from doing what you want to do, being who you want to be, wanting what you want to want. What do you pay when you pay attention? You pay with all of the lives you could have lived. James Williams' slim volume on the attention economy is your guide to taking that power back. 

Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

By James Williams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stand Out of Our Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Former Google advertising strategist, now Oxford-trained philosopher James Williams launches a plea to society and to the tech industry to help ensure that the technology we all carry with us every day does not distract us from pursuing our true goals in life. As information becomes ever more plentiful, the resource that is becoming more scarce is our attention. In this 'attention economy', we need to recognise the fundamental impacts of our new information environment on our lives in order to take back control. Drawing on insights ranging from Diogenes to contemporary tech leaders, Williams's thoughtful and impassioned analysis is…


The Wander Society

By Keri Smith,

Book cover of The Wander Society

Why this book?

Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would become the basis of a years-long, life-changing exploration into a mysterious group known only as The Wander Society, as well as the subject of this book.

Within these pages, you'll find the results of Smith's research: A guide to the Wander Society, a secretive group that holds up the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life. You'll learn about the group's mysterious origins, meet fellow wanderers through time, discover how wandering feeds the creative mind, and learn how to best practice the art of wandering, should you choose to accept the mission. Reading this book is an experience. You won't be the same again. 

The Wander Society

By Keri Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wander Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the internationally bestselling creator of Wreck This Journal...

wan*der
verb \ wan-dar\
to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown

Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would become the basis of a years-long, life-changing exploration into a mysterious group known only as The Wander Society, as well as the subject of this book.

Within these pages, you'll…


Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee,

Book cover of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

Why this book?

Make small changes to your surroundings and create extraordinary happiness in your life with groundbreaking research from designer and TED star Ingrid Fetell Lee. I love the simple, life-changing suggestions in this book. Thinking of adding something new to your space? Make it something round. Read Joyful to find out why. 

Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

By Ingrid Fetell Lee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Joyful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Make small changes to your surroundings and create extraordinary happiness in your life with groundbreaking research from designer and TED star Ingrid Fetell Lee.

Next Big Idea Club selection—chosen by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant as one of the "two most groundbreaking new nonfiction reads of the season!"

"This book has the power to change everything! Writing with depth, wit, and insight, Ingrid Fetell Lee shares all you need to know in order to create external environments that give rise to inner joy." —Susan Cain, author of Quiet and founder of Quiet Revolution

Have you ever…


The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

By Henri J. M. Nouwen,

Book cover of The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Why this book?

People have called Henri Nouwen many things: a priest, an author, a spiritual guide, a natural mystic. His books have sold millions of copies and continue to resonate deeply with people from all walks of life. In 2000, when asked to share the book that had most influenced her life, Hillary Clinton chose Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son. The following sentence, in particular, she said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, hit her “like a lightning bolt”: "The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a "gift to be celebrated with joy." 

“I had never thought of gratitude as a habit or discipline before,” she explained, “and I discovered that it was immensely helpful to do so.” I first discovered Henri when I was eighteen years old and gifted with a 365-day flip calendar with Henri’s quotes and reflections. The longer I journey with Henri, the better I understand his near-universal appeal. He sought a kind of language of the heart that each generation has to create anew. He was also a wounded healer who, in so many words and ways, presented an inviting vision of life—one grounded in place, with a people, fully present, and alive to wonder.

It’s all I want. Maybe it’s all any of us wants. In the breathless race of the digital era, many of us feel driven by restlessness, overwhelm, and fear of never enoughness. Through his writing, speaking, and mentorship, Henri had an uncanny ability to shed light on our false selves—the parts of us seeking power, success, and approval at all costs—and in the process, revealing the true desires of our hearts: to be disarmed, to be known, and to come close enough to love to let it touch us.

The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

By Henri J. M. Nouwen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Only Necessary Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout the forty-some books that Henri Nouwen wrote and the hundreds of talks that he gave, the subject of Prayer runs through them all and unites them. For him a life of faith is a life of prayer. Drawn from many decades of his life, the compilation of Henri's thoughts, feelings, and the struggle with prayer, reveal the core of the man and his belief that prayer is the only necessary thing.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in prayer, attention, and Walt Whitman?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about prayer, attention, and Walt Whitman.

Prayer Explore 19 books about prayer
Attention Explore 8 books about attention
Walt Whitman Explore 14 books about Walt Whitman

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy, and The Lost Art of Dress if you like this list.