the shape of leadership

Review of ‘12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You’ by Tony Reinke

Are electronic devices taking over our lives?

Tiffany (my wife) and I have a running argument about who spends more time on their iPhone. (The correct answer is her, of course!) We worry that the other person is missing out on real life by focusing so intently on virtual reality.

I read Tony Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You with that worry in the back of my mind. The book delivers on its title by demonstrating in successive chapters how smartphones influence our thoughts and behaviors. We:

How can we make use of these tools without succumbing to their negative effects?
  1. are addicted to distraction,
  2. ignore our flesh and blood,
  3. crave immediate approval,
  4. lose our literacy,
  5. feed on the produced,
  6. become like what we “like,”
  7. get lonely,
  8. get comfortable in secret vices,
  9. lose meaning,
  10. fear missing out,
  11. become harsh to one another,
  12. and lose our place in time.

More than talking about what smartphone usage does to us, however, Reinke outlines a theologically rich, spiritually practical take on these matters. Indeed, the question the entire book seeks to answer is this: “What is the best use of my smartphone in the flourishing of my life?”

Technologies such as smartphones are marvelous tools, increasing our productivity and online connectivity. The question is, how can we make use of these tools without succumbing to their negative effects? As an answer to that question, this is a book you’ll want to read twice.

Book Reviewed: Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).

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