Book: 24/6 The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week


In 24 / 6 Tiffany Shlain proposes an antidote to the burdens of the modern world with a “Tech Shabbat”, a one-day reprieve from screens of all kind. Rather than define it using a negative, Shlain focuses on the positive by promoting it as a day to do all the things you always wished you had time for. I believe many of us dream of such a possibility.

I heard about this idea from Shlain’s interview on the Team Human podcast and was immediately excited about it. At the time of writing, I have completed my first Tech Shabbat with my family, and we’re very happy with how it went. We lit a candle to emphasize the transition. Going to bed early, fancy breakfast, listening to music, reading, thinking, having long conversations, spending time outdoors, napping… it was glorious. I agree with Shlain when she says her Shabbat always feels longer than one day, it did for us.

As far as the book is concerned, I was underwhelmed. I did find it useful to be shown specific examples of what Shabbat could entail, and I appreciated the emphasis on everyone defining their own rules and traditions in a way that works for them. Otherwise I found the book repetitive and the science chapters were not rigorous enough for my liking. In other parts I was finding it too autobiographical, I was not interested in the details… but then I realized that was actually the whole point of Shabbat! Shlain sees the Tech Shabbat as a technology, a tool that extends her purpose into the world and so it’s quite impossible for her to talk about her Shabbat without also getting into her own goals and activities. And this insight turns it back onto the reader to decide (which I will do the same to you, dear reader):

What is your purpose? What are the things you always wished you had time for?