Digital Minimalism

July 17, 2021

I didn’t know I agreed with Henry David Thoreau [1] but apparently he wrote a fair bit about a New Economics. His key insight was to shift the unit of measurement from money to time. Is the juice worth the squeeze? He went out into the woods and built himself a log cabin in an effort to live closer to reality. His book Walden [2] includes an itemised budget of how long it took ‘Enry to earn his week’s sustenance. It was $61 or one day’s graft.

Not a problem I expect to have

Thoreau asked us to consider not just the benefits of increased income but the cost of earning it on the amount of “life” we exchanged for it. Time is our only truly precious resource. Hence digital minimalism in the modern era.

“A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.” Carl Newport.

I’m reading a book called Digital Minimalism by Carl Newport (author of Deep Focus) and very much enjoying it. He’s developed a more structured philosophy of technology usage than myself so I’m benefiting from applying his concepts to my own life. I’m already doing most of what he recommends but it’s nice to have a bedrock of well-thought-out theory behind the little lifestyle tweaks. Newport lays out three principles of digital minimalism in part one.

1: “Digital minimalists recognize that cluttering their time and attention with too many devices, apps, and services creates an overall negative cost that can swamp the small benefits that each individual item provides in isolation.”
2: “Digital minimalists believe that deciding a particular technology supports something they value is only the first step. To truly extract its full potential benefit, it’s necessary to think carefully about how they’ll use the technology.”
3: “Digital minimalists derive significant satisfaction from their general commitment to being more intentional about how they engage with new technologies. This source of satisfaction is independent of the specific decisions they make and is one of the biggest reasons that minimalism tends to be immensely meaningful to its practitioners.”

This is sound stuff imo.

I’d already pared my work down to three hours a week [3] in a Thoreau-esque manner, figuring that what really matters is disposing of my precious life hours on things I enjoy doing. Newport advises that as a digital minimalist “you’ll take walks, talk to friends in person, engage your community, read books [4], and stare at the clouds.” Well, sir, I think you just described the entirety of my life. Actually, since I came to Moscow my life has been rather structured, simple, and productive. Four days a week it looks exactly like this (other days, no gym):

9:30 – Wake up
10:00 – Get brekkie at a breakfast menu cafe, studying Russian on my apps
11:00 – Gym
2:00 – Lunch at a business lunch restaurant
3:00 – Nap
4:00 – More Russian study
5-ish – Go walkabout for steps and daygame with a pal or two
10pm – Return home, bitching about the lack of sets.
Midnight – Go to sleep, with my Russian apps looping on review setting audio only until I start to drop off.

And occasionally meeting Armenian birds

It was pretty similar in Serbia for the first five months of the year but obv learning Serbian instead and bitching even more about the lack of sets. At least in Moscow I’ve averaged 2.5 sets a day whereas there was no hope in hell of finding that many girls worth opening and accessible in Belgrade this or last year due to Covid restrictions clearing the streets and cafes.

I only read two websites ever, being Vox every day for about ten minutes and then Anonymous Conservative twice a week or so. There’s just nothing on the internet to interest me. I’ve almost completely cut YouTube out of my life – thank God – and the only use I’ve had for it lately was tactical analysis features on TIFO during the Euros. I never browse Twitter except for my rare notifications and today decided to just unfollow everyone to excise that malign influence from my life. So, almost no internet for Nick now and I like it.

I absolutely recommend you all ditch YouTube and Netflix. What pernicious time sinks.

I’ve even given up the true love of my life – video games. This has not been a conscious decision but I rarely feel any desire to play them, so I don’t. I’m currently 1/3 through Yakuza 6 so I’ll probably finish it eventually as I’ve completed Yakuza 0 thru to 5 already so might as well 100% the series. I’ve found that by the time I get home on the evening I have no desire to boot up a game. I either want to read a book or crank some Russian language. So, I figured I’d go with this while my natural desire is positive. Maybe get back into games when the weather turns.

In other news, I’ve taken on two new immersion training clients for five-day residential coaching in Autumn. I’m willing to take on two more, especially if you can do Russia, Ukraine or Czech republic. Email me if you’re interested. More details on the Coaching tab on this site.

Banging top series

[1] Having never read him
[2] Which I’ve not read but I’m sure I could find Walden in a crowd, wherever he’s hiding
[3] Sunday afternoon skype consultations
[4] Fuck me have I nailed this one in the past few years


  1. Hi Nick, Did you try lucid dreaming any time in your life? I think this would be a way to expand our time life.

  2. Do you think the conscious “Serotonin not Dopamine” decision you took and wrote about a while back has primed you for all this will power based positive behavior? I’ve read you for a few years now and you seem more self-disciplined than most. Perhaps your genetic disposition has made all this inevitable anyway? Even when you seemed to be getting massive dopamine hits from Daygame triumphs, it all seemed to be driven by sheer tenacity and sacrifice..


  3. Great post Nick, thanks for the insight and being a positive role model that influences people around the world.

  4. I generally like Vox and have been on and off reading his blog for about a decade, incl his old alphagame blog, but it was a real disappointment to see how naive and foolish he was regarding the whole Q anon psyop in 2020. He made an absolute fool of himself imo and got rightly mocked in the aftermath. Some of the stuff he was saying was just batshit boomer conspiracy level nonsense. It was bizarre to see. I just can’t take him seriously now. What are your thoughts on that whole thing?

  5. Carl Newport is actually Cal Newport. And I believe Deep Focus is actually Deep Work? Great book, by the way. It had great influence on me as an erstwhile cubicle dweller. Video games can definitely become a huge time sink. I feel they are more of a symptom (that we don’t have anything better to do) rather than the disease. There are great readings around on the internet, but they can take significant time and energy investment to find. (Incidentally, I arrived here via an electronic edition of The Rational Male).

  6. Love these book recommendations, both the sleep book and this one, please share more of your current and past readings, gives me ideas what to read next.

  7. Dream life you got there for some people.
    Specifically like you keep evolving and dropping some of your core habits/activities to form other, better ones.

    Every app around there that’s “free”, especially youtube, trying to snatch your time and fuel your consumerism in any way possible.
    Apart from the propaganda and brain washing stuff ofc.

    • Yes I like that about Krauser.

      Constant and neverending improvement.

      I wish to be like him throughout my 30s and 40s (I’m 32 now)

  8. Americans read Thoreau in school instead of British hacks like Shakespeare or Dickins. The minimalist Thoreau accidentally burned down 300 acres of woods.

  9. Hi Nick,

    You checked out “History Debunked” on YouTube? It’s the channel of a retired teacher/ history author from the UK.

  10. Completely off topic (especially now that this blog has moved away from all things game), but does anyone know where to find day game wings these days? All the forums I knew about have long since closed or become inactive. and my country is tiny enough that I suspect i’m the only day gamer in my mid-sized city. I’m not paying for a certain PUA’s so called service where he charges you $150 USD to give you the contact phone number for a wing in your city

    • I sympathize – was a HUGE problem for me even in a major USA city and having non-daygamer friends come along got tougher and then impossible. Extremely small percentage of guys willing to do it and then only a small fraction of those willing to repeat & want to do it again & get better.

      What happened to me ? I went to a Krauser residential in Europe some years back and met my now wife on the VERY FIRST approach. I sh*t you not. Heh ….(+3 kids now too)

  11. Great post, I like Cal Newport’s books. I recently read a related book called “Master Life Faster: The Most Useful Things You Need to Know”. It summarizes the science behind digital minimalism.

    It also cites a lot of science supporting the London Daygame Model. Like this: “For hundreds of thousands of years, 80% of women reproduced versus 40% of men. About 8,000 years ago, the rise of cities changed this ratio to 17 women for every 1 man. A few top males mated with hundreds or thousands of women. For example, geneticists estimate 8% of Chinese are descended from Genghis Khan. And 50% of Western Europeans are descended from a single Bronze Age king.”

  12. how about you try to translate this page into russian, that’ll be good russian practice

  13. Pingback: Monday morning by the power of Greyskull - Didactic Mind

  14. Wald means forest in german.

  15. Add three great hours to your day. Wake up around 6-630.

  16. I was wondering when you might mention Cal Newport being a fan of yours and his, and witnessing the overlap.

    Seeing this adjustment from the (or “to the”) PUA lifestyle has been great. It’s very interesting and encouraging to see the world of PUA meet health, fitness and a “deep life” all merge together in a cohesive way.

    The moral high side of PUA blends with such ideas perfectly: PUA’s aspire to squeeze the most of out life, refuse to accept their options and have the drive to do so, when they’re not moronic aspy goons.

  17. In regards to escaping the matrix and living the time over money philosophy, how did you make the mental leap to “abandon the future” for lack of a better term, and go galt?

    I entirely agree with the philosophy that time is truly our most precious resource but another part of myself holds me back. You could say a part of my brain is still plugged into the matrix wanting to build wealth and feels social pressures.

    I would say the fear steams from seeing many going galt and ending up being washed up skill-less losers, wanting to start a family in my 40s without financial stress and seeing others in the matrix build their lives while it increasingly appears, that I’ve done nothing.

    I often review your “life is a project” posts, have read Aaron Clarey’s books and Cal Newports “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. The specialist minimalist approach seems to be a great way to achieve a more free, location independent lifestyle that doesn’t require throwing it all to the wind. The specialist minimalist solution prevents the going-galt-loser-syndrome but doesn’t solve the other mental hang ups.

    What advice would you give the young fellas who want to let go of the matrix and cultivate a time-over-money lifestyle philosophy (while also avoiding loserdom – this part likely self-answered)?

    Thanks Uncle Nick

  18. On YT I watch: The Duran (geopolitics), Coach Red Pill (my favourite vids: “Damaged” and “Money changes everything”) and I also like Hugh Hendrys Channel (a scottish retired Hedge Fund Manager).

  19. The main problem with minimalism is simple: It conflicts with women’s hypergamy. If you don’t maintain a certain “standard of living” then you’ll be invisible to women to a similar extent as if you had bad looks or 0 game. For MEN minimalism is great, and if you can find that 1 in 1000 woman who likes it as well then congratulations, but talking about the benefits of minimalism for MEN is like talking up the benefits of being a wine-aunt, strong-independent cats ‘n netflix girl for post-wall women.

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