There’s no question that e-mail is an incredible phenomenon that represents a kind of cultural and technological advancement. The first e-mail was sent less than forty years ago; by 2011, there will be 3.2 billion e-mail users. The average corporate worker now receives upwards of two hundred e-mails per day. The flood of messages is ceaseless and follows us everywhere.
In The Tyranny of E-mail, John Freeman takes an entertaining look at the unrelenting nature of correspondence through the ages. Put down your smart phone and consider the consequences. As the toll of e-mail mounts, reducing our time for leisure and contemplation and separating us in an unending and lonely battle with the overfull inbox, John Freeman—one of America’s preeminent literary critics—enters a plea for communication that is more selective and nuanced and, above all, more sociable.
JOHN FREEMAN is an award-winning writer and book critic who has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. Freeman won the 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award. He is the editor-in-chief of Granta and lives in New York City.
“[A] thoughtful and provocative book.”—Seattle Times
“We live in a culture devoted to technology, and yet most of us cannot find the time to consider its history or its consequences. John Freeman has made the time, and has thought carefully about how we have gotten here…. Freeman knows his history, and he offers an engaging account of the evolution of correspondence.”—Bookforum
“An elegant self-help book. . . . Freeman uses lush prose and invokes examples from great literature to make his points. He comes at things not from a giddy utopian perspective that permeates most writing about technology but from a humanist one. It makes the book refreshing and powerful.”—Boston Globe
“[Freeman] brings the reader a fresh, intelligent look at email’s infiltration into and influence over every aspect of 21st century life. . . . The Tyranny of E-mail serves as an engaging reality check.”—The Daily Beast
“Freeman offers up fascinating trivia . . . [and] makes a persuasive case that e-mail has at once corroded epistolary communication and strangled workplace productivity.”—The New Yorker
“E-mail is eating us alive . . . Luckily for us [John Freeman] has a solution.”—Chicago Tribune
“A book with a title this bold and provocative . . . requires an airtight and compelling case to back it up. To keep us reading, the book must also inform and entertain. John Freeman . . . delivers on all counts.”—The Oregonian