Often a book review appeals to me more than the book. With good writing and an interesting topic, I learn all I need to know just from the review. That's the case with Ben Yagoda review of The Tyranny of E-Mail. I may or may not look at the book, but I learned a lot from the review.
1. The "average corporate worker" gets about 200 e-mail messages a day.
2. 62% of Americans read and answer work e-mail on vacations. (Bet it's more than that!)
3. E-mail is highly prone to being misinterpreted. (Oh, really?)
4. Don't "debate complex or sensitive matters by e-mail." (Again, this shouldn't be news to anybody.)
5. E-mail is an instantaneous, demanding, borderline addictive medium.
That's what the author of the book has to say.
Yagoda has some thoughts on the topic also.
E-mail has "flaws and limitations, but they have also served as cleansing agents for prose..they may disinhibit inappropriate declarations, they also inhibit dull, abstract wordiness."
Took me a minute to work that out, but I think I agree.
The review concludes that "every day I get a half-dozen or more fine e-mail messages: short, (often) witty, (usually) pointed, (sometimes) thoughtful, and always written in that correspondent's particular register."
I suspect I get a few that are just as witty, pointed, thoughtful, and certainly written in a way that there's no mistaking the writer.
Maybe not all bad, this addiction of ours?