About a happy man

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I’d used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime. – Donald Knuth

We’re now 31 years past Jan 1, 1990 and Donald Knuth still is a happy man who has no email address. Knuth is one of the most famous computer scientists (in case you don’t know him). His work includes “The Art of Computer Programming”, a beautiful but at the same time scary multivolume and never finished piece of art about the craft of computer programming.

But why would a computer scientist – of all people – get rid of email? Here’s Knuth’s answer:

Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things.

Thus, he takes roughly one day every six months to answer to mail and he spends the rest of his days digging deep (and continuing to write The Art of Computer Programming).

When have you last dug that deep? When have you last consciously shut down email (and other messaging channels) to focus on a thing that is near and dear to your heart? What could you achieve if you shut down email for just one week?

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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