featured in Bloomberg Business Week "Best Books 2019"

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by Dr Julie Albright

A sociologist explores the many ways that digital natives' interaction with technology has changed their relationship with people, places, jobs, and other stabilizing structures and created a new way of life that is at odds with the American Dream of past generations.

Digital natives are hacking the American Dream.

Young people brought up with the Internet, smartphones, and social media are quickly rendering old habits, values, behaviors, and norms a distant memory--creating the greatest generation gap in history. 

In this eye-opening book, digital sociologist Julie M. Albright looks at the many ways in which younger people, facilitated by technology, are coming "untethered" from traditional aspirations and ideals, and asks: What are the effects of being disconnected from traditional, stabilizing social structures like churches, marriage, political parties, and long-term employment? What does it mean to be human when one's ties to people, places, jobs, and societal institutions are weakened or broken, displaced by digital hyper-connectivity?

Albright sees both positives and negatives. On the one hand, mobile connectivity has given digital nomads the unprecedented opportunity to work or live anywhere. But, new threats to well-being are emerging, including increased isolation, anxiety, and loneliness, decreased physical exercise, ephemeral relationships, fragmented attention spans, and detachment from the calm of nature.

In this time of rapid, global, technologically driven change, this book offers fresh insights into the unintended societal and psychological implications of lives exclusively lived in a digital world.

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Watch The TEDxBoulder Talk

Digital sociologist and author Julie Albright talks about the paradox of connection. Is our use of our devices interfering with our search for happiness?


About The Author

Dr. Albright is a digital sociologist who has spent her career thinking about the digital transformation of society.

She is a sought-after keynote speaker, having given talks for both C level executives and professional audiences for SAP, IBM Global, CS Week, the American Society of Petroleum Engineers, AESP, the Dept. of Defense, and Data Center Dynamics, among others.

She has also appeared as an expert on many national television programs including the Today Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, Nat Geo, CBS, Dr. Phil, NPR, and many others. She has also been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Time Magazine and Newsweek.

Her book new book explores how digital natives are “untethering” from traditional ways of doing things, while hyper-attached to their devices and social media; called Left to Their Own Devices: How Digital Natives Are Reshaping the American Dream, published by Prometheus Books, and distributed by Penguin Random House.

"Our devices were supposed to set us free, but Julie Albright makes a frighteningly persuasive case that they're actually leaving us unmoored, cutting our connections to work, to the physical world, and to other humans. A warning for our time."


Glenn Reynolds

Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee
Author, "An Army of Davids"

"Julie M. Albright’s masterful book explains how technology shapes behavior, disrupts social norms, and ultimately will rewire society itself. Albright’s notion of the Untethered Society provides a new framework for understanding the impact of the internet and social media upon the world and ourselves. At turns frightening and hopeful, but at every turn thoughtful, Left to Their Own Devices represents a major contribution."


Dan Lyons

Writer on HBO’s Emmy Award–winning comedy "Silicon Valley" and bestselling author of "Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us" and "Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble"

"When it comes to hacking the American Dream, digital is prompting us to wonder, Whose dream is it anyway? In this captivating look at modern society, Dr. Albright explores how technology is reshaping our norms and values and the rise of the American Dream 2.0."


Brian Solis

Digital anthropologist, futurist, and bestselling author of "Lifescale: How to Be Creative in an Era of Distraction"

"If ever there was a wake-up call for humanity and technology, this is it. Albright has crafted a user’s manual for anyone with a digital heartbeat—and that’s you! Simply put, this is your brain, and this is your brain on digital. Answers to any questions can be found here."


John Nosta

Forbes contributor, advisor to the Google Health Advisory Board, and founder of NostaLab