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Bit Literacy

Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload

By Mark Hurst
  • Read in 15 minutes
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Bit Literacy by Mark Hurst

Bit Literacy (2007) is the go-to guide for people who want to make better use of their time in a world permeated by unnecessary information. By employing the book’s organizational and time-saving tricks, you’ll be well on your way to becoming bit-literate.

Key idea 1 of 9

Cheap and easy to disseminate and store, bits are spreading across all areas of society.

For centuries, whenever people wanted to record something important or transmit knowledge, they had to use paper, and as a medium for disseminating information, paper does offer plenty of advantages: it’s durable, easy to use and exceedingly cheap.

Over time, however, we’ve begun to see paper’s disadvantages. For one, information stored on paper takes up lots of space. Just think of the shelves full of tomes in your local library.

In our modern world, we’re replacing paper with bits, an information storage medium with unique properties that make it more time- and energy-efficient than any other.

Bits are tiny electrical impulses in which huge amounts of information can be stored with almost no need of physical space. Combined with their very high transmission speed, bits can be shared easily with numerous recipients.

Today, you can send an e-mail or publish an article that reaches millions of people worldwide in just a second – all with the click of a button. In the past, this kind of reach would’ve required many trees to produce the paper, and much ink for the writing out of the information. Your text would then need to be shipped around the world, consuming both fuel and time.

Today, the number of bits in existence is constantly growing and flowing thanks to the internet and to interactive devices. Laptops, smartphones, tablets, PCs, cameras, and so on – all these devices produce, store and send bits.

The internet has even freed bits from the limitations of physical space. A single article can be accessed all over the world – for years – without being subject to physical wear and tear. Virtually every industry has seen the benefit of bits and is integrating them into their production and distribution processes. As a result, the number of bits you deal with on a daily basis will only continue to grow.

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