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Book Review: The Revenge of Analog

Analog gear has always been a guilty pleasure for me (and I'm sure for my readers as well). So, whenever a book comes along with excuses to embrace analog technology, I devour it. While Nicholas Carr focused on science to back his pro-analog arguments in the books The Shallows and The Glass Cage, David Sax has chosen to explore mostly business reasons for going analog in his new book The Revenge of Analog.

This book is pure analog porn. If you're tempted by notebooks, pens, vinyl, film and watches, you'll get more than enough reasons to indulge and invest. But, my favorite chapter was on musicians choosing to go all-analog. This is probably where a move to analog makes the most logical sense, as the constraints put on a musician by recording in analog and marketing in analog create better songs and offer a more lucrative business model. It's a lot of the same arguments we've heard from Jack White and Dave Grohl in documentaries like It Might Get Loud and Sound City. Indeed, Jack White has made a small industry for himself selling the benefits of analog.

For my readers, the chapter on analog film and photography would be of most interest. In short, it's back from the dead. New businesses are being born and old business are being revitalized (aside from the businesses whose accounting and branding decisions of a decade ago doomed them beyond repair).

Filmmakers are demanding analog movies. Photographers are rediscovering the joys of imperfection only film delivers. As with music, analog photography is more about process than specs. Just as recording in analog forces the creative muscles of a musician, film forces the creative muscles of a photographer.

The Revenge of Analog is a welcome addition to the growing library of material supporting a return, at least in part, to analog processes and technology wherever creativity is prized.

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