Knuth versus Email

For some time now Donald Knuth is no longer doing email. But did you read his reason? He has a great online explanation where he writes:

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. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration. I try to learn certain areas of computer science exhaustively; then I try to digest that knowledge into a form that is accessible to people who don’t have time for such study.

On the same page he also quotes Umberto Eco “I don’t even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages.”

Knuth wrote this almost 17 years ago. It’s still right. It is very impressive. I am particularly impressed today since I spent a great deal of time yesterday cleaning out my inbox dealing with over 200 little tasks which had piled up there.

PS. For those of you who do not know who Knuth is: Before you even start to think about attempting to call Knuth anti-technology or using complex words like Luddite make sure you read up, why not try wikipedia?