Irl: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives


Product Details

$24.99  $23.24
Broadleaf Books
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.0 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Chris Stedman is a writer, activist, and professor who currently teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University. He is the creator and host of Unread, named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by Mashable and Vulture. Additionally, Stedman is the author of Faitheist and has written popular essays for outlets including The Guardian, The Atlantic, Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Washington Post. Previously the founding director of the Yale Humanist Community, he also served as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University. Stedman lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spends a lot of time online.


"This paperback edition of IRL includes a new introduction, drawing into consideration how the coronavirus pandemic has driven many more personal interactions into the online world. For readers wondering how to balance life online and off, IRL provides amiable and invaluable insight." --Shelf Awareness

"Even without the pandemic, IRL would be a vital read, a thoughtful examination of our perpetually "logged on" existence, and a measured critique of the social systems that define our time online." --AV Club

"Stedman remains accessible as he places himself into this technological yet jargon-free narrative; anyone looking to learn more about digital culture and its impact on society will be interested in and able to follow the concepts the author puts forth." --Library Journal

"Stedman's humorous, thoughtful guide to how we can rehumanize the online world is needed more than ever." --America Magazine

"A handy user's manual for leading an online life full of meaning and connection." --Kirkus Review

"There's never been a better time for a book like IRL. It's a book that deals with elemental urges in plain, direct language. . . . There are dozens of vivid metaphors in the course of this book. . . . Odds are we're all going to be living online for the foreseeable future. Stedman's hard-won wisdom on the subject is well worth heeding." --Open Letters Review

"Jam-packed with metaphors and beautifully described vignettes. . . . Stedman reminds us throughout IRL that these digital lives, though different, aren't any less real than our offline ones, so they must be managed with care." --Lambda Literary

"Sensitive, intelligent." --MEL Magazine

"A must-read for anyone who's condemned the internet for creating huge social disconnect, and everyone whose lived experiences prove otherwise." --BuzzFeed Books

"Stedman is at ease in the existential, both digitally and IRL (in real life). . . . IRL is a fascinating contribution to this all-important conversation." --Foreword Reviews

"A book that will change the online (and offline) you." --Input Mag

"Thoughtful, prescient, and hyper-relevant." --Killing the Buddha

"In Stedman's new book, IRL, he cements his position as a powerful cultural critic and gifted author." --Loft Literary

"IRL is a profound and necessary exploration of our identities online and how we interact with each other." --Largehearted Boy

"[IRL] is erudite yet highly readable, a deeply confessional memoir that mixes philosophy with pop culture and media studies." --Rewire

"In Stedman's latest work, the author turns his thoughtful yet thorough gaze upon the internet as a means of constructing purpose and identity. A hybrid of memoir, criticism, and reportage . . . all held together by Stedman's moments of bracing honesty. . . . Vital --The Believer

"Honest and careful, . . . [Stedman] offers compelling new ways to think about our own engagement in the digital world, constantly pushing us to consider what is real. . . . Provocative, unlikely, and fascinating." --Vocation Matters

"Tackles big questions about what it means to be authentic in a world where so much of our social interaction is now taking place online. The book goes to deep places, but it doesn't burden the reader with an overly serious tone. Instead, [Stedman] brings a lightness by blending memoir, interviews, and social science, all arranged in vignettes so that reading feels like scrolling through a carefully curated Instagram feed. . . . A glowing example of what it means to think relationally about our own lives and the lives of others." --The Society Pages