The Computer User's Survival Guide

Joan Stigliani

O'Reilly & Associates 1995
A book review by Danny Yee © 1996
The Computer User's Survival Guide arrived at a providential moment — I had just started getting severe pains in my wrists. So the first thing I did was to read part two, on Repetitive Strain Injury. This helped confirm that RSI was indeed my likely problem and enabled me change my work habits to stop things getting worse (I have also seen a physiotherapist, whose advice was pretty much the same). I then went back and read part one, which deals with basic health around computers and with customising your work environment properly (I'm raising my monitor at home, and getting a proper chair at work). Eyestrain hasn't been a problem for me yet, but I read part three preventively, discovering some useful information on monitor quality and on different kinds of lighting (which has, quite independently of any health concerns, convinced me to try using compact fluorescent globes). I only skimmed part four, which covers stress, and part five, on electromagnetic radiation, since I'm not so worried about these. The appendices provide more information about equipment selection and some pointers to other resources.

But the division of The Computer User's Survival Guide into parts is just a convenience. Stigliani stresses a holistic approach to health throughout, pointing out the links between RSI and eyestrain and stress and poor working conditions. She also stresses self-reliance: as well as background medical and technical information on health issues, she offers practical advice — exercises you can do yourself, inexpensive and non-disruptive ways of improving your working conditions, and advice on dealing with doctors, employers and the legal system. She is open to non-traditional forms of medical treatment, but doesn't push them in an aggressive fashion. The Computer User's Survival Guide is clearly laid out and straight-forwardly written, and I really liked its style.

February 1996

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%T The Computer User's Survival Guide
%A Stigliani, Joan
%I O'Reilly & Associates
%D 1995
%O paperback, index
%G ISBN 1565920309
%P xvii,276pp