by Al Sacco

CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse (Book Review)

Jan 20, 20094 mins

Never before has the BlackBerry brand been more visible in both the business and consumer worlds. For Research In Motion (RIM), as well as your average smartphone user, that’s mostly a good, ne great, thing. However, there’s a dark side to this deluge of BlackBerry use: an equally large outgrowth of CrackBerry abuse.

CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse
CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse

Something tells me you know what I’m talking about—you’re reading this blog aren’t ya? Perhaps you’re even experiencing some early symptoms of your own? If so, have no fear; the good folks from and BlackBerry Made Simple have compiled a collection of true tales from real-life “CrackBerry addicts” so you can learn from their mistakes, along with a unique “12 Step Program” for recovery. Whether you’re a BlackBerry newbie or a full-blown addict, “CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse” has something for you.

I just finished the 180-page, $16 book, and I must say, it has genuinely changed the way I think about my BlackBerry use. I feel that I’ve always been a considerate BlackBerry owner in that I realize not everyone around me uses a mobile device the way I do. And I know my constant checking for e-mail and the click-clacking of my keys can be off-putting—to say the least.

But what I really took away from the CrackBerry book was a newfound respect for the people in my life who, regardless of whether or not they’re users themselves, put up with my obsessive BlackBerry use every day—and night and everywhere in between. I’m now doing my best to transform this new respect into some “BlackBerry-free” time each day, in which I can sit down with my significant other and give her 100 percent of my attention. In this regard, the book could also be a great gift for the CrackBerry addict in your life, even if you’re still unaffected by the ‘Berry.

In addition to the many real-life stories in “CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse,” there’s a great glossary of BlackBerry terms, which every BlackBerry user would do well to memorize, as well as a BlackBerry Addiction Quiz, to help measure that monkey on your shoulder. And there’s even a reference to in the text, which always puts a smile on this blogger’s mug.

The only constructive criticism I’d offer the writers is to NEVER come straight out and declare that you’re readers are “pathetic,”—even if you believe it with every ounce of your soul or consider the slight to be part of the “healing process.” From the book:

“We can help you…if you’re willing to see that you are, in fact, pathetic. We’ll wait….OK (sic), we agree—you are pathetic, so let’s move on.”

I realize these sentences were written in jest, but I still think it’s a good idea to avoid insulting your readers. And on that note, one more suggestion: One “shameless plug” for the book within the text is enough. I completely understand the desire to move books off retail shelves—I am, after all, a writer myself—but your readers aren’t stupid, and we know when we’re being fed advertisements in place of advice. Plus, if we’re reading the book, we’ve probably already shelled out $16.

All things considered, the book is a great read for anybody who might be teetering on the edge of full-blown BlackBerry addiction—or anyone who’s forced to deal with BlackBerry addicts in their daily lives.

“CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse,” is

available online via and for $15.99, plus shipping.

While you’re at it, save a few trees why don’t ya? A digital version of the book is also available for download from BlackBerry Made Simple.

For more on the subject, take’s own BlackBerry addiction poll, and read “BlackBerry Addiction and You: The Detox Challenge.”

(Full Disclosure: I’m friends/colleagues with Kevin Michaluk of, one of the book’s authors.)