The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2010 - Computers - 276 pages
797 Reviews
"Is Google making us stupid?" When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by "tools of the mind"--from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer--Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic--a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption--and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes--Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive--even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
  

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Well written and researched. - Goodreads
I stopped because I disliked his book and his premise. - Goodreads
Carr is an excellent writer. - Goodreads
It was a bit hard to read but very informative. - Goodreads
Very interesting and well researched. - Goodreads
The premise behind this book is amazing. - Goodreads

Review: The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

User Review  - Marlana Portolano - Goodreads

I chose this book to replace Thank You for Arguing by Deborah Tannen in a class I teach on "expository theory." Although the nature of electronic communication these days makes Carr's book already--so ... Read full review

Review: The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

User Review  - Matthew - Goodreads

This is really fascinating subject matter which i feel we absolutely must be aware of as we continue to integrate technology into our lives. The historical perspective of how different mediums have ... Read full review

All 9 reviews »

Contents

Prologue
1
a digression
36
Four
58
on lee deforest and his amazing audion
78
Seven
115
a digression
144
Nine
177
a digression
198
Epilogue
223
Further Reading
253
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Big Switch and Does IT Matter? He has written for the New York Times, Atlantic, New Republic, Wired, and other periodicals. He lives in Colorado with his wife

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