HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to…
Loading...

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2010)

by Nicholas Carr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5081244,904 (3.86)84
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 84 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Discuss: This book took me a month to read because I have internet caused ADD and can't manage to focus on something long enough to process it correctly.

Basically, this book terrified me. I guess in a good way. I realize that though I spend lots of time on the internet, I also read a significant amount, but this book made me think about the way I am reading and how I am consuming information in general. It was a good, thought-provoking treatise on how the internet is changing the way we think and interact with media, and how we need to consider not only the positives but the possible negatives as well.

I enjoyed this book a lot, but like I said, it took some time to process, and there were definitely some parts which were a little bit scientific and dry for me, and that I couldn't understand at all. Otherwise, it was great! ( )
  kateminasian | Nov 22, 2014 |
To make it clear: I read this book so I could work with the college writing classes at UMass Lowell. They selected this book as their focus for the semester. A large majority of the faculty are pulling assignments from things found in this book. To provide support I felt I needed to be engaged in the conversation. I had read the original essay and didn't take offense to Carr's argument. I thought this would be a great read, a great source to generate research ideas and discussion points, and it would help me when students need research help.
I gave up on this one after chapter 3. I blame chapter 2 for making me not want to continue. Carr's premise is that there is a problem with what the internet is doing to our brains. I found myself questioning if this is a bad thing.
I will admit I loved his chapter on neuroplasticity. I find this topic fascinating and would have enjoyed a book that focused on the biological and neurological changes happening as a result of changing how we consume, process and integrate data. I found value to the argument that reading on the web changes how we read. He lost me when he went back to Socrates and how the world changed when we shifted away oral communication and memorization to written communication. Carr went on and on about how they complained about how it would ruin oral traditions. Yes, it changed how we communicated. It changed how our brains worked, but it certainly didn't ruin society. I felt Carr's implication was giving validity to the fears of the ancient Greeks.
This is when I just stopped reading. If the argument is that this is ruining our brains then couldn't this be an example that changing doesn't mean ruining? How do we know this won't be good in the long run? Did oral traditions totally disappear. There is still value in the spoken word: storytelling, public speaking, reciting poetry. They have become art forms and skills to develop to better yourself.
Should I have kept reading? Maybe, but I didn't stop because I couldn't read the way I use it. I stopped because I disliked his book and his premise. Do I disagree with him? Not necessarily; I simply don't think we can judge the changes to our brain just yet. This book came off as a complaint more than informative for me. That's not what I am looking for.
Finally, I was asked to include this commentary by a colleague. Carr covers the history of technology, but he fails to cover the history of the computer or the internet. I would think this would be important to cover if you are criticizing how the two are changing our brains. ( )
  librarygurl | Oct 6, 2014 |
To make it clear: I read this book so I could work with the college writing classes at UMass Lowell. They selected this book as their focus for the semester. A large majority of the faculty are pulling assignments from things found in this book. To provide support I felt I needed to be engaged in the conversation. I had read the original essay and didn't take offense to Carr's argument. I thought this would be a great read, a great source to generate research ideas and discussion points, and it would help me when students need research help.
I gave up on this one after chapter 3. I blame chapter 2 for making me not want to continue. Carr's premise is that there is a problem with what the internet is doing to our brains. I found myself questioning if this is a bad thing.
I will admit I loved his chapter on neuroplasticity. I find this topic fascinating and would have enjoyed a book that focused on the biological and neurological changes happening as a result of changing how we consume, process and integrate data. I found value to the argument that reading on the web changes how we read. He lost me when he went back to Socrates and how the world changed when we shifted away oral communication and memorization to written communication. Carr went on and on about how they complained about how it would ruin oral traditions. Yes, it changed how we communicated. It changed how our brains worked, but it certainly didn't ruin society. I felt Carr's implication was giving validity to the fears of the ancient Greeks.
This is when I just stopped reading. If the argument is that this is ruining our brains then couldn't this be an example that changing doesn't mean ruining? How do we know this won't be good in the long run? Did oral traditions totally disappear. There is still value in the spoken word: storytelling, public speaking, reciting poetry. They have become art forms and skills to develop to better yourself.
Should I have kept reading? Maybe, but I didn't stop because I couldn't read the way I use it. I stopped because I disliked his book and his premise. Do I disagree with him? Not necessarily; I simply don't think we can judge the changes to our brain just yet. This book came off as a complaint more than informative for me. That's not what I am looking for.
Finally, I was asked to include this commentary by a colleague. Carr covers the history of technology, but he fails to cover the history of the computer or the internet. I would think this would be important to cover if you are criticizing how the two are changing our brains. ( )
  librarygurl | Oct 6, 2014 |
Really enjoyed chapters 1-4. Now that I'm in the midst of chapter 5, I'm getting angry. Carr has founded his argument on solid research and good science. Suddenly he's masking value judgments as scientific fact and assuming his favored kinds of reading are the only kinds of intellectual activity. More accurately, he treats scholars who are looking for new ways of reading as people who have abandoned reading.

This is very disappointing, since the book started so strongly. Carr needs more than nostalgia for his childhood and resistance to any change in order to make his point.

On finishing, I have to say this is a well researched book. It is not shallow. However his evidence and supporting arguments are much more valuable than his conclusions.

His warnings, when taken simply at face value and without the implied and explicit value judgments, are wise. Electronic information unchecked and without discipline can have unwanted side effects. We would be wise to accept his warnings but reject his bias against the new.

This book belongs in a class w/ Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget: intelligent counterpoints to the Internet exceptionalist point of view. Carr has a rhetorical sophistication Lanier lacks, but Lanier understands technology as an engineer, something that Carr does not. Carr sees technology only as an end user. He has only the context of the past to explain the future. He does not understand technology or even attempt to understand technology from the point of view of a technologist. He sees the effects but is blind to the vision. This doesn't mean he is wrong (although I think he is) but it does mean that he lacks a key perspective. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
There are a lot of compelling ideas in this book and some interesting illustrations, but the book felt uneven and sometimes disconnected. Maybe the result of the internet age?? What I found most engaging were the explanations of how our brains change as a result of the things we do and don't do with them - and how the ways we use our technology actually change the way we think. A little frightening when I think of the challenges my kids face in basic thinking skills and recognize how their media time impacts that. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Aug 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Like the majority of contemporary books, then, The Shallows does not justify its length: its natural form was always that of a pithy provocation, so as an argument for the superiority of book-length prose it is rather self-defeating.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Steven Poole (Sep 11, 2010)
 
Carr’s ability to crosscut between cognitive studies involving monkeys and eerily prescient prefigurations of the modern computer opens a line of inquiry into the relationship between human and technology. Hopefully, other writers will follow.
added by lorax | editA.V. Club, Ellen Wernecke (Jun 3, 2010)
 
His new book is an expanded survey of the science and history of human cognition. ... Mr Carr’s contribution is to offer the most readable overview of the science to date. It is clearly not intended as a jeremiad. Yet halfway through, he can’t quite help but blurt out that the impact of this browsing on our brains is “even more disturbing” than he thought.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Economist (pay site)
 
Carr is a beautiful writer. His word choice, his syntax, his sequencing... all great.
 
Born in 1959, Carr straddles the book-dominated and web-dominated worlds and is at home in both. Members of his generation, he believes, have lived their lives as a “two-act play,” consisting of an analogue youth and a digital adulthood. You could conclude that when the people educated after, say, 1990 die, there will be, in the strictest sense, no literary culture left to speak of. Mild-mannered, never polemical, with nothing of the Luddite about him, Carr makes his points with a lot of apt citations and wide-ranging erudition. Either he is very well read or he is a hell of a Googler.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholas Carrprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pietiläinen, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain...

- JOHN KEATS, "Ode to Psyche"
Dedication
to my mother

and in memory of my father
First words
In 1964, just as the Beatles were launching their invasion of America's airwaves, Marshall McLuhan published Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and transformed himself from an obscure academic into a star.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393072223, Hardcover)

Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate

Finalist for the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award

“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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

As we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Carr 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--and interweaves recent discoveries in neuroscience. Now, he expands his argument into a compelling exploration of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Our brains, scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. Building on insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a case that every information technology carries a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. The printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In contrast, the Internet encourages rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information. As we become ever more adept at scanning and skimming, are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection?--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
434 wanted7 pay6 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.86)
0.5
1 3
1.5
2 16
2.5 8
3 75
3.5 22
4 153
4.5 21
5 76

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

W.W. Norton

Two editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393072223, 0393339750

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,054,942 books! | Top bar: Always visible