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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to…
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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Nicholas Carr

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1,8901433,632 (3.89)99
Member:gregvogl
Title:The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
Authors:Nicholas Carr
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2011), Paperback, 280 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:computers, technology

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

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English (130)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All (141)
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Synopsis: The Shallows opens out with a history of the written word and how reading has transformed over time. We are taken back to when people first started silent reading, then when published books first evolved and then to when Internet came about.

A large portion of the book is focused on Google, and how hyperlinks and 'skim-reading' is changing us and changing the way we use our working memory.

My Opinion: From the title, I inferred that The Shallows would take a negative stance on how the Internet is changing us, but it does not do that at all. Both the pros and cons of the Internet are weighed up and evaluated.

There were some aspects that when I read I thought 'I knew that already', but the book consolidates all these aspects, along with studies, to give an objective stance on what the Internet has done to our brains. ( )
  Moniica | May 21, 2017 |
I had a really difficult time getting through this book...which was disappointing, because the subject is really interesting to me. ( )
  redsnapdragons | May 1, 2017 |
Intruiging – a bit technical ( )
  keithgordonvernon | May 1, 2017 |
The book begins with a look at how the plasticity of the brain -- how it can repair broken pathways and how new pathways can emerge, then it delves into the progression of technology that has influenced the flow of information. Both of these sections were very intriguing and I really enjoyed the look at how Socrate and Plato had differences with the emergence of an alphabet for the common man of the times.

The book is a look at how people read and how information can be gained from what you read.

I wish we could have a world-wide discussion around this topic as I have some concern for how we use current technology, (especially Social Media sites), to communicate. My theory is there is a lot of Social Attention Deficit Disorder surrounding these outlets.

For me, the book was not saying the Internet is inherently "evil", but rather, if you skim while you read, you should not assume you learned very much at all. This goes for all written words, no matter the media ... and ... know your sources of information, first and foremost (the latter is my recommendation, not that of the author of this work). ( )
  snowbodyatall | Mar 9, 2017 |
I have this marked as 'currently reading' .. I have for a long time... but... I am not currently reading it. I guess i should say I'm waiting to read it still.. First my son high jacked the book and brought it to college w/him... and brought it back a few weeks later... then my daughter took it... so... I am waiting my turn now. Feel like I'm on hold at the library in my very own home :-)
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (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.
 

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Nicholas Carrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pietiläinen, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:59 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

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

Editions: 0393072223, 0393339750

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