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

by Nicholas Carr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,2681763,961 (3.89)105
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)
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» See also 105 mentions

English (163)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (175)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
A bit preachy, but then I’m a card carrying member of the choir. I am more resolved than ever to control screen time for my kids. ( )
  BBrookes | Nov 27, 2023 |
How Computers and the internet affect our minds. We are moulded by our environment and need to be conscious of how we let ourselves be influenced by our surroundings.
  David-Block | Jul 23, 2023 |
I absolutely loved this book... he said so many things I have been thinking and wondering about as we have stepped into this technological age. Just read it! ( )
  Leann | Jun 27, 2023 |
an extremely interesting book on neuroplasticity and the effect of the technologies on our brain, throughout the history of the human kind. Some passages are a bit repetitive and could be shorter and still get to the point, but it's still a great book. Probably the title is misleading, though, it's not just about the internet. ( )
  LuigiGreco | Apr 12, 2023 |
This was not concise - the theories were padded with so much superfluous information that we didn’t need to know - it was like he was constantly hyperlinking himself down the rabbit hole, rather than staying on topic.
I was born in 85. I grew up with tech. But I am still a voracious reader who has no issues paying attention to whatever I’m doing even if that is reading for 12 hours straight, so I don’t quite agree that tech has smashed our attention spans and the way we think. Perhaps for some, but not all. I also use Ebola and have never clocked any of the kinks, I read them the same way I read paper books. ( )
  spiritedstardust | Mar 18, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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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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.

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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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