The Shallows

What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain

 

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

 

“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?

By: Nicolas Carr
Pages: 364
Available:  Amazon | iTunes | Indiebound | Barnes and Noble

 
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.

The Shallows

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.

 

About the Author:

Nicholas Carr is an acclaimed writer on technology and culture whose books have been translated into more than 25 languages. His new book, “The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us,” examines the personal, social, and economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers, apps, and robots to do our jobs and live our lives. The New York Times Book Review called the book “essential,” and the Wall Street Journal termed it “elegant.”

“The Glass Cage” expands the arguments in Carr’s previous book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” which was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction. A New York Times bestseller, “The Shallows” discusses the cognitive consequences of Internet and computer use and, more broadly, examines the role that media and other technologies have played in shaping the way people think.

Carr is also the author of the 2008 Wall Street Journal bestseller “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google,” which the Financial Times called “the best read so far about the significance of the shift to cloud computing,” and of the much-discussed 2004 book “Does IT Matter?” In addition to writing books, Carr contributes articles and essays to many newspapers and magazines.

He wrote the celebrated and much-anthologized essay “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” which appeared in The Atlantic, and he has also contributed to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, Wired, and Nature. He was formerly the executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. Carr blogs at www.roughtype.com. More information about his work can be found at his website, www.nicholascarr.com.

 

 

 

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