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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains Audio CD – Jun 7 2010

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio; Retail CD edition (June 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441749993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441749994
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 14.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #546,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“A thought provoking exploration of the Internet’s physical and cultural consequences, rendering highly technical material intelligible to the general reader.” — The 2011 Pulitzer Prize Committee

“A must-read for any desk jockey concerned about the Web’s deleterious effects on the mind.” — Newsweek

“Starred Review. Carr provides a deep, enlightening examination of how the Internet influences the brain and its neural pathways. Carr’s analysis incorporates a wealth of neuroscience and other research, as well as philosophy, science, history and cultural developments ... His fantastic investigation of the effect of the Internet on our neurological selves concludes with a very humanistic petition for balancing our human and computer interactions ... Highly recommended.” — Library Journal

“This is a measured manifesto. Even as Carr bemoans his vanishing attention span, he’s careful to note the usefulness of the Internet, which provides us with access to a near infinitude of information. We might be consigned to the intellectual shallows, but these shallows are as wide as a vast ocean.” — Jonah Lehrer (The New York Times Book Review)

“The best book I read last year — and by “best” I really just mean the book that made the strongest impression on me — was , by Nicholas Carr. Like most people, I had some strong intuitions about how my life and the world have been changing in response to the Internet. But I could neither put those intuitions into an argument, nor be sure that they had any basis in the first place. Carr persuasively — and with great subtlety and beauty — makes the case that it is not only the content of our thoughts that are radically altered by phones and computers, but the structure of our brains — our ability to have certain kinds of thoughts and experiences. And the kinds of thoughts and experiences at stake are those that have defined our humanity. Carr is not a proselytizer, and he is no techno-troglodyte. He is a profoundly sharp thinker and writer — equal parts journalist, psychologist, popular science writer, and philosopher. I have not only given this book to numerous friends, I actually changed my life in response to it.” — Jonathan Safran Foer

“This is a lovely story well told—an ode to a quieter, less frenetic time when reading was more than skimming and thought was more than mere recitation.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“ isn’t McLuhan’s , but the curiosity rather than trepidation with which Carr reports on the effects of online culture pulls him well into line with his predecessor . . . 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.” — Ellen Wernecke, (The Onion A.V. Club)

“The subtitle of Nicholas Carr’s leads one to expect a polemic in the tradition of those published in the 1950s about how rock ’n’ roll was corrupting the nation’s youth ... But this is no such book. It is a patient and rewarding popularization of some of the research being done at the frontiers of brain science ... 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.” — Christopher Caldwell (Financial Times)

“Nicholas Carr has written an important and timely book. See if you can stay off the web long enough to read it!” — Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

“Neither a tub-thumpingly alarmist jeremiad nor a breathlessly Panglossian ode to the digital self, Nicholas Carr’s is a deeply thoughtful, surprising exploration of our “frenzied” psyches in the age of the Internet. Whether you do it in pixels or pages, read this book.” — Tom Vanderbilt, author, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

“Nicholas Carr carefully examines the most important topic in contemporary culture—the mental and social transformation created by our new electronic environment. Without ever losing sight of the larger questions at stake, he calmly demolishes the clichés that have dominated discussions about the Internet. Witty, ambitious, and immensely readable, actually manages to describe the weird, new, artificial world in which we now live.” — Dana Gioia, poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

“The core of education is this: developing the capacity to concentrate. The fruits of this capacity we call civilization. But all that is finished, perhaps. Welcome to the shallows, where the un-educating of homo sapiens begins. Nicholas Carr does a wonderful job synthesizing the recent cognitive research. In doing so, he gently refutes the ideologists of progress, and shows what is really at stake in the daily habits of our wired lives: the re-constitution of our minds. What emerges for the reader, inexorably, is the suspicion that we have well and truly screwed ourselves.” — Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class As Soulcraft

“Ultimately, is a book about the preservation of the human capacity for contemplation and wisdom, in an epoch where both appear increasingly threatened. Nick Carr provides a thought-provoking and intellectually courageous account of how the medium of the Internet is changing the way we think now and how future generations will or will not think. Few works could be more important.” — Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as The Big Switch and Does IT Matter? His articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and the New Republic, and he writes the widely read blog Rough Type. He has been writer-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, and an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
Is our constant exposure to electronic stimuli good for us? Can we transform the data we receive into the knowledge we need? Are we swapping deep understanding for shallow distractions?

In this book, Nicholas Carr argues that our constant exposure to multiple and faster data streams is changing the way our brains are wired. This change, which is due to the inherent plasticity of the brain, tends to reduce our capacity to absorb and retain what we read. Mr Carr cites a number of different studies to support his views, and the book makes for interesting reading.

Mr Carr acknowledges that the digital world brings both advantage and disadvantage: `Every tool imposes limitations even as it opens possibilities.' The Internet is a wonderful tool for finding information, but value usually requires some analysis, and often requires a context which is not always immediately obvious. How do we find a balance between those aspects of life that require self-awareness, time and careful consideration, and those aspects of life where an automatic (or semi automatic) response is more appropriate and perhaps even required? Do we understand what choices we have, or are we responding in line with the immediacy of the medium we are using? Are we consumers of data or evaluators of information? Does it matter? I think it does: `The more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctly human forms of empathy, compassion, and emotion.'

The most valuable aspect of this book, to me, was thinking about the short and long term consequences of the Internet. Those of us who grew to adulthood before the Internet shaped the way we work and communicate have (to varying degrees) embraced the benefits and new possibilities afforded.

A return to the past is neither possible nor desirable - but conscious choice is both.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cracklebones on April 4 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr is a book that can make you feel stupid at times if you are of average intelligence as I am. I have read quite a few popular books dealing with scientific information that is written so the lay reader can understand. This book was a bit difficult but the information so essential that I plodded through it however slowly. The Shallows is well written and clearly underlines a problem that far too many of us trustingly ignore: What the internet is doing to our brains. It's not frightening information but it is timely and should not be ignored as we look for better and faster and less cumbersome technologies. It made me want to reassess my need for wireless technology; in some cases I've eliminated it, in others I've begun to use it more wisely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Jones on Aug. 11 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is deeply personal, written directly to each of the hundreds of millions of people who spend many hours a day in front of a monitor. For those like me who are middle age, this provides incredible context for something we were likely glancingly aware of; the Internet, through e-books, computers and smart phones, is changing our brains. Nicholas Carr brings together a rich set of scientific and philosophical sources to demonstrate how technology that extends our intellect (clocks, maps, alphabets, the printing press, the computer, the Internet) has ended up changing everything from our worldview to the physical makeup of our brains. The chapter on Google is an insightful aside, reinforcing the main point that "our ability to engage in 'meditative thinking'...might become a victim of headlong progress." The author builds a case that being "Internet-connected" while trying to engage is meditative thinking is like reading a book while doing a crossword puzzle. It cannot be effectively done. The concern is that we are losing an essential element of our humanity and becoming more like the machines we spend so much time engaging with. Since computers aren't going away, and indeed are increasingly enriching our society in so many ways, this left me wondering how we teach our children to think calculatively and meditatively. Surely someone who is able to effectively combine calculative thinking (ie expertise in data mining) with meditative thinking (using data to drive real insights from complex, personal schema) has limitless opportunities.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alia on Jan. 13 2011
Format: Hardcover
Why aren't there more reviews of this book? Nicholas Carr's book is less to do with the internet, and more to do with how human thinking has evolved with the development of new communication technologies -- I picked it up because largely because of perverse pleasure in reading articles that bash the dumbing-down qualities of the internet, but it turned out to be a very well-balanced, well-argued, and ultimately frightening book about how even educated adult brains can be moulded to fit the ADD-multitask thought process made possible (and encouraged) by the internet. If you're wondering why you can't seem to type out a paragraph without simultaneously checking the Huffington Post, listening to a song on YouTube, watching a video on Failblog (or Cuteoverload, whichever your drug is), then this book will solve the mystery for you.

And while it solves no problems, it will make you more aware of what you are doing to yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hogan on April 26 2012
Format: Paperback
An insightful and interesting read on how our brains work and how the internet is changing how we comprehend, understand and learn. Carr questions our pursuit of ever more user friendly interfaces. As we cede more of our thinking and understanding to technology, are we diminishing our own cognitive abilities?
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