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The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains Paperback – Jun 7 2011
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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)
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
The Shallows isn’t McLuhan’s Understanding Media, 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 The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains 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 The Shallows 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, The Shallows 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, The Shallows 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
About the Author
Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Glass Cage, among other books. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Wired. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Carr provides insights that seem obvious once absorbed. He talks about rowing against a growing tide of information that is overwhelming our humanity. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cabin&Tea
A fascinating exploration of the way our society is changing in the ways with think.Published 6 months ago by Jed Anderson
Ever feel overwhelmed? Anxious for no reason? Constant fear of missing out, like the world is passing you by? Unable to concentrate? Read morePublished 8 months ago by Josh Weston
This book seems likely to be a cranky rant, but Carr raises the bar way higher than that. Rather than resorting to being a Luddite, he chronicles how science shows seemingly... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Rodge
A good but rather ponderous reflection on the impact of technology on consciousness. By the way, there is some wonderful story telling about people and machines, e.g. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ironpop
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