The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

276 pages

English language

Published June 7, 2010

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4 stars (3 reviews)

"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 …

2 editions

holds up and better than I expected

4 stars

Pop history of technology and neuroscience, the mental processes of books vs media embedded in distraction, the ongoing plasticity of our minds to optimize towards what we attend to, failures of hypermedia in education and adtech-driven fragmentation of thought.

Review of 'The Shallows' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Extremely interesting, very well readable book on how the digital media and tools we consume and use, affect our brains. I was shocked to find out how radically memory, attention span and even empathy are influenced by these tools. I already was sceptical of these technologies and the prominent role they have in our everyday lives, but this book truly convinced me of the importance of de-digitalizing some parts of life.
Highly recommend!

better/more interesting than I thought but still very much written by a white dude

3 stars

I generally enjoyed reading this and appreciated that libraries were given a pretty decent analysis, which is definitely not something you can say about all books in this general "reflective tech" genre. It is overwhelmingly based on the conclusions and musings of middle-aged white men - most egregiously in the beginning before we start to get into the meat of how Carr surmises the internet has changed our brains. But he has many good insights here about how the nature of how info is presented to us determines how we use it and what we get out of it. For my anecdatal $0.02, I think I probably succumbed to the shallowing effect 10-15 years ago but steadily have grown out of it, mostly by spending a lot more time reading books than I was at that time. Interesting to contrast the techlash of a decade ago - are we getting …