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The Shallows

The Shallows

What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Book - 2010
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Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780393072228
Branch Call Number: QP360 .C3667 2010
Characteristics: viii, 276 p. ; 24 cm.


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May 22, 2019

If you’ve ever wondered why millennials live,eat,sleep and devour the Web, Carr explains in this terrific book. Well written and intriguing, he reflects on his own use of the internet and how difficult it is to disconnect.

May 12, 2018

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. There is way too much great content for me to summarize; the library limits the number of characters. The bottom line is: Using digital technology is rewiring our brains, reducing our attention spans, and making us much more easily distracted. (And this book was written in 2009, before social media became ubiquitous.) Many people can no longer "lose themselves" in a book! We are not only less able to think deeply, but our compassion and empathy are also negatively affected.

Most of us are not able to avoid technology altogether; we need it for our work and our personal lives. The author highly recommends spending time in nature, including taking walks in nature. Continuing to read books (books on paper if at all possible) will help. Taking Digital Sabbaticals (even for a half day or whole day each weekend) will help. Connecting with people in person instead of just digitally remains important. Giving up (or drastically reducing) use of social media will help. I am going to reread the books Rest and The Distraction Addiction (about how to use technology mindfully), which have a lot of ideas and tools to offer. I am also going to look for other books by Nicholas Carr.

ArapahoeAlison Sep 08, 2016

It certainly freaked me out about my own Internet usage. I cut down for about a week, sigh. The book is strongest when it discusses the history of media like the printing press and how that caused monumental shifts in cultures.

May 30, 2016

Lots of information on neural plasticity and the influence of the printing press, in addition to summaries of research regarding the internet and our brains. Very accessible for a lay reader.

Mar 04, 2016

A MUST read!

Dec 05, 2015

For the first time I'm leaving a comment before finishing the entire book. The library found another popular title I'm itching to get into, but I'm returning to this one when I'm done.

Whenever I see a book title like this, I worry it's going to filled with condescending words towards book, and to reading in general. And there is some of that here, of course. I'm far more impressed with the scope this book takes of the history of storytelling and literature throughout time, from the Mesopotamian, orality, the invention of workable alphabets, through scribes and mass oral reading, to the invention of the Guttenburg Press, and how that changed how we thought and interacted with words.

The intruduction of the Kindle is seen as one of the means of transforming how we read today. The publishers of words are more and more adapting their styles to appeal to a new audience affixed with the ease and attention-altering influences of getting information on-line.

Overall, it's well thought - out and written. I look forward to returning to complete this amazing piece soon.

WVMLStaffPicks Sep 14, 2014

What impact has the Internet had on our brains? How has it changed the way we think? Nicholas Carr, with the same deft touch he used in his previous novel The Big Switch, interweaves the history of reading and technology with neuroscience and sociology. Using concrete examples, interviews, and personal accounts, this book approaches the changes that have occurred and questions what the future might look like.

ascherer Apr 02, 2013

The book relates a number of experiments that point to the idea that Internet affects both the way we think and the very organic structure of our brain. According to the author and the scientific experiments he refers to, Internet develops multitasking and indexing capabilities in our brains: where to find the information rather than knowing the information itself. Because our working memory is so constantly and intensely solicited we don't think as deeply and reflexively as we used to. This adversely impact our creativity and our ability to empathize.
The book is well written and "talked" to me as I could relate to many experiences described in it based on my own usage of the Internet.

Jean-Pierre Lebel
Mar 27, 2012

If you've noticed that your attention span has shortened over the past decade, this book may be a good place to start. Nicholas Carr makes a strong case for how our dependence on the Internet is changing the structure of our brains. Siting many studies, surveys and experiments he presents abundant evidence to support his thesis: we are changing from a linear deep learning process to a multitasking, rapid information acquiring process that is shallow. He also takes a stab at Google and their contribution this phenomenon. For the most part this is a well written and thoroughly researched book. Near the end the author seems to go off on a few tangents that I found curious. Overall this book is recommended for anyone. It left me aware that "mindful" web browsing will take some training and personal effort.

Oct 15, 2011

Despite the rather sensationalist title this is a reasonable balanced presentation of recent research into our brains and what our growing use of the Internet may mean for the future. After pointing out that the changes neuroplasticity (get used to the word) enables in our brain from daily hours of Net use seem to increase our ability to scan multiple options and make decisions quickly Carr laments the probability that ability to do deep reading will atrophy (supported by research he cites.) This book will make you think hard and deep. It is itself deep reading, although Proust and the Squid (also on brain changes) would be a more apt example of the concept.

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Jun 10, 2013

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