The best-selling author of The Big Switch returns with an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind.
“Is Google making us stupid?” When Nicholas Carr posed that question in an 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 Internet’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?
Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration yet published of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences. Weaving insights from philosophy, neuroscience, and history into a rich narrative, The Shallows explains how the Internet is rerouting our neural pathways, replacing the subtle mind of the book reader with the distracted mind of the screen watcher. A gripping story of human transformation played out against a backdrop of technological upheaval, The Shallows will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.
©2010 Nicholas Carr (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Neuroscience and technology buffs, librarians, and Internet users will find this truly compelling.” (Library Journal)
“Cogent, urgent, and well worth reading.” (Kirkus Reviews)
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a critical view of how technologies influence us. It's very listenable and engaging.
The author takes over 10 hours of technical, detailed, linear, systematic logic to explain that we now longer think in linear systematic logic due to this internet.
I accept the premise, but would have preferred the 5 hour version. Only my anal, linear, systematic approach gave me the patience to make it to the end.
I am a very big fan of modern tech and culture.
I was expecting a rant with snippets of usable information. I found the opposite here. :-)
There is a good balance of positive and negative ideas on what is happening to us as modern humans. The book is long and wordy but that may be due to recent evolution. (This will make sense after you read the book)
Disappointing. One of the few audible books I did not finish. Too much generalization from anecdote to principle. This may be the way that pop knowledge is created but it's not good science.
I had to stop listening after listening to the first 5 hours (out of a total of 10).
The beginning of the book is spent decrying the shallowness of the internet age, without really going into great detail or citing any convincing research. Marshall McLuhan is name-checked, along with his idea that the "medium is the message." The differences between oral and literate culture are discussed, along with the many wondrous changes that Gutenberg's printing press brought to the world. There's a tangent on Nietzsche, and the idea that his transition to using an early typewriter changed his writing style. All of this feels like filler material, simply reinforced by the inclusion of luminaries such as McLuhan, Gutenberg, and Nietzsche.
Then the rant really starts...
He complains that reading an ebook in a web browser-based interface is terribly distracting because of incoming emails and other notifications, without mentioning that these notifications can be silenced (so that they needn't even be actively ignored).
The first generation kindle is described. Much significance is placed on the fact that it had a full keyboard, and that the device could be used to browse the web (a potential distraction!). The fact is, just about every dedicated ebook reader since has done away with a full physical keyboard, and anyone that has bothered trying probably knows that web-browsing on an e-ink screen is an extremely unpleasant experience.
Second-hand speculations are recounted, such as the idea that books of the future will have "live" comments sections, or that they'll be crowdsourced mashups of previous works, or that they'll be full of search-engine-optimized phrases in order to appear at the top of search results.
I don't know about you, but none of this speculation or trivia is interesting to me.
Just a guy that started listening to books in his ever growing responsibilities lifestyle.
In the age of information we live today, this book will show you differences of man and machine. It will also show why we are incapable of multitasking effectively, and why we shouldn't multitask in the first place.
Because I like learning history and trivia
Very long winded. It goes on and on about obvious and trivial details. Might be more interesting in 10 years to a generation who more removed from life before the internet
I was hoping for something deeper and less reactionary, maybe something about how young people are developing with the technology, perhaps from a less outsider-feeling perspective. Instead it was very concerned with the loss of reading. Understandable, but given undue emphasis. The book is, ironically, pretty shallow an analysis of the impact the internet has had on our thinking.
Perhaps his affect would be less grating when used in a book that is less hoity-toity.
Boredom (which I'm sure the author would take to indicate my internet-ruined brain. And perhaps it is, but it doesn't make the book any more compelling or fresh).
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