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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

4.0 123
by Nicholas Carr

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ISBN-10: 0393072223

ISBN-13: 9780393072228

Pub. Date: 06/07/2010

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate

Finalist for the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award


Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate

Finalist for the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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Shallows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
Ken_O More than 1 year ago
I picked this up after reading a review in a local paper - which thought it was too "shallow" for business readers. WRONG! Carr pulls together several strands of research and findings, and brings in the findings from scholarly journals to present several important consequences of the widespread use of the internet. The ideas are not all his, but he puts them together in a very well-written and readily digestible short read. We should all take note of his conclusions. The internet is changing the way we think - and we need to comprehend exactly how.
Booknut62 More than 1 year ago
Before this book was published, I looked forward to getting a copy with anticipation. I have been fascinated with what researchers are saying about the effects of the Web on our brains and and thought processes. Disappointingly, this book offers no groundbreaking insights in this topic, and for that matter any other. Carr opens the first chapters of this book with a long tedious history of the printed word and how that has affected thought and information processing. While this might be vital to his argument about how the Internet is changing the brain, it seems to go on forever. Could this information not been condensed into a chapter or so? Once Carr gets to the research on how the Web is changing our brains, he seems to go into long-drawn out descriptions of chemical processes and descriptions of physiological descriptions of how the Web is basically making us shallow thinkers, unable to think deeply about what we read and see on the Net. I was just a bit disappointed by Carr's treatment of a subject that has a great deal of merit, and a subject that needs to be discussed. In the end, this was one of those books that was difficult to finish. Plowing is the accurate term to describe how I moved through this book. While Carr does an adequate job of describing what the research says about how the Web is changing us, he does so in an uninspiring and didactic manner. This could have been an interesting book, but it reads too much like a diatribe against technology in general.
feelzoo More than 1 year ago
A must-read book that uncovers what we are loosing unconsciously, and the loss is what we must protect. You are becoming one of the shallows little by little with a cascade of benefits from the Net. How come we are becoming less knowledgeable with those benefits? Hyperlinks and multimedia on a Net page contain more information than we need, which makes you think the technology is a blessing. However, this book debunks it by laying out the results of prominent researches and findings. If you are interested in how your brain affected by what you are doing every 3mins with your gadgets, read this book!
VeloChef More than 1 year ago
What initially hooked me was a review about "The Shallows" in Wired Magazine (June 2010). It took awhile to get to the real meat of the subject, but when it did, I couldn't stop underlining, highlighting, note taking, and star making - several chapters are now a complete mess, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know this book is not for everyone, because some of us are more distractable than others. Unfortunately, I'm ADHD, and quite easily distracted. However, on the positive side, once I'm enthralled there's no end to my energy and ability to research a topic thoroughly. Oh well. I highly recommend this for anyone who spends time on the internet, or knows people who do, because it's an important read. If you don't recognize the characteristics today, chances are you will in the near future, because I believe it resembles behavior that could be referred to as techchnology induced ADHD (or close to it). Finally, here is a blog I've started (early June 2010) that is initially (parts 1 - 4 & notes) based on the Wire Mag review. Beyond that I'm developing more content based on my own revelations, observations, research and especially how I'm fighting the daily battle of distractedness on & off the Net. please visit http://velorep.com/b2b-blog
khy50 More than 1 year ago
This book is being read by many college freshmen. My book club selected it to read because of that fact. Amazing information inside. Many insights. Our book club had one of the best discussions ever! This is a must read for anyone who still likes to pick up a book as well as an e reader or who still writes personal notes on paper but also sends text messages. It will change you!
AvidReaderSD More than 1 year ago
I found this book absolutely an intriguing and thoughtful read!! While i enjoy some technology, I have huge concerns as to how we are using/over using it. This book put a lot into perspective. We have become a nation of voyeurs, reacting to stimuli rather than thinking about stimuli and how we respond. I have recommended this book to many people and/or given it as a gift on a must read. I teach and am using a chapter with my students. They need to reflect on what they are doing. As a society we need to consider what we are about before we get any further carried away by our facination with technology. This book helps the process.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Business author Nicholas Carr enters Malcolm Gladwell territory with an insightful, far-reaching book of essays on how your brain works, how the Internet alters your perceptions and habits, and what the consequences of those alterations might be. Stretching from Aristotle to Google, Carr seeks to understand the magnitude of the change the Internet presents, and to gauge whether that change is for good or ill. He does not offer answers to his more provocative philosophical questions, preferring that the reader sort those out. But he frames these fascinating queries in detailed disquisitions on futurism, the creation of computing, the history of the written word and the evolution of science's notions of the brain and how it functions. His relaxed writing style provides a companionable read, as if you were having a great conversation with a brilliant stranger. getAbstract recommends this enjoyable, nourishing book to everyone who's ever wondered how working on a computer might be affecting their lives and their brains.
Andrew Holm More than 1 year ago
The strength of this book is the historical context that the Age of Information is understood compared to similar pivitol developments such as the printing press. How our brains changed in relation to these sweeping changes is described. Not surprisingly, we both gained and lost aptitudes. What would have made this book even better would been practical suggestions to navigate this new territory to optimize our gains and minimize our losses.
WeymanQuenton More than 1 year ago
I don't agree that brains are changing due to Intrnet. While Mr. Carr tries to ground his argument in the details of modern neuroscience, his most powerful points have nothing do with our plastic cortex. Instead, “The Shallows” is most successful when Carr sticks to cultural criticism, as he documents the losses that accompany the arrival of new technologies. The rise of the written text led to the decline of oral poetry; the invention of movable type wiped out the market for illuminated manuscripts; the television show obliterated the radio play (if hardly radio itself). Similarly, numerous surveys suggest that the Internet has diminished our interest in reading books. But, the ebooks sales have down 15% since last year (2015) and print version is up 2%. Or maybe even these worries are mistaken; it can be hard to predict the future of systems and Internet. Infact, the systems taking people's job is most imminent threa.
Maria_Kallas More than 1 year ago
This just in: Carr proves zombies really do exist!  You probably already are aware that zombies are taking over pop culture; however, you may not be aware that zombies are slowly taking over our world.  Slowly but surely, bright intellectuals are transforming into zombies.  Think I’m kidding?  Read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains or better yet, just go ahead and Google it. For those who may not be up to date with pop culture, zombies are non-communicative, mobile, lifeless humans that are vulnerable to brain destruction, which eventually kills them.  Throughout The Shallows, Carr argues that the Internet is not only changing how we think, but it is slowly destructing the brain.  For example, Carr cites Gary Small’s study of digital media’s effect on the human brain.  According to Small, a professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains” (116).  These changes to our brains are responsible for slowly transforming us into zombies that can no longer communicate effectively.  The destruction of our brains is real!  In 2008, a study of twenty-four people was conducted.  The study included twelve tech savvy people who surfed the Internet regularly and twelve people who avoided the Internet.  Incredibly, as the tech-savvy people surfed Google, researchers noticed that their prefrontal cortexes showed a considerably high amount of activity, while the twelve who were inexperienced with the Internet had virtually no activity.  Most surprisingly, after surfing the Internet an hour a day for five days, the Internet illiterates had the same amount of prefrontal brain activity as the tech-savvies.  Scary! According to Carr, “What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: we are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest” (134).  We are slowly losing our ability to think critically, as we conform to the primitive ways of hunting via the Internet.  Carr argues that we are evolving into brain-damaged zombies reduced to habitual grazing on the World Wide Web.  Now, take a moment to reflect on how much time young children, the future of our country, are spending engaged with technology.  If a baby cries, parents of the twenty-first century coddle the baby with an iPhone.  If a toddler is being obnoxious, parents hand the child an iPad to “play an educational game”.  Even educators are forced to include technology in their lessons in order to satisfy the requirements of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). Personally, I spent an entire semester in a class dedicated to teaching future teachers how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom and now I am questioning everything.  Are educational games really educational?  Should technology be used in the classroom?  Is the Internet building knowledge or destroying it?   Is the Internet transforming us into Jimmy Neutrons or zombies?  Brain blast!  Literally.
adkins_lindsay More than 1 year ago
This book is one I was required to read for a class. I, honestly, would not have read it if it were not, but not because of the topic. The topic – how the internet affects our brains – is fairly interesting, and when I first began reading the book, I was eager to learn the answer to this. However, when I started flipping through the pages of the book, I noticed that the writing style is not one I enjoy. I skimmed through a few chapters and realized that Carr has taken this interesting topic, and made it dull. I do think Carr brings up several valid points  about how the the internet has affected our thought processes. He mentions how the internet has caused our ability to concentrate to  decrease. This is something that I have noticed, as well, and he uses the specific example of being able to focus on reading. I used to  read at least one book a week, but since I've began using the internet more, the amount of reading I do has significantly decreased. Carr  proposes that the reason people have loss focus on reading  is because the internet has actually changed the way our brains operate. I think this is something interesting to ponder, but it's not something that I haven't thought about before. While Carr makes interesting points, he, however, fails to provide any profound insight. Overall, I found this book to be very tedious to get through, as he focused much too  heavily on historical events that didn't seem to be especially relevant to the topic. Nearly every chapter begins with an exceptionally  detailed description of a past event. He does provide adequate research, I believe, but he presents this research in an unappealing,  pedantic way. 
TRFeller 28 days ago
This is a non-fiction book that argues the Internet is quite literally rotting our brains. (I can remember when they used to say that about television.) His argument is that the Internet is not just encouraging us to scan, skim, and surf the web while being constantly interrupted to the point where we are losing the ability to read, concentrate, and think deeply. Carr is quite literate and cites Plato, Nietzsche, Freud, T.S. Eliot, and Nathaniel Hawthorne in developing his thesis as well as recent studies in neurology and psychology. One of his arguments is that the Internet has diminished our interest in reading books, but he does not even mention the Harry Potter phenomenon and the widespread proliferation of young adult fiction aimed at the very people who spent many hours on the Internet. I did not buy his argument that heavy Internet users are not as smart as those who are light users, but I can accept the notion that they think differently.
ocs 6 months ago
Is the internet causing us to lose our ability to concentrate without distraction and think deeply about important matters? Are prior generations of scuba divers who had read in the sea of words being followed by readers on a Jet Ski zipping along the surface? Is a digital strip mining of relevant content replacing the slow excavation of meaning by deep reading? These questions are explored by this American author in this 233 page book, a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Price in General Nonfiction. Carr explores the effect of earlier technologies such as the clock that has come to drive the schedule of billions of people. The typewriter caused many people who used to write in cursive to compose on the keyboard. The printing of books led to the Renaissance and deep thinkers who would be absorbed in their reading. Television informative broadcasts present more pointed and often more shallow thoughts, and we now see a message at the bottom of the television screen that can divert our attention from the main message. When reading on the internet we are often tempted to click on hyperlinks that take us to other sites. That takes us from the absorbing the writer’s thoughts and relating them to what we have previously learned. Our understanding thus remains shallow (the title and theme of this book). Also, an internet server favors the most accessed sources over older, perhaps more analytical, sources. We seldom spend hours in reading one article found by a search engine; in contrast. book readers often become absorbed in one book without interruption. Comprehension requires establishing relationships between concepts, drawing inferences, and activating prior knowledge. That is easier done when reading a book than by skimming internet sources. The internet greatly speeds up information retrieval. We no longer have to memorize so much with data banks at our fingertips, but we need to use our memory to test what the internet offers. The author refers to scientific experiments to argue that our brains are being altered by a lack of uninterrupted concentration. The author personally felt this in his inability to pay attention to one thing for more than a few minutes. His brain was hungry to be connected and thus be fed by the internet’s email and links. Scanning is becoming an end in itself. We become suckers for irrelevancy. Another issues is that the winds of opinion offered by internet postings have become a whirlwind. We more easily adopt those opinions of others without studying their motivations and reasoning. We have the ability to resist these trends. One thing that sets us apart from animals is the command we have over our attention. We exercise some control over how and what we think. We can block out distractions, such as by turning off the sound that our cellular phones and computers make each time an email arrives. We can refuse to let the digital world numb the most human of our natural capacities, those for reason, perception and emotion. We can program our computer but refuse to let it program us, argues this author.
Cassidy3 6 months ago
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains is a very decent book. I can't say that I absolutely loved it, but it was quite intriguing. I was required to read the book for a technology class of mine and never would have chose it on my own, but I am glad that I was introduced to this book. I found the information and research throughout Carr's book very interesting and it definitely got me thinking and questioning many things about the technology in our world and how it affects us. I am now wondering if I technology should be incorporated into our lives even more than it already is or less. The book challenged me and drew me into the research and studies that had been completed. Although I found a lot of the points that were made throughout the book to be very interesting, the book seemed to drag things out a little more than it should have. I understand that all of the information from the research needed to be explained in order to get to the bigger points in the book, but it was a little hard for me to make myself get through the less interesting facts in the book. I feel that the book provided a lot of insight and knowledge to me that I had not considered or thought of before. My favorite part was when Carr spoke about the ability to have specific types of thoughts and experiences based on certain things, this is the thing that drew me into the book more and got me more interested. Overall it is definitely something to look into if you are interested in these types of books.
CassMay3 6 months ago
I found the information and research throughout this book very interesting and it definitely got me thinking and questioning things about the technology in our world. Although I found a lot of the points that were made to be interesting, the book seemed to drag things out a little more than it should have. I understand that all of the information from the research needed to be explained in order to get to the bigger points in the book, but it was a little hard for me to make myself get through the book. Overall it is definitely something to look into if you are interested in these types of books.
Aubry_Prow 6 months ago
I thought the book was very thought provoking. It makes you question everything that you know. It was very interesting to hear how technology can change even the slightest of things. Carr discusses how technology not only changes these things, but alters the structure of our brains. Throughout the book, Carr discusses a lot about the brain such as the function and plasticity of it. I do believe that he is correct that the internet has caused us the inability to be deep thinkers. Hence the title, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Not only has it changed our minds, but it has changed society. Many newspapers and other print media have gone bankrupt and external medias have made a larger impact. Statistics even show the alarming rate at which everything is being put on the internet. Personally, I think it is the also the cause of more young girls with eating disorders and people with depression because they are constantly on the internet comparing their lives to others. The internet is not always bad, but it is also full of distractions. Carr describes in his book about the effects that the internet has had on short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory. Whether we realize it or not, the internet has changed the structure of our brains. We are less contemplative, reflective, and imaginative. This is a great book in which Nicholas Carr explains these things and it is a must read. I believe that this is a book that everyone should read so that they are aware of how the internet has changed society today. There are advantages and disadvantages of using the internet and this book explains the affects that it has had on our brains and the way that we think. This is a phenomenal, thought provoking book and I would highly recommend it.
revictory 6 months ago
As the title suggests, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, is a book by Nicholas Carr, which focuses on the effects of the Internet to the human brain. This book does not focus on whether or not the Internet is a good or bad thing. Instead it focuses on how the Internet is rewiring our brains. Throughout the whole book Carr continues to explain and give examples of how the Internet is shaping our minds. It does not seem that Carr’s purpose of the book was to scare people of the Internet, but rather to inform and make people aware of the Internet’s effects on the brain. In the prologue Carr makes a very important statement to his overall purpose, “we miss the greater danger: the impact that using the electronic tools – the activity itself – is having on our minds. By this Carr is talking about how people don’t realize the impact that the act of using the Internet is having on their minds. In chapter 3, Carr does an excellent job explaining the relationship between our acts and tools we use. According to Carr, “We usually assume that whatever we choose to do is a personal choice, but in reality, it is often the tools we use that direct our thoughts.” This means that when completing a task we aren’t actually choosing how to complete the task, but rather the tools that are needed to complete the task dictate our actions and thoughts. This explanation of the relationship between tools and actions helps to explain what Carr means by the Internet rewiring our brains. An example of our brains being rewired is how we read the Internet compared to how we read actual books. Carr talks about how when we read books we read left to right and up and down. He continues to say that when people read off of the Internet we have a tendency to skim through rather than read everything. Carr attributes this to the Internet rewiring our brains. Before the Internet if a student was writing an essay they were required to read many books in order to obtain information. After the Internet if a student was writing an essay they could simply search a whole question or a keyword. When people do research on the Internet they are provided with many sources all at once. This amount of information being presented at once causes students to be over-stimulated and they often skim through sources rather than carefully reading them. Students often skim through online sources as well because they expect the answers they are looking for to pop up immediately. In this situation Carr would say that our brains are being rewired from using our own knowledge of reading to find and comprehend the information to using less of our reading skills in order to find and comprehend what we are reading. Carr does a good job in this book explaining what the Internet is doing to our brains. Carr explains in a way that not only makes sense, but allows readers on their own to start thinking critically about all the ways the Internet effects our brains.
MadisonFarmer12 6 months ago
Madison Farmer mpfarmer2@moreheadstate.edu When reading The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, typically I never read books in this genre, but this was quite an interesting read and a book that opened up your mind to some extent. Technology is becoming more and more reliable in the every day setting and people do not even realize this. In the beginning of the book, it was a bit blunt on the standpoint of Internet being way too reliable. I was sure this book was going to just talk about how we need to stop being so reliable on technology and stay away from it when possible, but Nicholas Carr makes the book where you almost have to think. I do agree with Carr when he states that technology IS changing our brains, because even to sit and think of maybe grandparents or even parents, my brain at age 21 is much more advanced with technology far more than theirs is. Carr uses own experiences to try and explain the details of his point and how he even thinks differently now rather than in the past. Internet use to be an accessional use for most people, but it is now a daily routine for almost everybody. The Internet is molding this generation into something that maybe is not as good as everyone wants to say. As a future teacher, I sit and think of what advancements with technology my students will be at even in just a few short years. All in all, Carr did a good job to keep this book well rounded and tell his points on technology. I would recommend this book to someone if they needed information on the positive and negatives of technology, but it may not be a book I would pick up and read for recreation. Definitely a book that makes you think!
EmilyMcLean 6 months ago
Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our Brains is a very eye-opening novel. Carr’s book argues that exposure to too much technology isn’t necessarily helping us; it’s actually almost dumbing us down in a way. While we are busy being entertained with everything that is going on online, we don’t think about how this is really impacting our brains in a negative way. Rather than individuals having to put out effort to research and find things on their own in books, they can simply just type what they are looking for into a search bar and instantly get answers. We have come to rely on the internet for short summaries of readings which has in turn trained out brains to be less able to read and comprehend longer books and novels. It becomes a strenuous task to read, and especially digest lengthier pieces of writing. We have a harder time remembering these things as well. Due to the internet our memory has slowly begin to fade over time. Things that we were once easily remembered are now written down, usually on the internet, and pushed to the back of our brains. Once they are pushed there, we are no longer actively using these memories enough to make ourselves remember them. Printed books are slowly becoming a thing of the past as time goes on. Books are sources of permanent information with words printed on pages that cannot be changed. However when we chose to read articles on the internet instead, we are reading from a source that can be easily changed and manipulated. The internet has slowly began to consume our lives. We now find it near impossible to get away from it. We are constantly on phones, refreshing our emails, and searching the internet. It first began in things like film and radio, then slowly progressed to where it is now: everywhere.
MeganMaynard 6 months ago
"The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. With this being said, I was surprised how much I have learned from it and the different perspective it has given me on technology. I did not realize how the internet and technology affects my brain. During class and other places I cannot have my phone out, I am constantly thinking about to get on my phone and look at social media or text people back. “The computer screen bulldozes our doubts with its bounties and conveniences. It is so much our servant that it would seem churlish to notice that it is also our master. (pg. 4)” In order to understand and fully grasp this quote from the book, it needs to be read a few times. Computers, phones, games, and other technology is such a servant to us that we are constantly thinking about it and wanting to use it which in return, makes it our master. I think everyone can relate to not only this point but many points in this book. Technology is apart of our everyday life. Without it, many people would not know how to function. The next generation is the first generation growing up with advanced technology. They will not know a world without it which means they will be more dependent on it than our generation is. We need to be able to enjoy technology but also be able to separate ourselves from it when we need to. “If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with ‘content,’ we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture.” Technology was not intended to take over our lives and make us dependent upon it. It feels our empty spaces and shapes our minds which is not good for culture. We need diversity and differences within our culture to express and discover new ideas. It is not bad to use technology to your advantage but do not lose yourself within it. “As we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” I highly recommend this book to anyone who is exploring the use of technology and what it can do to our minds.
TrentonFyffe 6 months ago
I want to first start out by saying that this book was very though provoking and in my opinion can show us terrible truths and shocking statistics. I really enjoyed how he takes us back into the history of written communication to tell how to consider the first writings to be “book technology” and how this caused a complete paradigm shift in that time periods culture, and going as far to mention the how the creation of the books produced by Aldus Manutius were pocket sized and how that “just like the miniaturization of the watch made everyone a time keeper, so the miniaturization of the book helped weave reading and books into everyday life. In the next part of the book he starts to talk about prominent people who brought around the idea or in some way contributed the revolutions in computing. Mentioning Alan Turing as the creator of the blueprint of the modern computer. He talks about the way the net has changed over the years talking of how email rendered personal letters obsolete and how the Internet is bidirectional which means we can send and receive information and how computers are just broken down into code. Nicolas Carr also went as far to say “everything from Beethoven’s Ninth to a porn flick can be broken down into ones and zeros, and the processed and displayed or played by a computer. Going on in this book the writing style is very readable. He breaks everything down sometimes with a dry sense of humor and it is easy to comprehend. I had to think about how things in the world would have been different without these technological advances. How would our minds would be changed? I think about this because growing up most of my life I have always had access to some sort of computing device. Whether in school with a graphing calculator, or at home with a game system, laptop, desktop I have always had tech at my disposal. Overall this book makes you think and in that facet alone I believe that is what make a book good.
Caitlin_Matijasic_MSU 6 months ago
I originally read the book “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains” by Nicholas Carr because it was an assigned reading for a class, but after diving into the book I surprisingly started to enjoy it. The book talked a lot about how dependent we have become on the Internet for everyday tasks, it made me realize how true this was. Growing up in this age, for most of my life the Internet was just apart of everyday life, never realizing how much we all depend on the Internet or what it is doing to us. This book made me look at the way we use the Internet and all technology in a different way than I had before. This book made me think about the world and how we keep increasing the dependence we put on the Internet. Carr talks about how he feels that the Internet weakens our brains, and I think he could be right, we have now become so dependent on the Internet some people would not even know how to live without it. In this book not all of the ideas are his own, but he uses other peoples ideas and finds to strengthen his own arguments about the damage that the Internet could be doing to us. Going into education, and learning about all these damages that the Internet could be causing to our brains is concerning. In the classroom there is a growing use of technology and the Internet, and it is important to make sure we are not actually hurting children with more and more usage of the Internet and technology in our classrooms. I do not agree with everything Carr has said throughout the book, but I do think we need to look deeper into the effects of the Internet, and I think that more of our teachers need to be aware of these affects. I think that the use of the Internet can be useful, but as teachers it is our jobs to make sure our students get to their full potential, and this book helps explain that it cannot happen if they are solely dependent on the Internet.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Overall, I consider this to be a thoughtful, well-written book. Generally speaking, it is worth the read and purchase. The subject matter is pertinent to our daily lives as citizens of and participants in the modern age. For us, careful consideration and evaluation of our personal as well as broader cultural involvement with a virtually ubiquitous touchstone like the internet has merit. This volume adds a great deal to that necessary conversation. The quality of the prose in this novel is undeniable. The author is clearly an excellent writer, so the argument contained within the pages of this work is not hampered by the presenter’s inability to properly convey a message, as many similar writings suffer from. Similarly, Nicholas Carr has clearly done his research. This is not, as I have seen suggested elsewhere in critical reviews, a light work. In fact, for a casual volume, it is occasionally dense, lacking a great deal of the mainstream appeal our society now expects from even its academic texts. As the author suggests, this is of course possibly due in part to that society’s dependence on the engagement and variety of the internet itself. In any case, The Shallows has a clear and justified claim to its Pulitzer prize. In spite of the quality of the writing and the argument, I do have a couple of issues with this text. I feel like the author paints a drastic and frequently hyperbolic picture of the dangers of the internet, without giving enough credit where credit is due. Every major communication invention from the printing press to the telephone has had its detractors. In some ways, it seems as though Carr is simply another person railing at the alteration of the fabric of society, clinging to a rose-colored view of the past instead of acknowledging the great benefit innovation brings to people. At the end of the day, this is quite possibly the modern version of Gutenberg’s contemporaries railing at the repercussions of the printing press.
Jillian2026 6 months ago
Jillian Heierman email address- jeheierman@moreheadstate.edu In The Shallows by Nicholas Carr the author states the premise that the internet is destroying our ability to think critically and our ability to remain focused on a topic. He indicates that our thought processes have become shallower and that we tend to gloss over many topics instead of diving deeper into them because of the vast amount of information available on the internet and the speed with which a multitude of items can be investigated. Carr does acknowledge the usefulness of the internet and that it does allow a person to have access to an incredible amount of information an almost any topic, but overall he feels that this is outweighed by the loss of deeper thinking. I believe that there is some merit to Carr’s line of thought. In my own experience I have noticed that I tend to look superficially at many more topics than I have in the past. However, this is not the first time the argument has been made that a technological advance will reduce our ability to think. I have heard people say that television would destroy our ability to think and that we would accept whatever was on television. I imagine that similar arguments were made with the advent of radio and when books became available to the masses because of the printing press. The simple fact is that very few advances have no drawbacks. Television has reduced our physical activity. People have been influenced more by seeing a report instead of just hearing about it or reading about it. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it is not. On the other hand television has provided many opportunities to people to expand their knowledge and to find different avenues of entertainment and overall has been a positive influence on the world. The same is true of the internet. There will be the drawbacks, but when you weigh these against the positives of the amount of information that can be investigated and researched, the internet will be a tremendous benefit to mankind. People do need to examine what they are doing and how it is affecting them. I think people will take the factors discussed by Carr into consideration. However, I do not think that those factors will be the major consideration. The internet is a major technological advance and like the advances before it, people will thrive because of the improvement rather than suffer due to the change.
ElisabethMEDEL_Tech302 6 months ago
“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains” by Nicholas Carr is a very engaging book that explained his view on how addictive the internet is. This book really made an impression on me and opened up my way of thinking on this topic. No one wants to admit how much they crave to use the internet. In this book Nicholas looks into the cognitive mechanisms that involves internet addiction and how it effects a humans brain. The internet is very popular and really causes distractions from everyday life. Before reading this book, I didn’t think to call it an addiction, but after reading this book I could see what Nicholas Carr was talking about. The addiction is surfing the internet and receiving social networking messages. The question “Is Google Making us stupid?” is a question that many people don’t think about when using the internet everyday. Nicholas Carr describes how people become so attached to the internet that it makes it harder for people to pay attention and stay focused. Students already have such a hard time focusing in class, and adding social media and the internet on top of that, causes even more distractions for the students. The overall impression I received from this book was that we are all users of technology and we can not forget to exercise our minds outside of technology. We live in a time period where everything is continuously improving ways to access information with technology. This isn’t the type of book that I normally read, but this book was very interesting and really allowed my mind to wander and see the way the Nicholas Carr sees technology. I may not agree with everything that Nicholas Carr said, but I overall enjoyed this book. Technology allows for students to be aware of all the resources and information available through the internet. As a student in college who grow up with technology, it would be hard to imagine not having technology and not being able to look something up with just the click of a few buttons. I give this book a 4 our of 5 due to all the resources and research that supported Carr's opinion. Would recommend this book.