The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

by Nicholas Carr

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Overview

“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 find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.

Building on the insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a convincing case that every information technology carries an intellectual ethic—a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. He explains how the printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast, the Internet encourages the rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources. Its ethic is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimized production and consumption—and now the Net is remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, but what we are losing is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection.

Part intellectual history, part popular science, and part cultural criticism, The Shallows sparkles with memorable vignettes—Friedrich Nietzsche wrestling with a typewriter, Sigmund Freud dissecting the brains of sea creatures, Nathaniel Hawthorne contemplating the thunderous approach of a steam locomotive—even as it plumbs profound questions about the state of our modern psyche. This is a book that will forever alter the way we think about media and our minds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393339758
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/06/2011
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 19,496
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Carr is the best-selling author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Big Switch, and Does IT Matter? His articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and The New Republic. He has been writer-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, and an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. He lives in Colorado.

What People are Saying About This

Jonathan Safran Foer

The best book I read last year — and by “best” I really just mean the book that made the strongest impression on me — was The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. Like most people, I had some strong intuitions about how my life and the world have been changing in response to the Internet. But I could neither put those intuitions into an argument, nor be sure that they had any basis in the first place. Carr persuasively — and with great subtlety and beauty — makes the case that it is not only the content of our thoughts that are radically altered by phones and computers, but the structure of our brains — our ability to have certain kinds of thoughts and experiences. And the kinds of thoughts and experiences at stake are those that have defined our humanity. Carr is not a proselytizer, and he is no techno-troglodyte. He is a profoundly sharp thinker and writer — equal parts journalist, psychologist, popular science writer, and philosopher. I have not only given this book to numerous friends, I actually changed my life in response to it.

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Shallows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 199 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!
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.
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
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. 
P_Money More than 1 year ago
What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for nonfiction books shares an idea that is completely universal to the way in which most adults over the age of sixty five think. That specific idea is that reading online whether that be smartphone, tablet, computer etc. is less effective when it comes to memorizing information as the classical reading of a tangible source such as a hardback book or sheet of paper. The reason most adults of that age think that way is because they grew up in a generation that did not have the luxurious technology that us lucky citizens get to have today. Carr spoke about the effects that reading a tangible hardback book or written piece does for the human brain. He talked about how the more children read (tangible written work) when they are younger it allows them to read with less mental strain the further through life that they go. Getting lost into pages, also known as “deep reading”, helps the brain focus on what is in front of you and prepares for linear thinking. Linear thinking opens up a gate for the individual to connect to the book rather than a group which is mainly the case when it comes to technology. Although Carr believes that tangible hardback reading is better for oneself compared to reading intangible material such as on a smartphone, tablet, computer etc. he is not oblivious to the fact that tangible copies such print are times of the past. With that being said, Carr acknowledges that there are advantages to technology and they can even outweigh the downfall to it. Adjustments must be made such as using it in our favor. For example, using the media to get information at our fingertips can be very convenient but he also combats that with the point that if we rely solely on the technology we will have lost our bread and butter so to speak of getting our brains to function at the top of its ability- which they do so when reading tangible hardcopies is a part of our culture.
CassidyFultz More than 1 year ago
m1141053@moreheadstate.edu While reading this book I found myself questioning why the author, Nicholas Carr, would be going into such depth about so many topics that didn’t seem to relate back to technology. It wasn’t until about half way though the book where everything started merging together and making sense. All of what he discusses in this book does have a purpose even though it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. Carr seems to have done extensive research for this book. The discussion of scrolls, the printing press, our brain dynamics, and so on were explained in great detail. Not only a generalized discussion but a full analysis on why and how certain things affect our brains the way they do. He goes into even more detail about our ever so changing mind and the rewiring that can take place without us ever being aware of it. Carr is concerned that the age of technology put a stop to our literary minds. This concern stems from him noticing a steady but dramatic change in the way he thinks. This is not a book to scare people away from the internet. It is more about the consequences we are facing. Carr focuses more on what we are losing from the internet than what we are gaining. This book made me think about my own life. Was my brain really morphed into these different neurological pathways or was it already built like this since I was born into technology. The generations without technology had to read books to learn while mine type their questions into google and receive answers within seconds. Are our brains really not retaining knowledge like they used to? It would seem that way and it would also make a lot of sense after reading this book. I’m not going to lie, if you are not typically an informational book reader, this may not be the book for you. It is much more suited to those who read nonfiction books to gain knowledge or to become more informed. Especially those interested in the psychology of our brains.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Hurst skhust@moreheadstate.edu The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains written by Nicholas Carr claims that the Internet has changed human’s brains and habits to act like machinery or a computer. It also discusses the consequences of such a change in our behaviors and habits. Carr philosophically questions the future of the Internet and computers, history of written text, and computing while bringing together research and studies on the subject. These sets of studies and research make the questions Carr is asking not seem so far-reaching and impossible. He also discusses science’s ideas of how the brain functions and changes. While he questions these and more, however, he never delivers an answer to such questions instead he leaves it up to the reader to decide for themselves whether the impact of computers and the Internet is a positive one or not. Personally, I believe that some of Carr’s claims aren’t as far reaching as some might think. We, as a society, have changed since the introduction of the Internet. Humans are more seeking of instant gratification than they were many years ago. I believe this is just one example of the way the Internet has at least changed our daily habits as well as the way we find and perceive information. While I believe that this is true, I do not believe that it effects human’s ability to think deeply as Carr suggests. Overall, I can agree with some of Carr’s claims, but I also do not agree with others. I can see how the way the Internet changes our thought processes and habits can be both dangerous and beneficial.
AlexisMaynard More than 1 year ago
The author of “The Shallows” did an excellent job touching on the positives and negatives that come from technology. He also discusses how it impact our society and most importantly our own brains. Technology has made great advancements throughout its time in society and it is improving every day. Technology gives us all the ability to access information right in our fingertips and with the push of a button. The author, Nicholas Carr, describes how this easy access has hurt us in the process of learning. The fact that we can get information so easy has caused us to lose the ability to read and analyze for deeper meaning. Why would we take the time to dig for a deeper meaning when we can simply google it. Our reliance on technology has caused our brains to rewire in a negative way. It has created such a distraction that our deep thinking skills are disappearing. I personally relate to this. I never sit and think about the deeper meaning of any information, I simply look it up. This is exactly what Carr says hurts our ability to think deeper. Even though a lot of the book discusses the negative effects of technology, he also recognizes that technology can be beneficial. The idea that Carr is trying to convey is simple. If technology is used for the correct reason, it can be extremely beneficial. If we continue to use it the way we are, it will continue to hurt our brain and all of us, as a society. I do not believe that this was a book I would choose to read for fun, but it was definitely an interesting read for my technology class. Overall the book was a major eye opener for myself as an user of technology. While it can be beneficial there are also many negatives for the use of technology, and if as users we do not pay attention to them, we can lose our ability to think as humans.
SaraRobinson More than 1 year ago
I found this book intriguing and very thoughtful! While I enjoy some facets technology, I am worried as to how we, as a society, are using it. This book really put a lot into perspective. We have let technology weave itself in to the fabrics of our society, becoming something that we depend on for way too much. We solely rely on technology for most things and don’t know what to do without it. The worst thing you can do to a child or teenager is take away their phone or tablet, as if it were such an integral part of their being that being separated from it is like losing a limb. I have a niece who has a phone and a tablet and a television in her room, she is eight years old. She spends the majority of her time watching videos, rather than getting outside and experiencing those things for herself she is watching someone else do it. I think this book hits on topics that we may not generally think about, but once you read these it will really have you reevaluating the presence technology has in your life. I have recommended this book to many people. I believe as a society we need to evaluate the presence we let technology play in our lives. This book helps that evaluation. In the Book, The Shallows, the author writes about how society is constantly using technology and how it is actually rewiring our brains. Technology has been a great advancement for us but also at the same time there are some consequences that coincide with it. This book does a great job at navigating the benefits but also how it harms us. It goes into detail about how the internet and technology has molded our brain, changing the way it processes and essentially how it works. Everything is one click of a button away, so why should we intently focus on things or read deeply for the meaning? Why look something up in a book or find it out yourself when you can just look it up with just a click of a button? When you get on the internet anything you need to know is on there. Many people rely on technology for everything. The author explains that technology is generally a good thing and is a good advancement in our society, but the way we are using it is not beneficial for us. The Shallows book is a great read and will most definitely have you questioning if technology is really as great as we believe or if it is creating and molding us into something that we don’t want to be.
Jesse-W More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows has been very eye opening for me. He tried to explain to us how the internet impacts all of our lives and our minds. In the book Carr discusses the technological advances within our society, such as cellular devices and search engines. However, he also discusses such things as co-dependency with technology, and the damage that technology has caused by the way that technology has influenced our lives throughout history. While I was reading the book, it made me think of complex concepts, especially when it comes to the internet and the way we utilize our minds through the interaction of technology, instead of simply utilizing critical thinking instead to justify the answers to specific questions I also enjoyed the more “on the fence”, approach that the author decided to take while writing the book, at least this is how I took it over the course of the reading. This is shown through the example that the internet is not all that bad. With that being said, I felt that the book was in a way depressing to some extent based on what I had reviewed earlier. That we as users of technology cannot separate ourselves from technology, hence the title of the book. The same could also be said to the thinking that we do as well, and the questions we ask ourselves such as, do we care about what we learn and how we learn it? I believe overall that the book gave us an in depth look at what we have and also makes us think of how shallow we are as a society when it comes to technology, versus the since of stepping away from technology in general. The story leaves us with questions, arguments and debates on whether or not we all can agree with Carrs consensus of the book. Either way change is and will always happen especially with technology as we have seen also in the contexts of cars book The Shallows.
Logan_Holbrook2 More than 1 year ago
Internet & Intelligence Logan Holbrook Lmholbrook2@moreheadstate.edu Within the book, The Shallows Nicholas Carr discusses how the Internet is impacting society’s ability to critically and deeply think and understand basic ideas and concepts. He more specifically writes on how we are stimulated by too many sources of technology in order to give us a sort of sense of connectivity with people and society. He begins with a prologue and a backstory which supports his point. His point beginning with that, there are two types on intelligence. There is the intelligence that is often associated with literature that is physically printed and there is a newer definition of intelligence relating to the use of the Internet. The first mentioned intelligence takes regard of human’s ability to have a “literary mind.” He defines this as a mind with the capability of sitting and reading as well as solving complex issues. He believes the Internet is harming our ability to do this. He claims due to, studies, scientific concepts, and brain science, that not only is our brain changing in thought processes but also via anatomical changes. One specific quote that received my attention was within page 220 in Chapter Ten, Carr states that, “It’s not only deep thinking that requires a calm, attentive mind.” He goes onto explain how psychologists have been analyzing empathy and compassion and the sources of humans and their nobler instincts. The scientists and their studies found that distractions make it more difficult for humans to actually feel empathy and compassion as well as other emotions. With things happening quickly around us, physical pain will register quickly while emotional is slower to comprehend for your brain. Thus, making distractions slow it down even more. In conclusion, in this book, written by Carr, he indulges into why the Internet is not beneficial to society and their intelligence as well as actual feelings and emotions and how it can in fact change our brain anatomically as well.
lgmcnabb More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr is a book that everyone who has a cell phone, computer, tablet, or even an iPod should read at least once. Through various researchers and scholars, Carr tells the readers, exactly “what the internet is doing to our brains”. This book was very eye-opening to me because it raises concerns that I never would have thought of on my own. Growing up in the “digital age”, technology is all I’ve ever known. I can’t remember a world without some sort of new gadget or technology, and I don’t think I’d even be able to imagine a world without it. I never thought it would ever have any sort of downfall. The whole entire world has always been at our fingertips and because of this most of the people my age are solely dependent on their cell phones and computers. Technology has helped us make great strides in the world- we are able to speak to people we have never met, see photos of places we have never been, and learn about things that we have never even heard of. Because of this, there have never been any questions raised from my generation. We don’t think about a world before it or a world after it because of the wonderful things the internet and technology has done. We understand that with this technology, we are always seconds away from stimulation. This is one of points Carr makes- we are overwhelmed with stimuli. Again, to me, this is all I’ve ever known. From reading this book, I realized what an effect, both good and bad, that technology and the internet has on everyone. It is changing the way we communicate with one another. To me, this is so vital for those like me, who have grown up with nothing but technology.
Linda_Frazier More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains By: Linda Frazier Email: lbfrazier@moreheadstate.edu Socrates started what may have been the first technology scare, which was the invention of lamented books. He warned new readers that they were blindly trusting in external written characters and that the library was ruining their mind. In turn, the printing press only made this issue worse, by making a triggering outbreak of the vast chaos and confusion of books. Then came radio and television that poisoned the mind with passive pleasure, which turned children away from reading books. In “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” the technology writer Nicholas Carr extends this phenomenon to the 21st century. Carr begins the book with how the mind functions as if it were a fictional computer. He even had thoughts or feeling as if someone is messing with his brain, in terms of reprogramming his memory in a way that could change his life forever. He even argues that we are sabotaging ourselves with the thought that the superficiality of the internet can be traded for life as we know it. The internet is trying to make us feel as though it is more difficult to engage with complex ideas or difficult texts. I must ask myself says Carr, “Is Google making us feel stupid?” As Carr takes a deeper look into things and concepts, he begins to understand how the internet works, in response to how useful it is and can be. The internet provides us with an array of information that can be used anywhere, which also gives us access globally. Nevertheless, Carr looks at the negative affects that the internet can have, although it carefully outweighs its efficiencies. Why is it that we live in a world that provides for everything, but when searched, we all end up reading the same thing? It makes you wonder, what is really going on with our technology in our brains today? We are brainwashed into thinking that the worldwide web can provide all that we need, yet we are still searching for unforeseen answers. Also, we live in a world where we constantly enjoy the pleasure of new information, providing us with the temptation that is impossible to resist. Our brain is constantly being shaped by experience, in that the internet is changing our brains. For instance, video games or even games like Tetris can lead to the marked increase in the speed of information processing. Just within a few days of playing videos games getting your mind to think in ways that involves your brain to think strategically, you will be able to see drastic increases in your attention and memory. No matter what we do, our minds are always processing some type of useful information, whether it be a dramatic increase or decrease. Carr begins to make an argument that as we search the web, it leads to increased activity as compared to reading a book and having selective attention on what your brain wants to process. We as humans pick and choose what we pay more attention to and what we feel as though is more important.
MSU_MayEDEL302 More than 1 year ago
Overall, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr is a useful, informative read, with heavy relevance to today’s technology-based world; I found that relevancy to be one of the strongest aspects of this book. Personally, the topic of this book was extremely interesting to me. It is evident to see that people of all generations are profoundly affected by the existence of the Internet; however, I had never understood the science behind it, nor thought about the extent of our dependency. It is an especially great read for millennials, like myself, in that it is relevant to our lives, as we have grown up far more dependent on technology than the generations before us. I do feel that this book was very long and drawn out. All of the pertinent information could have easily been condensed into a hundred or so pages, and it still would have proven effective at stating its point. Though I enjoyed the overall topic, I did find myself getting bored at times, due to the author’s particular language usage in this book. It is definitely more geared toward adults, as opposed to young adults and adolescents. I feel those with some college education would get the most out of this book, due to the vocabulary, scientific references, and overall writing style of the author, but it wouldn’t be a necessity. Still yet, I do feel that this book has changed the way I think about my smart phone, at least to some degree. I never realized something so seemingly harmless could be powerful enough to literally change the way our brains operate. This book has been an eye-opener for me! Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who uses the internet daily and has an appreciation for reading. Otherwise, the majority of this information could likely be found summarized in a shorter article or publication; after all, that’s what our brains are wired to look for now, anyway!
Heather_may More than 1 year ago
Overall, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr is a useful, informative read, with heavy relevance to today’s technology-based world; I found that relevancy to be one of the strongest aspects of this book. Personally, the topic of this book was extremely interesting to me. It is evident to see that people of all generations are profoundly affected by the existence of the Internet; however, I had never understood the science behind it, nor thought about the extent of our dependency. It is an especially great read for millennials, like myself, in that it is relevant to our lives, as we have grown up far more dependent on technology than the generations before us. I do feel that this book was very long and drawn out. All of the pertinent information could have easily been condensed into a hundred or so pages, and it still would have proven effective at stating its point. Though I enjoyed the overall topic, I did find myself getting bored at times, due to the author’s particular language usage in this book. It is definitely more geared toward adults, as opposed to young adults and adolescents. I feel those with some college education would get the most out of this book, due to the vocabulary, scientific references, and overall writing style of the author, but it wouldn’t be a necessity. Still yet, I do feel that this book has changed the way I think about my smart phone, at least to some degree. I never realized something so seemingly harmless could be powerful enough to literally change the way our brains operate. This book has been an eye-opener for me! Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who uses the internet daily and has an appreciation for reading. Otherwise, the majority of this information could likely be found summarized in a shorter article or publication; after all, that’s what our brains are wired to look for now, anyway!
CandiceCooper More than 1 year ago
Carr, Nicholas G. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. W.W. Norton, 2011. The Shallows by Nicholas Carr should have been titled everything that has changed our brains. I don’t agree with all that this book says, I think there is truth in some of it but not all of it. The book takes six chapters and discusses many important people and their thoughts and experiments on and our brains in general and specifically our brains. This book takes readers on a journey through thousands of years and many changes in technology and communication and their effects on human brain performance. Another chapter covers Google from start to present day, only about two chapters discuss the internet and the effect on human brain function which is the point behind the book. The information is convincing that caution needs to be taken when using the internet and allowing children to use the internet. The experts used in the book are well respected in their own fields of study and make great points and statements about the plasticity of the brain. The possibilities stated are almost doomsday level, that if you use the internet you are going to eventually be incapable of deep meaningful thought. People will become shallow thinkers that will be incapable of creative or original thought if they continue to use the internet. Yet I use the internet every day and once I made it halfway through this book I had little trouble finishing it in one sitting. I found this book very hard to read it was one fact after another, one person’s thoughts after another with very little story by the author in-between them. The whole point of the book is that the many distractions of the internet will make people shallow thinkers. I know very little about brain cells and how they change and re-purpose themselves throughout human life. However, I find it hard to believe that the internet could do this much damage to the thought processes of humans when there always seems to be something to think about. Yes, I think the internet can change the way our brains store information I just don’t see it getting as bad as Carr predicts.
MadisonPurvis-MSU More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains EDEL-302 This is one of the most thought-provoking and pleasantly informational texts that I have read. Using official studies, scientific concepts, and brain science, Carr gives a warning about how the Internet impacts not only our thinking, but creates changes in the structure of the brain itself. Even with all this information, Carr creates a short and enjoyable read that really opens your eyes to what has become normal in the 21st century. Despite it taking awhile to get deep into the main topic, I was pleasantly surprised by how this book captured my interest. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is able to read it, since we are all influenced by the Internet one way or another. Moreover, this might be the book for you if you have concerns on how we use the internet and how much we use the internet. It really gets you thinking about how technology affects you personally, and you might even identify with some characteristics that Carr describes, such as having a decrease in your ability to concentrate. I appreciate that for his more philosophical questions, Carr allows the reader to think about them and process them on their own instead of giving a one-sided answer. Another praise for this book is that it did not seem fear-mongering, as this is something at I often see when people talk about technology (specifically the Internet). Instead, Carr presented facts and sound arguments. By the title, it may seem like Carr has deemed the Internet and technology as something that has ruined humans and has put us in the darkness of the “shallows” forever. However, it is important to note that Carr does not make the Internet seem like a terrible, life-ruining advancement; he certainly acknowledges the benefits it holds. He simply believes that we, as humans, are not using the Internet/technology the way that we should. Overall, this is a very interesting read that will make you take a deep look at yourself and examine how the Internet has changed your ways of thinking over the course of your life.
AlexisFugate More than 1 year ago
In the Book, The Shallows, the author wrote about how today in society humans are constantly on technology and how it is rewiring our brains. Using technology is a great advancement for our society but also at the same time it has its downfalls. This book does a great job at analyzing how technology benefits us but also how it has it negatives. It goes into detail about how the internet and technology has molded our brain and continues to do so. It’s taken away meaning for reading and people’s ability to intently focus on things. After all, everything is one click of a button away, so why should we intently focus on things or read deeply for the meaning? When you get on the internet anything you need to know is on there. Many people rely on this now for everything. Essentially the internet takes away from us having to read for meaning and obtain the information. Instead we can just look it up quick, scan it over, and then go back to it again if we need to. The information is always there for us and remembering it really doesn’t benefit to us anymore. The book shows how the author wants us to use technology in a way that it will benefit us instead of hurting us. If we used technology for things that we needed it for and not for every little thing we do everyday it would have a different impact on us. The author prevails that technology is great and is a great advancement in the society but we aren’t using it for how he believes it was meant to be used. It makes you think about how technology has impacted you in your own life. I know personally when reading this book I started thinking about how much I use my cell phone everyday and how I use it to look up things and even for reading. In addition to the point the author made about reading for meaning and just scanning I have noticed myself that when I try to read a chapter book in its physical form and not on technology it is hard for me to set still and it takes me longer to focus to be able to acquire the meaning. The Shallows book is a great read and will most definitely have you questioning if technology is really benefiting us as humans or if it potentially could be molding us into something we should be worried about.