The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

by Nicholas Carr


$12.76 $15.95 Save 20% Current price is $12.76, Original price is $15.95. You Save 20%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Tuesday, October 23  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details


The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction: “Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”—Michael Agger, Slate
“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: 27,244
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and The Glass Cage, among other books. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Wired. He lives in Boulder, 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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Shallows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 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
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Taya Craft - Morehead State University As bad as I hate to admit it, I spend way more time than I should on the internet. This book is not one I ever would have personally picked out to read, but I’m so glad that I did. Carr brings to our attention how complex our brains truly are and puts a very good perspective on what the internet is truly doing to our brains. In the beginning of the book we start off by wondering why we don’t think like we use to in past years. The internet has given us easier access to information we don’t know for certain. Everything we need to know is right at our fingertips. Carr suggests that this is why our reading skills have become worse each year. Today we have technology to check our spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Rather than having basic knowledge of knowing all of those rules. I still forget how to spell some words and I will use “spell-check” to figure it out. Carr makes the point that, before you would have had to of looked in a dictionary. We’ve given ourselves the image of being “shallow” thinkers, which is the whole point of Carr’s book. Although the internet has made things easier, it has also been making our brain lazier. Carr’s point is that, although the internet is easy and convenient for us, we are causing great damage to our brain. Some examples are that we can’t focus for a long period of time, we stay on our phones and social media all the time and shaping our brains to interact with machines. To strengthen our brain and knowledge, sometimes we shouldn’t take the easy route and we should crack open a dictionary to find the definition of an unknown term. If we keep living like this, so dependent on the internet, what will our future students be like? What will there be to educate them on if they can google it all?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The internet is becoming a major impact on our ability to read and think deeply. In his New York Times Bestseller: The Shallows, Nicholas Carr describes his exploration and beliefs behind what the internet is actually doing to our minds. He focuses on the science, history and cultural factors that make us so attracted to being able to surf the web. Carr also expands his argument into the most credible study of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Something that struck me was when he describes how human thought has been shaped throughout the centuries by "tools of the mind”. These tools are things such as maps, the printing press, the clock, and the computer. This is basically saying that we have become more prone to learning from technology, that soon enough that’s all there will be to teach us. I am a fan of technology by all means. I believe it can improve student learning and has many benefits, but I believe it should not be in complete control over humans. Another segment from the book that caught my attention was how Carr is putting blame on the internet for being the reason we are becoming poorer readers every day. However, he admits to, and somewhat celebrates, being a complete victim of it. My thing is, I don’t understand how the internet has access to so much information, but yet we still are dumbing ourselves down because of how the information is presented. The internet has exposed us to hard-to-find information, specific information, the lives and activities of others (possibly even exact location), and even made it easier for us to access books and other resources. So for me, it’s hard to believe that the internet has access to so much, yet it still isn’t teaching or helping us as well as it should be. It’s actually hurting us. In conclusion, reading this book will teach you more than you even need to know – about the internet, google and the science about how it all is impacting our brains. It’s scary to believe, but well worth the read. Especially if you’re secretly a technology nerd like myself.
EDEL302 More than 1 year ago
Madison Patrick Review on The Shallows In this non-fictional book, The Shallows: What the internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr talks about how internet technology is effecting the human brain. I found that I enjoyed this book but I was a little hesitant in the beginning do to his slow-paced writing style. It was a struggle for me to get interested but as I read on it got easier to read and my interest increased. Reading all the information and research throughout the book really got me thinking about how much we all actually relay on the internet and technology. In the book Carr fears that we are trading valuable skills for a kind of intelligence that is adapting users to their computers. The internet use to be an occasional use for most people, but now it is a daily routine for everyone. Just walking around, you will see everyone has their nose in their phone either on the internet or texting. I agree with Carr when he says that the internet technology is effecting the human brain. Throughout this book Carr explains how the definition of our intelligence is changing, how our brains have a hard time developing human emotions and how a lot of books are online now. This book is not only about how the internet is changing us but how it maybe weakening our skills that make us human. I would suggest reading this book if you are going to be a teacher so you can have an understanding of how the internet can affect us and the kids that we are going to teach.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel by Nicholas Carr is a novel that I was required to read for a class, and I was presently surprised with how much I enjoyed it! Carr’s proposals are compelling, and I have not been able to stop thinking of them each time I “log on”. As an English Education major, I was compelled with his statements covering how reading online is much different than reading on paper. As a millennial, I have constantly witnessed technology be revered as a type of sin. I have heard many times that “they are attached to their phones”, and “that stuff turns your brain into mush”, however, Carr goes about explaining these similar notions in a way that is not only believable, but extremely well thought out and researched. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for answers about the internet, and to anyone who needs a wake-up call.
Peyton_Berryman05 More than 1 year ago
This book is one I chose to read for my class and I have to say I was reluctant at first, but once I started reading it was hard to put it down. His ideas of how the internet is affecting our brains both mentally and in a physical way. I agree with how he says the web is changing us and is continuing to shape generations to come. The more time spent online the more the brain will adjust, just as Carr mentions about how our brains are being rewired to read a different way then what we used to do when we were younger or how we learned to read. Many of the current generations being born are now only being able to books in ways that they read a website online and that is a crazy thought to think about. While reading, I had the thought in my head about how our brains are so dependent on technology and this is a trend that can be seen mostly in the recent generations. With my generation, when we were younger technology was a privilege and something to make our lives more exciting, but now, technology is something we are completely dependent on. Many of us can’t live without our cellphones, our computers, and social media. When technology is taken away, our brains experience a feeling that is similar to withdrawals. Now, it is something that we can’t imagine our lives without. Carr mentions it would now be similar to living in a world without clocks. This is a world that would be nearly impossible to live in now. The Shallows is a wake up call to what technology is really doing to our brains and how unaware we are of what is happening. If you’re looking for a book that will answer your questions about how technology truly does affect our brains, this is the one to read.
Ashley Carpenter More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr was a wonderful, eye-opening read. The book talked about the potential dangerous consequences of society’s widespread use of the Internet. Carr starts off his book by discussing the history of print and how it has affected human’s thought processes and the actual brain itself throughout history. When Carr gets to basis of the book, how the Internet and technology are changing our brains, he makes sure to mention all of the chemical processes that occurs in the brain. Carr discusses about how the readily available information on the Internet is conditioning humans into not being able to think deeply. He also makes sure to put emphasis on how the Web is making modern day humans into ‘shallow thinkers’, hence the title of the book. Carr presents several lines of research from scholar’s journals and ties them all together to cite the potential harmful consequences of widespread Internet use in society. Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. One thing in particular I enjoyed was Carr’s style of writing. I found the book engaging and very insightful, but at the same time, it was comprehensible and clear enough that I did not get lost in the reading. As someone who was raised in the age of technology, I never really noticed just how much I depend on it. My phone, laptop, even some of my college classes- they all stem from technology. Even trying to go 20 minutes without my phone in my pocket proved difficult! This book was a true eye opener for me. Carr took a subject I was not that interested in, or even really cared about, and was able to completely change my mindset and have me glued to each word. What began as a mandatory read for a college class turned into me recommending the book to all my friends and family! Nicholas Carr’s book is a must read for anyone living in modern day’s technological age. In 2018, it is downright dangerous to be lost in the shallows of technology.
BeccaJo97 More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr is a real eye opener. This book covers a lot on what is going on to our society in terms of how we use the internet. My favorite thing about the book is Carr talked about his personal experiences and troubles with the internet and does not make it out like he is perfect in terms of how to use the internet. The amount of information given in this book is a lot to wrap your head around at times and can be a bit confusing if you do not know anything about the brain and how it works. But this book has defiantly sparked an interest in our brains and how they do what they do and more importantly why they do what they do. Reading this book has completely made me more aware of my time spent on my phone and what I am doing when on my phone. I will defiantly be reading more books after this to keep myself away from the phone. It is so hard to not look at your phone, especially if you are a newer generation. We were raised in the age of technology and its all we know. So, breaking that habit can be hard for anyone. There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge and from googling we only gain the information, not the knowledge. The internet has practically rewired out brains to think and act like computers. Part of what makes us human is our ability to deep read. Deep reading requires “sustained, unbroken attention to a single thing”. This deep thinking allows us to be able to think and process things on our own. The internet is making us do the opposite of that. Carr points out that the reason we can’t focus for long periods of time is because of the constant internet and the many “benefits” that have come with the internet. We have so many options when it comes to the internet and the ads only make it worse. Ads are personalized to you and what you have searched and showed interest to on online. Overall the book was a good read and it is something that everyone should read.
PaulS2019MSU More than 1 year ago
“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains”, is a great read about the view point of Nicholas Carr, a very famous writer who shares his insight and view point about the internet. His man argument is his belief that the internet makes our decisions for us, or as he puts it “rewires” our brains. Carr claims that those who use computers have become obsessed and have forgotten the importance of the written words that are displayed in books. Carr believes that the internet has a negative effect on us all. “Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists, educators and Web designers point to the same conclusion: when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning." This book is for those who believe that the internet is the key place to visit for quick information. While Carr makes some pretty bold statements about how he feels the internet has done some bad things, he also tells us that he’s very much into technology and has been for a while. As a reader, I quickly related to his story of having the first Apple computer back in the day. Carr writes, “I’m not sure I could live without technology.” This is a great read for anyone who would like to discover Carr’s opinion, as well as, it has some academic research to support his claims. Carr tells us that he noticed that when doing research for this book, he noticed how it was hard to concentrate. Some studies have even told us that we understand reading less on printed paper. He also claims that learning how to multitask, may lead to “Slower, more contemplative mode of thought.” If you are a history person, or a huge tech fan like myself, you’ll want to dive into this book and hear his opinion.
KirstinKirstinKirstin More than 1 year ago
This book has been a mind opener for me because it has made me question the power of the internet on a person, including myself. I am a strong believer especially after reading this book, that the internet has changed our culture and that it will continue to do so. It made me realize how much time I actually spend using the internet and how much I depend on it because he points out several things towards the beginning of his book about himself. When he was relating towards himself, it made me wonder. This book has made me question many things about society as a whole and how much time they spend using the internet. Concentration is rare now and it’s more common to see people losing their train of thought because of the internet. As Nicholas states in the book, "online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking”, I believe as a future teacher, this is what I want to avoid within my classroom. I want to try to go around this because I believe that students staying on track is important. Nicholas gives us very good descriptions of how the brain works and how our brain works with the use of technology. The internet is creating a lack of attention, comprehension, and a lack of students wanting to focus. Students are so used to technology that whenever they go without it, they are lost in space. At the same time, this book has made me realize the impact of the internet and this technology. This book to me seemed like it got off topic at times and was hard for me to connect some of the points he was getting at and that some parts of this book were very interesting, while at other times parts of the book were kind of sloppy, but overall I feel that it has been a real mind opener as to the power of the internet on an individual and then a society all together. His style was easy to go along with and wasn’t too complex to follow. Nicholas didn’t write the book to discuss all the wrong things with the internet, he added a lot about the good uses of the internet along with all the bad things that it’s doing to our society. I just favored more of the bad things that its doing to us because I’m more opinionated towards the bad points in this book. I would suggest this book to any of my friends because it is a good thought processing example to get people’s minds waking up to their society today and how much technology has impacted us and how it will continue to do so.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, is a slap into the reality of what exactly is going on in our society. This book is just touching the surface of what the internet is doing, not only to him, but to our brains, technology and our society as a whole. Carr does explain what the world was like before the internet and how information was obtained before this time. There was no google search, facebook, youtube, or Wikipedia. During these days, you got the news from TV or the newspaper, information about topics came from things such as the dictionary or research books, and all your communication was either by mail, phone or in person. It was a simpler time to live in before being consumed into this online world, that can do it all; and this is exactly what Carr puts into perspective for us. The more time that Carr is consumed by the internet, the more negative changes he experiences himself. As a young adult, I don’t remember a time before the internet. However, I do myself see how it is consuming the minds of everyone. It seems almost impossible to go a day without seeing half of the individuals you encounter with their phones shoved into their faces. Most use it for communication or entertainment but it is causing a drastic decrease in our face to face human interactions. These devices and internet have consumed people so much that some can’t even part with it when they are driving. I personally don’t use mine while driving, but I have noticed that here lately, exactly how much of my life revolves around the internet. I have become so dependent on social media being my main source of communication because I have so many close people, live so far away or they are busy, as am I. I find myself looking for most answers via google or Wikipedia search, even though I can properly research from books and other things. I find myself very, very dependent on spell-check and auto correct; even though, as a child I was spelling bee champ multiple times. This is the point to where I feel like the internet and technology are an adamant part of my life, especially for school purposes. Working at a daycare, I get to experience first-hand how devices are interfering with parent/child relationships. Most parents come to get their children and they have a phone in their hand or on their ear. The kids come running up to them to hug, kiss, or show them some art/work; but the parents are too consumed with their devices to care. This is concerning to me as a future educator because the children are not getting the attention they need/deserve; as I am sure this same behavior goes on at home. So, is the internet and our devices worth taking the attention from the important aspects in our lives? Are we too far consumed by the black hole that is the internet, for us to turn back now? If this is our lives now, what does the future hold for us? I feel that if we remain to be consumed by technology for interaction, we will become nothing more than helpless to its advances. It will look something like the population from the Disney Pixar Movie, Wall-E. Technology will overrun us, and we will rely on the internet for all human interactions.
AlishaMaschino More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Carr discusses the influence the internet has on society, our brains, and the way people think in general. To really establish his ideas he provides background information on neuroplasticity and the way our brains and thoughts can be rewired from making a habit out of anything. Nicholas Carr goes into detail on the ways the internet has made us impatient, constantly needing connections from the web, and answers/stimulation almost every second. Carr provided a very interesting take on a vast amount of technology over the years and the way each progression changed our minds. From the once patient, concentrated, critical thinkers of the past, we have become impatient, and maybe even impulsive, constantly expecting something at the tip of a finger instead of spending time on something. Before, most information we gathered was from books and newspapers, now most of our reading is done from screens. I really liked the way Carr went into detail on the way a multitude of technology has changed our brains and didn't just talk about the internet. This widespread new era of thinking has happened before in different technological aspects. I also liked the way Carr talked about the internet as a confusing jumble of information, because it is often. Reading is a much more concentrated way to receive information. In addition, I found the writing style of the author to be very easy to follow. Carr kept adding in new details and he often switched from present day to the past which kept the reader hooked into the information. Carr had me deeply considering the way technology has impacted me over the years, what technology described I had in my younger years and the ways I think and process information differently than I used to. I would recommend this book to anyone currently in the world of social media. Most people follow blindly and do not consider the ways in which the internet in their hands changes their brains and lives. Also, I was particularly interested in the way Carr talked about written books and the E-books of today. I have never enjoyed reading from a screen and have always preferred the comfort of a book. Carr talked previously about the way new technology never has no effect on the old technology. This made me think about a life without written books, which is unimaginable and sounds in no way like an advancement to me. I hope to never see that in my life time.
AshleyRBlanton More than 1 year ago
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr is a book everyone needs to read. This book can really make you think about the effects technology and the internet has on humans. I agree that we are dazed with the amount of stimuli. Kids and adults seem to be consumed in this world of constantly having to be occupied with technology. A lot of parents make this worse by giving kids a phone or iPad to keep them quiet. We are also losing valuable skills. There has also been an increasing amount of technology in the classroom. Even worse, most people communications skills are declining. One of the biggest thing I took from this book was the change in intelligence after the Industrial Revolution. Before then intelligence was defined as being able to concentrate and solve intricate problems. Now that we have all this technology that has changed. Now it is about how much you can multitask. This makes the mind less beneficial. It is more prevent now that it is harder for kids to focus. This will eventually lead to frustration and low self-esteem. Technology is changing quicker every day. New technology is being developed at such a rate that it’s hard to keep up. Technology has made people impatient. People now expect to search for something and it be right in their face. Carr makes great points that the brain is not capable of handling how the internet is designed and used. It contains a wide mass amount of information. We continue to increasingly rely on the internet and the mass amount of information it provides. It is hard to understand just how much the brain it capable of changing until studies are done. Carr make valid points throughout the book that the internet is changing the brain. He provides this information from several studies. The thought process along with the structural of the brain is being changed. The internet and how humans are consumed with it will only worsen. This book is a warning that we are trading in our subtle human emotions and skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently read the shallows by Nicholas Carr, and found the main point of his book to be true. In Nicholas’s book he focuses on the research of how the internet can affect neuroscience. Carr believes that, the internet causes us to lose our ability to pay attention to one particular thing, over a prolonged period of time. This is especially true when we engage in things like reading a long book, long conversations-without constantly checking our phones, and any type of thought process that requires us to focus. When we are on the internet it is strengthening the parts of our brain that are good at multi-tasking and shifting focus. While the internet is not strengthening the parts of our brain that are involved in deep concentration, contemplation, and reflection. Therefore, what we use gets stronger, and what we don’t gets weaker. This reminds me of a quote from the book “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr: “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Reading this book makes you ask yourself this question “have our brains been acting differently, as a result of the time we’ve been spending on the internet?” When I asked myself this question I found that yes, the internet has made me think differently. I found this to be true while I was reading, The Shallows. While I was reading the book, I found I wanted to try to complete other tasks and my mind would shift from one thing to the next. I am a college student, which means I am on the internet most of the day. This made me realize, I must be exercising the part of my brain that is good at multi-tasking and shifting focus. While I am weakening the part of my brain that is good at focusing and being engaged. This book helped me to realize, that like anything else the internet is good in moderation.
Andraya Flannery More than 1 year ago
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr is an eye-opening read. Carr describes his experience as he realizes his brain is changing as a result of the internet and technology. “But my brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting. It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it—and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became” he says. He was beginning to miss his old brain. In the early parts of the book, Carr takes us on a trip through time as we get a glimpse of the beginnings of technology from early clay tablets, papyrus, and scrolls, to the first “book” made by binding the “pages” together which proved more efficient than the scroll. Carr describes how the Internet is changing our brain. He explains that the Internet is a very mind-altering tool, and how easy it is to become “oblivious” to the things happening around us. “When we’re online, we’re often oblivious to everything else going on around us. The real world recedes as we process the flood of symbols and stimuli coming through our devices.” It is statements like this throughout the book that will open eyes and make you think about your own life. Are we spending too much time on the Net? What are we missing in the real world while we are all so consumed with our devices and the web? Carr also explains that daily use of computers and other devices will stimulate change in neurotransmitter release in our brain which will strengthen new pathways over time, but old ones will be weakened. We are getting reliant on being able to “google” something when we need to know the answer to a question. As a result, we are committing less and less to our own memory. “When we outsource our memory to a machine, we also outsource a very important part of our intellect and even our identity.” Carr explains in more detail how the Internet does indeed affect our brain. He makes the reader question what they have learned, and what they know by revealing many ideas and research findings as well as thoughts from his experience. Your journey with him through his words will make you wonder if the Internet is really worth so much of your time. Without the knowledge of what the internet is doing to our brains, we may be letting it alter our way of thinking, and our way of life and we may not even realize it.