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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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: 41,815
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.

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Shallows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 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. 
R_Neace 4 months ago
Reading The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr, was almost an unbearable task. It was required by my professor for an Education course that I was completing. I have to admit that I had not sat down and read a book, for pleasure or otherwise, in quite some time, so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this assignment. After just a few pages, I started to struggle tremendously with staying on point, my head started hurting a few more minutes later, I started to get distracted by everything that was going on in my house around me, and I just couldn’t focus on this book… Thankfully, I locked myself, alone, in my bedroom with nothing but this book and I finally made it through the prologue. After that point, I was hooked on the content, although I still struggled with the medium because brains change quickly, but not that quickly. Luckily the content was enticing enough for me to keep struggling. All of the feelings and reactions that I was experiencing might not have been strictly my doing, because generally in the past I love to read any type of story. As Carr suggests in this page-turner, my brain over a short span of time might have changed based on the medium that I use to pursue information and the way that the medium alters my brain based on those experiences. If I had made it a point to read frequently, then I probably would have had no difficulty with this book because as it stands, the author presents the information in an intelligent, thought-provoking, and interesting manner. However, as a result of using a new medium (the Internet) and all of its vast volumes of information, my brain (along with the masses) has digressed from reading long passages and seeking deeper thinking, to experiencing and processing information in short bursts through hyperlinked, rapidly changing pages, while multi-tasking my way through the World Wide Web, seemingly retaining little, because I now process information superficially. Carr walks us through the brain plasticity research, the history of various categories of mediums, their impacts on society, and how our brains are altered with a new mediums’ introduction into society, from the alphabet to the Internet. He suggests that there always seems to be a counterculture to those of us who strictly embrace the alterations to our culture, society, and to ourselves. But at the end of the day, Carr does acknowledge that despite numerous attempts to shed light on the fact that as our world is altered, so are we, yet society seems more and more willing to wade instead of sail.
lschellhaas 4 months ago
Review of Carr’s The Shallows- Interesting and Informative Read! Author Nicholas Carr leaves his readers with a decision to be made regarding the role technology plays (or will play) in our lives. It is apparent that our lifestyles have changed drastically with the rise of social media and other digital advancements, but this book argues that the impact on our mental capabilities should be very worrisome. Although studies have shown that the human brain can adapt even as we carry into adulthood, we have been falling victim to the somewhat limited operations of the technological devices we use daily. In other words, the way in which we think is changing from a deeply reflective and critical-thinking mode into a fast-paced and jumbled region of minimal creativity and problem-solving (hence the title). Whereas computers, phones, and other devices have a storage capacity, our minds do not; still, we prefer to leave any function of memory with our devices in the “cloud.” As a teacher at a school operating under a 1:1 iPad Initiative program, I could hear my students’ comments of, “Why do I need to know or memorize this when I can find the answer on my iPad?” echoing through parts of this book. I actually would love to have them read a few paragraphs from this book that discuss how the distracting hyperlinks on current webpages affect retention of material. Carr references studies supporting the notion that our ways of thinking are beginning to mimic those of the internet- accessing tons of information in short periods of time with no to minimal reflection of findings, leaving the functions of our brains unworked and thus weakened overtime. As a high school math teacher, I have a tough time incorporating technology into my classroom primarily because I have yet to find sufficient apps that reinforce the covered content. My students only use their IPads to take notes, lessening the load they carry in between classes. After reading this book, I have mixed emotions about the overall use of technology in education. I believe it improves visual processing and multitasking abilities and expands opportunities for finding information in various subjects, as well as how it can be presented to better attract students, but I also think it depreciates critical thinking components that challenge students to consider what is beyond the words staring back at them on their screen(s). While Carr attempts to relate to the reader by discussing his constantly updating email system and participation in blogs and other social media sites, he ultimately is trying to make the reader aware of the many negative side effects technology is having on our innate abilities to think deeply and creatively so that we can continue to improve society and the conditions in which we live, like our ancestors did during their time. Although I focused on my career within my reflection, the side effects carry into our recreational lives, meaning anyone would benefit from this read.
Taylorbcurry0031 8 months ago
Internet: Shaping Us as Humans Taylor Curry The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr is a book I would never picked up and read on my own. It was an assignment for one of my college courses and I’m glad I got the chance to think about what the internet is doing to our generation and the way we function. Carr explains the disadvantages of “the greatest thing since sliced bread” as some would say. He explores not only what it’s doing to us on the outside but also what it’s doing to us mentally in our brains. Before reading this book I never thought about what technology does to our minds and how complex our brains really are. We only think about the convenience of the Internet, we don’t think about what having that convenience does to us. Having access to everything literally right at our fingertips has taken a toll on our ability to have deep intellectual thoughts, and to pick up a book and research and interpret things for ourselves. Backing up what Carr lays out for us in a wonderfully thought out argument I know I do not use my brain and its functions to its full potential. If I have a question I just use Google for the answer, when I type papers I use Word to check my grammar and spelling errors, I always have my phone on hand, and the only time I’m not using some form of technology during the day is when I’m asleep. Carr dives into the negatives of technology. My grandparents do not use internet or cell phones at their house. They only have a landline and local television. When I go and stay there I feel like I am disconnected from everyone and everything. I know now from the insight the Carr gives that that’s the way my brain processes things now. Because of the overexposure to the Internet my brain is programmed to feel distant from everything if I am not connected to my social media accounts and have access to everything at hand. In conclusion, this book was an excellent read. I will recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t think we are being shaped by the Internet. It’s changing our generations and generations to come. As a future teacher I want to make sure I use technology in my classroom only when needed. Also, as someone who uses the Internet way more than I should I will think twice before picking up my phone and just Googling the answer.
JacqulynG 8 months ago
This book was a brilliant take on what the internet is truly doing to our brains and the way that we think. It incorporated many different people’s perspectives of how the internet has changed the way they think, communicate with others, and go about their daily lives. Carr, along with many others discussed how by having hyper-links and other resources on the internet, we have subconsciously become impatient when it comes to finding information from different sources. The story that I found the most interesting was from the scholar that grew with technology throughout the years. He went from the first Macintosh he spent tons of money on to finding his way into twenty-first century technology such as modern laptops and cellphones. It puts into perspective how far technology has truly advanced over the years. Carr uses his thoughts and other journals to express in many different ways how the internet has changed their lives, dating back to scientists and writers in the nineteenth century with the first type-writers. I feel as this book could have used more perspective from this generation, this would give insight into the thoughts of individuals who have grown up in the technology generation just as I have. I believe that Carr’s writing style is readable for all audiences and not just for technology savvy intellectuals. This book made me realize just how much time that everyone spends on the internet; as stated in the book I’m guilty of moving from social media to social media continuously throughout my day. Overall I believe that technology has improved our way of life but in exchange for our patience and attention span. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for an eye opener on what our generation is perpetually blind to now.
Kasey_Swails 9 months ago
The Shallows by Nicholas Carr explored the phenomenon that our thoughts and our mental processes are be restructured by the internet. The insight that he gives throughout the book is essential to understand how our brains and the way we are conditioned to think is changing. While many people may believe that Carr is concluding that the internet is an unnecessary evil that is only used to corrupt our minds, I believe he is simply clarifying the sacrifices we make by using the internet in the way we do, and he is advocating that we take into consideration those losses along with the benefits that the internet provides us with. I found this book very ironic because you become a little bored when reading about the internet’s effect on your attention span, which I believe Carr did to prove a point. I also find this review a little ironic because we are using the internet to discuss how people need to stop using the internet so much. Despite the title of the book, The Shallows was not written to completely bash the internet, but instead to get people to look around and see how digital media is reshaping and rewiring the way we think. It is important to draw the line when using the internet so it does not completely consume us and reshape everyone to think the same way. This book has helped me realize how much the internet has ruined creativity and prevented people to think for themselves. It is time that we step away from the internet and remember we are unique individuals, not robots. I think everyone should read this book because it is an eye opener and discusses the ugly truth about the world we live in. After reading this book I have realized how much I do rely on the internet to do my thinking and allowing the internet to do my thinking for me has hindered my ability to make decisions for myself. I am glad that I read this book and will be more aware of my usage of the internet.
katephillips 9 months ago
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains is a book written by Nicholas Carr where he goes in depth about how our brains operate along with how the Internet can affect our process of thinking and concentrating. Throughout the book, he tries to come up with a basic understanding of why the Internet can change our ways of thinking. Because the Internet is something we use often, our brains begin to rely on the machine to think for us without realizing it. Nicholas Carr believes that as life goes on, we are becoming more dependent on the Internet and he backs his beliefs up with credible evidence. Overall, I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the book to begin reading. At first, I did find it difficult to follow along because it isn’t a style of reading that I enjoy. However, it was interesting and it made me think about things I never would have thought about before. We do live in a world where we rely on the Internet for answers. Without sitting down and thinking about something, our first instinct is to go to the Internet for a response because it’s more typical and much easier. Why should we put more stress on ourselves and use our brains to think if there is a machine that can do it for us? I find myself guilty of this and I didn’t realize it until now. There are so many people who have conversation with others while being wrapped up on social media sites at the same time, causing them to focus less on what a person is saying to them. I couldn’t agree more with his belief that the Internet does cause us to do less thinking and takes majority of our attention away. While growing up, the Internet was popular but today it is beyond that point. It’s scary to think about how the brains of young people are wired, where the Internet is depended upon to get by today. This book was an eye-opener for me.
Han_B 9 months ago
I was required to choose between two books to read for a technology course I am taking. I chose to read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr because as a future educator I am interested in learning the positive and negative impacts of modern technology in the classroom. Carr did a great job explaining what the internet is doing to our brains. Technology has honestly reshaped our world. We can retrieve information in seconds today whereas before it could have taken days to complete. As a future educator, I was very interested when Carr talked about the advantages of reading a book. When we read a book, we must have the ability to concentrate intently for a long period of time. With technology, today we have trouble training ourselves to ignore the distractions around us, but a reader must train themselves to ignore those distractions. Carr said, to read a book you are practicing an unnatural process of thought, one that demands sustained, unbroken attention to a single, static object. Readers not only acquire knowledge of the book they are reading, but they are also shaping the way their mind works. Reading from a printed book is far more beneficial to the shaping of your mind than skimming an article on the internet. The advances in technology have taken away the benefits readers acquire when reading a book. Today we rarely read books to find information, instead we use google or other internet sites to obtain the information we need. These internet sites are quick and easy to use, but the benefits a reader acquires from reading a book cannot be obtained using the internet. Carr has done a great job explaining the advantages and disadvantages of using the internet. The internet has changed the way our mind works and the way that we think. I enjoyed reading this book, and will use the knowledge I gained from this book in the future. I highly recommend this book to my future educators and current educators. The information that you obtain could change the way that you think and may help you in shaping your classroom.
KaitlynRhoden 9 months ago
I found that I did enjoy this book. At first I thought the writing style was slow paced and hard to fallow, but the more I read this book the more I think I understand why it was a struggle for me to find a true interest in at the beginning. The author Nicholas Carr makes the claim that the internet is changing the way we, as humans think. At first I thought this was preposterous. I thought, if anything, shouldn’t the internet help make us wiser? Carr argues that we have shorter attention spans due to our reliance on technology. He says this leads to hinders effects when it comes to reading and learning. I must say, I am living proof of this. The fact that I couldn’t get an interest in this book, until I realized my lack of concentration on it proves this. At first I thought it was his writing style, however maybe he is right in his argument, and I validated it. I would be glancing around the room when reading. I would lose my place easy, or finish a page and have to reread it because I couldn’t remember what I had read. This proves my lack of concentration, which proves Carrs point, that technology is affecting us. I am a college student, as such I’m around technology all day long checking emails, doing homework, ect. The more I read Carr’s novel, the more I believe his points in the book. He had several good points to make, which were backed up with facts and examples, however it was not until I realized what he was saying was true about me, that I truly began to believe it. This book, at least for me was an experience more than a read and I almost believe Carr expected it to be. This was a truly interesting book. It raises many more concerns for me now, when thinking about technology. As an education major, I know I will have to use some technology in my classroom when I teach my future students, but now I am seriously considering limiting its use in certain areas, such as reading. I do not want to help contribute to the issues Carr presents to his readers through this book. Carr’s novel has made me see technology as a curse, as well as a blessing. I highly recommend anyone to read this book, because it is highly insightful and it has a well-supported argument.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Sydney Jones After finishing The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, I was astounded by how much the internet effects society. I believed that the internet affected the way that we communicate, but I did not realize that it affects our brains as well. It is very scary how much we rely on the internet as well as technology in today’s society. I must admit, I am guilty of using the internet to get by every day, and I do believe that it has affected my brain in some way. Not only do I use the internet for communication, checking emails/blackboard, online shopping, and research, but I also use Google to spellcheck myself. I also find myself looking to Google do find an answer to questions I may have. I believe that the internet is handy, but I also believe that the internet is why I struggle with spelling certain words at times. In today’s time, I feel that individuals much younger than me will become more dependent on the internet and technology because almost everyone, now days, has some time of smart phone or access to the internet. Children at the age on five and six have iPads, and ten-year-olds have social media. When I was younger, we thought that the television and calculators had a major effect on the brain. I strongly agree with Carr because the internet is becoming more of a source than our own minds. Carr focuses on the negative sides of overly using the internet, but provides us with facts and research as well. In conclusion, I thought this book was very eye-opening and worth the read. I am now thinking twice about using the internet as much as what I had before. The internet is beneficial, but it is not necessary to have. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone because it shows how alarming it is to know how much we rely on the internet, and how it is affecting our brains.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Excellent/Compelling Read! David Slone After reading the book The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, I would say it was an excellent read and one that would cause me to omit a lot of my internet usage. When talking about technology, one has two oppositions: they are either for it, or they are against it. Carr, however, had a stance and thesis that opposed technology. Carr is essentially against technology usage because most people tend to use it excessively. When we use technology to much and it becomes an addiction we danger ourselves by hindering our minds. One issue addressed in this book is the declining ability to synthesize complex and developed readings. Thus, by using the internet excessively it is hurting the way we think and comprehend material. His book is well researched and he ties in factual scientific evidence to show that technology is affecting our brains negatively. He states that this is proven true because psychologists and neurologists aid in supporting this claim, or that technology reduces our ability to comprehend and pay attention to daily life. Despite Carr’s negative outlook, I feel that his technological view is ambiguous. Thus, I believe that Carr feels technology is essential to society when one uses it productively and for purpose. However, when we use it at surplus extremes it turns into a carcinogen and places our minds and thinking ability in a faltering abyss. If one is to use the Internet solely for specific tasks it is acceptable. Instead, the majority of populous use it to check their Facebook and Twitter feed every two to three minutes. After reading this book, Carr’s message has made me aware of the negative effects that the Internet processes and it has also made me aware of my actions. Prior to reading this book, I was using the Internet with a plethora and I was becoming aware of my limited attention span. However, since reading this book I have deleted Twitter and all games off my phone and the only thing I engage in relating to the Internet is Black Board for my college courses and informational readings. This book made me aware of what I could do to my mind by the time I turned forty and it simply scared me. All in all, I would say that this book was an excellent read and one that raised awareness with the negative outcomes of internet and technology usage.
TCarnes 9 months ago
I was required to read this book for a class about integrating technology in the classroom. This book gave a unique perspective of how information has evolved throughout history and how it affected the course of human events and will continue to do so. He presents the information through actual historical facts and research to show how technology has deeply changed cultures and societies. I thought it was very interesting that he began back in ancient Greece when information was shared orally. Paper and ink was expensive to produce and literacy was a luxury reserved for a select few. With the printing press came the revolution of paper as the primary mode of sharing information and literacy became available to the masses. Similar patterns occurred with the prevalence of the map and the clock. In all cases, the invention of a technology changed society and the how it operated on a large scale as well as how individuals lived their daily lives. He uses this to show how computer technology is doing the same thing. The brain falls into patterns based on how it is used. Whether it learns to store information it received through the ears, through the printed page, or through a screen, your brain is changed. In order to fully understand to macro and micro effects of technology, we have to understand that. As a future teacher, I think it is important to understand that the way out students receive information in the classroom and in society at large will change how they learn. The fact that the internet makes a wealth of information so accessible and that it is so easy to switch from texting to doing homework to listening to music to checking a Facebook notification in the span of two minutes makes the way members of society think and live simply different from one hundred or even fifty years ago.
TRFeller More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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.