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

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: 48,406
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.

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Shallows 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 142 reviews.
Ken_O More than 1 year ago
I picked this up after reading a review in a local paper - which thought it was too "shallow" for business readers. WRONG! Carr pulls together several strands of research and findings, and brings in the findings from scholarly journals to present several important consequences of the widespread use of the internet. The ideas are not all his, but he puts them together in a very well-written and readily digestible short read. We should all take note of his conclusions. The internet is changing the way we think - and we need to comprehend exactly how.
Booknut62 More than 1 year ago
Before this book was published, I looked forward to getting a copy with anticipation. I have been fascinated with what researchers are saying about the effects of the Web on our brains and and thought processes. Disappointingly, this book offers no groundbreaking insights in this topic, and for that matter any other. Carr opens the first chapters of this book with a long tedious history of the printed word and how that has affected thought and information processing. While this might be vital to his argument about how the Internet is changing the brain, it seems to go on forever. Could this information not been condensed into a chapter or so? Once Carr gets to the research on how the Web is changing our brains, he seems to go into long-drawn out descriptions of chemical processes and descriptions of physiological descriptions of how the Web is basically making us shallow thinkers, unable to think deeply about what we read and see on the Net. I was just a bit disappointed by Carr's treatment of a subject that has a great deal of merit, and a subject that needs to be discussed. In the end, this was one of those books that was difficult to finish. Plowing is the accurate term to describe how I moved through this book. While Carr does an adequate job of describing what the research says about how the Web is changing us, he does so in an uninspiring and didactic manner. This could have been an interesting book, but it reads too much like a diatribe against technology in general.
feelzoo More than 1 year ago
A must-read book that uncovers what we are loosing unconsciously, and the loss is what we must protect. You are becoming one of the shallows little by little with a cascade of benefits from the Net. How come we are becoming less knowledgeable with those benefits? Hyperlinks and multimedia on a Net page contain more information than we need, which makes you think the technology is a blessing. However, this book debunks it by laying out the results of prominent researches and findings. If you are interested in how your brain affected by what you are doing every 3mins with your gadgets, read this book!
VeloChef More than 1 year ago
What initially hooked me was a review about "The Shallows" in Wired Magazine (June 2010). It took awhile to get to the real meat of the subject, but when it did, I couldn't stop underlining, highlighting, note taking, and star making - several chapters are now a complete mess, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know this book is not for everyone, because some of us are more distractable than others. Unfortunately, I'm ADHD, and quite easily distracted. However, on the positive side, once I'm enthralled there's no end to my energy and ability to research a topic thoroughly. Oh well. I highly recommend this for anyone who spends time on the internet, or knows people who do, because it's an important read. If you don't recognize the characteristics today, chances are you will in the near future, because I believe it resembles behavior that could be referred to as techchnology induced ADHD (or close to it). Finally, here is a blog I've started (early June 2010) that is initially (parts 1 - 4 & notes) based on the Wire Mag review. Beyond that I'm developing more content based on my own revelations, observations, research and especially how I'm fighting the daily battle of distractedness on & off the Net. please visit http://velorep.com/b2b-blog
khy50 More than 1 year ago
This book is being read by many college freshmen. My book club selected it to read because of that fact. Amazing information inside. Many insights. Our book club had one of the best discussions ever! This is a must read for anyone who still likes to pick up a book as well as an e reader or who still writes personal notes on paper but also sends text messages. It will change you!
AvidReaderSD More than 1 year ago
I found this book absolutely an intriguing and thoughtful read!! While i enjoy some technology, I have huge concerns as to how we are using/over using it. This book put a lot into perspective. We have become a nation of voyeurs, reacting to stimuli rather than thinking about stimuli and how we respond. I have recommended this book to many people and/or given it as a gift on a must read. I teach and am using a chapter with my students. They need to reflect on what they are doing. As a society we need to consider what we are about before we get any further carried away by our facination with technology. This book helps the process.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Business author Nicholas Carr enters Malcolm Gladwell territory with an insightful, far-reaching book of essays on how your brain works, how the Internet alters your perceptions and habits, and what the consequences of those alterations might be. Stretching from Aristotle to Google, Carr seeks to understand the magnitude of the change the Internet presents, and to gauge whether that change is for good or ill. He does not offer answers to his more provocative philosophical questions, preferring that the reader sort those out. But he frames these fascinating queries in detailed disquisitions on futurism, the creation of computing, the history of the written word and the evolution of science's notions of the brain and how it functions. His relaxed writing style provides a companionable read, as if you were having a great conversation with a brilliant stranger. getAbstract recommends this enjoyable, nourishing book to everyone who's ever wondered how working on a computer might be affecting their lives and their brains.
Andrew Holm More than 1 year ago
The strength of this book is the historical context that the Age of Information is understood compared to similar pivitol developments such as the printing press. How our brains changed in relation to these sweeping changes is described. Not surprisingly, we both gained and lost aptitudes. What would have made this book even better would been practical suggestions to navigate this new territory to optimize our gains and minimize our losses.
WeymanQuenton More than 1 year ago
I don't agree that brains are changing due to Intrnet. While Mr. Carr tries to ground his argument in the details of modern neuroscience, his most powerful points have nothing do with our plastic cortex. Instead, “The Shallows” is most successful when Carr sticks to cultural criticism, as he documents the losses that accompany the arrival of new technologies. The rise of the written text led to the decline of oral poetry; the invention of movable type wiped out the market for illuminated manuscripts; the television show obliterated the radio play (if hardly radio itself). Similarly, numerous surveys suggest that the Internet has diminished our interest in reading books. But, the ebooks sales have down 15% since last year (2015) and print version is up 2%. Or maybe even these worries are mistaken; it can be hard to predict the future of systems and Internet. Infact, the systems taking people's job is most imminent threa.
Maria_Kallas More than 1 year ago
This just in: Carr proves zombies really do exist!  You probably already are aware that zombies are taking over pop culture; however, you may not be aware that zombies are slowly taking over our world.  Slowly but surely, bright intellectuals are transforming into zombies.  Think I’m kidding?  Read Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains or better yet, just go ahead and Google it. For those who may not be up to date with pop culture, zombies are non-communicative, mobile, lifeless humans that are vulnerable to brain destruction, which eventually kills them.  Throughout The Shallows, Carr argues that the Internet is not only changing how we think, but it is slowly destructing the brain.  For example, Carr cites Gary Small’s study of digital media’s effect on the human brain.  According to Small, a professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains” (116).  These changes to our brains are responsible for slowly transforming us into zombies that can no longer communicate effectively.  The destruction of our brains is real!  In 2008, a study of twenty-four people was conducted.  The study included twelve tech savvy people who surfed the Internet regularly and twelve people who avoided the Internet.  Incredibly, as the tech-savvy people surfed Google, researchers noticed that their prefrontal cortexes showed a considerably high amount of activity, while the twelve who were inexperienced with the Internet had virtually no activity.  Most surprisingly, after surfing the Internet an hour a day for five days, the Internet illiterates had the same amount of prefrontal brain activity as the tech-savvies.  Scary! According to Carr, “What we’re experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: we are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest” (134).  We are slowly losing our ability to think critically, as we conform to the primitive ways of hunting via the Internet.  Carr argues that we are evolving into brain-damaged zombies reduced to habitual grazing on the World Wide Web.  Now, take a moment to reflect on how much time young children, the future of our country, are spending engaged with technology.  If a baby cries, parents of the twenty-first century coddle the baby with an iPhone.  If a toddler is being obnoxious, parents hand the child an iPad to “play an educational game”.  Even educators are forced to include technology in their lessons in order to satisfy the requirements of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). Personally, I spent an entire semester in a class dedicated to teaching future teachers how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom and now I am questioning everything.  Are educational games really educational?  Should technology be used in the classroom?  Is the Internet building knowledge or destroying it?   Is the Internet transforming us into Jimmy Neutrons or zombies?  Brain blast!  Literally.
adkins_lindsay More than 1 year ago
This book is one I was required to read for a class. I, honestly, would not have read it if it were not, but not because of the topic. The topic – how the internet affects our brains – is fairly interesting, and when I first began reading the book, I was eager to learn the answer to this. However, when I started flipping through the pages of the book, I noticed that the writing style is not one I enjoy. I skimmed through a few chapters and realized that Carr has taken this interesting topic, and made it dull. I do think Carr brings up several valid points  about how the the internet has affected our thought processes. He mentions how the internet has caused our ability to concentrate to  decrease. This is something that I have noticed, as well, and he uses the specific example of being able to focus on reading. I used to  read at least one book a week, but since I've began using the internet more, the amount of reading I do has significantly decreased. Carr  proposes that the reason people have loss focus on reading  is because the internet has actually changed the way our brains operate. I think this is something interesting to ponder, but it's not something that I haven't thought about before. While Carr makes interesting points, he, however, fails to provide any profound insight. Overall, I found this book to be very tedious to get through, as he focused much too  heavily on historical events that didn't seem to be especially relevant to the topic. Nearly every chapter begins with an exceptionally  detailed description of a past event. He does provide adequate research, I believe, but he presents this research in an unappealing,  pedantic way. 
Andraya Flannery 12 months 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.
Zoey Garner More than 1 year ago
Carr has written an engaging book that explores how our Internet habits are changing how we think. He tells how he noticed a shift in his concentration levels after his immersion in the Internet world of links, clicks, and tweets. This English literature major found that he had trouble concentrating on a novel beyond a few pages. After years of training his mind to follow links and read news blasts, he was troubled that he could no longer read deeply. This led him to write an article, "Is Google Making Us Dumb?" which he expanded into this book. Carr acknowledges that the digital world brings both advantage and disadvantage: `Every tool imposes limitations even as it opens possibilities.' The Internet is a wonderful tool for finding information, but value usually requires some analysis, and often requires a context which is not always immediately obvious. How do we find a balance between those aspects of life that require self-awareness, time and careful consideration, and those aspects of life where an automatic (or semi-automatic) response is more appropriate and perhaps even required? Do we understand what choices we have, or are we responding in line with the immediacy of the medium we are using? Are we consumers of data or evaluators of information? Does it matter? I think it does: `The more distracted we become, the less able we are to experience the subtlest, most distinctly human forms of empathy, compassion, and emotion.' The bottom line of his findings is that our brains are malleable, and they will change to fit the environment. When we "feed" our brain a diet of short bursts of information with no contemplation, the neurons and synapses change. In essence, we teach our brains to be distracted. We become shallow thinkers. Overall, I found the book interesting and informative. However, it was a little too long for its topic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Courtney Leveridge Morehead State University The Shallows, written by Nicholas Carr, is a short book about how over the decades, technology has changed itself, him and his own brain, and society. Nicholas Carr introduces the book about how life was before internet, a time in which I am too young to really remember; A time where internet did not really exist and people literally spent hours in libraries to find information they need, had to read the newspaper to read stories and did not have access to text instantly to check up on someone. Over time, internet grew, and so did the author’s time spent on it. While doing so, he notices changed in himself. And after interviews with other well-educated individuals, who also spent tons of time online, he made the connection that the changes in his life, mostly considered negative, were caused by being too relying on internet. They talk about these changes: being too relying on the internet, having a shorter attention span, and overall not wanting to read long pieces in general. I have too noticed these qualities in myself, being born in 1995, the time when internet usage basically increased exponentially. I never really knew what life was like before the internet so I didn’t notice changes like these people. However, after reading I am well aware of the true impact it has had on people in the older generation. This book is well written and I believe would be an interesting read for anyone who spends most of their time surfing the internet on a daily basis. It is eye opening and if you don’t read much, like me, gives you a break from the web.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Shallows, written by Nicholas Carr, is a short book about how over the decades, technology has changed itself, him and his own brain, and society. Nicholas Carr introduces the book about how life was before internet, a time in which I am too young to really remember; A time where internet did not really exist and people literally spent hours in libraries to find information they need, had to read the newspaper to read stories and did not have access to text instantly to check up on someone. Over time, internet grew, and so did the author’s time spent on it. While doing so, he notices changed in himself. And after interviews with other well-educated individuals, who also spent tons of time online, he made the connection that the changes in his life, mostly considered negative, were caused by being too relying on internet. They talk about these changes: being too relying on the internet, having a shorter attention span, and overall not wanting to read long pieces in general. I have too noticed these qualities in myself, being born in 1995, the time when internet usage basically increased exponentially. I never really knew what life was like before the internet so I didn’t notice changes like these people. However, after reading I am well aware of the true impact it has had on people in the older generation. This book is well written and I believe would be an interesting read for anyone who spends most of their time surfing the internet on a daily basis. It is eye opening and if you don’t read much, like me, gives you a break from the web.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Miranda Jude (Morehead State University) Perhaps the best way to describe Nicholas Carr’s “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains The Shallows” is to say that it is an intriguing and eye-opening book. It touches on many effects that come with the internet-based society that we have transformed into. Perhaps the most interesting discussion pertains to the fact that our attention spans have decreased drastically. Carr notes that he is seeing that internet usage comes with some costs. This rings true and oftentimes we don’t even realize what we are sacrificing. With the internet, the information we seek can be broken down into small bits that can be quickly accessed and combed through to find the information we need in mere seconds. Because of this, most of us barely have the attention span it requires to sit down and read a book. It’s really no surprise that our attention spans are diminishing, but we rarely think about those things, unless someone brings it to light, as Carr does in his book. It is interesting to read the opinions of the other researches he brings into this discussion as well. Carr goes on to write about how the internet continues to grow and expand into every aspect of our life. We no longer simply use the internet for research purposes but we have gotten to the point where we are devoted to our social media accounts. When we are reading or doing something offline, most of the time, our minds tend to wonder what the latest updates on Facebook may be. Often we are more devoted to our social media lives than reality. This book sheds light on how the idea that our brains have plasticity came around and the effect the internet has on how our brains organize themselves. After reading this book and pondering on Carr’s writing, when I pick up my cell phone and log on to check out the latest Facebook updates, my mind will wonder back to his words. Overall, you can expect Carr’s book to awaken you, startle you, and make you entirely re-think the way you view your internet usage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kayti Maynard- Morehead State As people we adapt quickly to what we get our minds use to. In the book, “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr—Carr offers thoughts to readers about how the Internet is effecting the way we think. In today’s society, it’s uncommon and odd for someone not to own a piece of technology that has access to the Internet. As people, technology and Internet access has just became a lifestyle. Most of us use the Internet for school, work, and personal reasons. By the Internet becoming more like of a life style (like vehicles), it’s difficult to cut back or even know of another life without it. Carr suggests cutting back may train parts of our brains that we’ve not been exercising. He explains how were losing out on the ability to concentrate. Its common for us as people to be on our phones during an in person conversation and its easy to get distracted while reading a book. Sometimes when reading books we randomly get the thought in our heads to check for emails and updates. Our brains want to behave every minute of the day as if we’re on the Internet. We want to take in information fast and a little bit at a time, multitasking, and thinking with the least amount of effort. If we don’t learn to concentrate and pay attention it’s going to cost us the ability of critical thinking, long-term memory, and effective communicating skills. This book informs us that we may need to think about the effects of the Internet, they may not be as great as we think. Carr provides many scientific facts and information that concentrates on the brain particularly. As people we should be aware if were negatively impacting parts of our brains that need exercise and improvements—when other parts need less attention. These tips, comments, concerns, and facts may help us a people positively make a difference and impact on our lives.
Drew Hall More than 1 year ago
After reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr I find myself paying more attention to how I use the internet and how much it impacts my life. We all would like to think that we do not let the internet run everything we do but when you sit and reflect you may find it definitely is playing a larger role in how we do things than we realize. Carr brings to light in this book all the negative impacts that the internet is having on our minds and our society while at the same time telling the infinite number of things you can learn from it. It is no secret that the internet can have its uses, but he questions whether this usefulness outweighs its negative side effects. One recurring theme that Carr brings up throughout the book is how those of us who have been immersed in this age of technology now have shorter attention spans overall. We are so used to just scrolling through one site and then moving on to another. We do not know how to just sit and enjoy time. However, he does not leave the sole blame for this with the internet. He is lead to believe that the human mind has always had this tendency and that the internet has just helped it along the way. Personally, I felt that while reading this book my eyes were opened to new things that I had not thought of before. I have grown up during this time where technology has advanced very quickly and played big roles in my life. Today, you can look around at any time and find someone surfing the internet on their phone or tablet. There is probably some truth that a majority of people cannot go without doing it. Their brains get bored when they are not constantly strolling through some kind of feed. However, I do believe that there are way more benefits to the web and technology than Carr gives it credit for in this book. This book is an excellent read if you wish to really reflect on the impact technology is having on our world today. Drew Hall
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kelly Cornett kvadams@moreheadstate.edu The Shallows: A Change in my Future Teaching After reading Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, I have found a transformation in my perspective on technology. My goal, as a future elementary educator, is to ensure that my students have the foundational basics and skills they need to prepare them for high order thinking. Carr’s perspective on what technology is doing to our brains challenges my goal. Carr believes that technology is rewiring our brains and hindering our high order thinking and concentration skills. This has left me ruminating on one question: How can I incorporate technology, a mandatory factor in both today’s society and my students’ futures, so that it is an effective resource rather than a curb in their brain development? As a college student, I cannot imagine my life without Google. What a sad thought, right? Now that I sit here and think, I can’t remember the last homework assignment in my student career that I didn’t use the Internet for that matter. I have to admit, when I am impulsively curious about something, I am guilty to pick up my IPhone, browse Google for a maximum of five to ten minutes, then consider myself an expert on the topic. When Carr proposes the idea that the Internet may be negatively affecting our brains, this hit home for me. I want my future students to be able to reason. I want them to be able to use search engines such as Google and be unconvinced. I want them to utilize these technological resources and expand on vague research to dig a little deeper. Furthermore, I want my students to have an appreciation for paperback books. Carr believes that the Internet has negatively affected our concentration. As my future elementary students move on to higher levels of education and need to be able to use higher order thinking skills, I want them to be able to engage in in-depth readings. In doing so, I believe it is up to me to teach them how to not depend on technology, but to use it to enhance their skills in all areas. It is my goal that my students understand the importance in a balance between reading actual books and reading the Internet. In conclusion, I believe Carr has created a scholarly read that can change how we look at technology. The Internet is the core of our society and advancements in schools today. After this reading, I am puzzled on how my future students will be able to think at higher level and engage in intellectual conversations when Google and the Internet is at their fingertips in and out of the classroom. I hope that I can teach my students the value of Internet and how they can use it to expand their knowledge, but to never solely rely on it. Moreover, I hope I can teach my students good ethics and model how to be a kind human-being; this is something technology cannot teach.
R_Neace More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
Internet: Shaping Us as Humans Taylor Curry M1100618@moreheadstate.edu 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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.