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

The Watchdog and the Thief
One Hal and Me
Two The Vital Paths
a digression on what the brain thinks about when it thinks about itself
Three Tools of the Mind
Four The Deepening Page
a digression on lee de forest and his amazing audion
Five A Medium of the Most General Nature
Six The Very Image of a Book
Seven The Juggler's Brain
a degression on the buoyancy of IQ scores
Eight The Church of Google
Nine Search, Memeory
a digression on the writing of this book
Ten A Thing Like me
Epilogue Human Elements223(2)
Further Reading253(4)

Expanding on an article that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the best-selling author of The Big Switch discusses the intellectual and cultural consequences of the Internet, and how it may be transforming our neural pathways for the worse.

Nicholas Carr is the author of The Big Switch and Does IT Matter? He has written for the New York Times, Atlantic, New Republic, Wired, and other periodicals. He lives in Colorado with his wife

Carr-author of The Big Switch (2007) and the much-discussed Atlantic Monthly story "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"-is an astute critic of the information technology revolution. Here he looks to neurological science to gauge the organic impact of computers, citing fascinating experiments that contrast the neural pathways built by reading books versus those forged by surfing the hypnotic Internet, where portals lead us on from one text, image, or video to another while we're being bombarded by messages, alerts, and feeds. This glimmering realm of interruption and distraction impedes the sort of comprehension and retention "deep reading" engenders, Carr explains. And not only are we reconfiguring our brains, we are also forging a "new intellectual ethic," an arresting observation Carr expands on while discussing Google's gargantuan book digitization project. What are the consequences of new habits of mind that abandon sustained immersion and concentration for darting about, snagging bits of information? What is gained and what is lost? Carr's fresh, lucid, and engaging assessment of our infatuation with the Web is provocative and revelatory. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

"Is Google making us stupid?" So freelance technology writer Carr (The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, 2008, etc.) asked in a 2008 article in the Atlantic Monthly, an argument extended in this book.The subtitle is literal. In the interaction between humans and machines, the author writes, machines are becoming more humanlike. And, "as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence." Carr provides evidence from batteries of neuroscientific research projects, which suggest that the more we use the Internet as an appendage of memory, the less we remember, and the more we use it as an aide to thinking, the less we think. Though the author ably negotiates the shoals of scientific work, his argument also takes on Sven Birkerts-like cultural dimensions. The Internet, he complains, grants us access to huge amounts of data, but this unmediated, undigested stuff works against systematic learning and knowledge. Yale computer-science professor David Gelernter has lately made the same arguments in a more gnomic, but much shorter, essay now making the rounds of the Internet. This privileging of the short and bullet-pointed argument to the considered and leisurely fits into Carr's theme as well. He observes that with RSS, Twitter, Google and all the other cutely named distractions his computer provides, he has become a less patient and less careful reader of key texts that require real work. It's a sentiment that one of his subjects, a philosophy major and Rhodes Scholar, brushes aside, saying, "I don't read books...I go to Google, and I can absorb relevant information quickly." Ah, but there's the rub-how can a novice know what's relevant?Similar in spirit to Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget (2010)-cogent, urgent and well worth reading.Author tour to Denver/Boulder, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas. Agent: John Brockman Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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