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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  26,973 ratings  ·  3,585 reviews
“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
Paperback, 280 pages
Published June 6th 2011 by W. W. Norton Company (first published June 7th 2010)
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Adam @Tom, the title makes the book sound more melodramatic than it really is. The book is wonderful and made me think really deeply about how our use of a…more@Tom, the title makes the book sound more melodramatic than it really is. The book is wonderful and made me think really deeply about how our use of any technology shapes us (how we think, what we think, etc) and how technology can even shape the experience of reading a book (reading a ebook vs a traditional book). The author pulls heavily from Marshall McLuhan-like thought about technology, which helps ground the book in the work of a really great 20th century thinker.

I think the book made me more conscious about how my environment shapes me and think deeper about how I spend my time. I didn't feel guilty or terrified however. But I probably have cut back on reading online a bit and increased my reading offline.(less)
Meisam کیفیت صحافی چاپ کتاب خودش یه نشونه هست واسه انتخاب بهترین نسخه ترجمه
که اینجا نشر گمان
مجموعه خوبی چاپ کرده…more
کیفیت صحافی چاپ کتاب خودش یه نشونه هست واسه انتخاب بهترین نسخه ترجمه
که اینجا نشر گمان
مجموعه خوبی چاپ کرده(less)

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Aug 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, non-fiction
For the last few years, I've noticed that I seem to have developed a form of ADD. This was always the most apparent during the first few weeks of summer vacation when I would start and stop projects with lightning speed, when I couldn't sit still to read a book or watch a movie all the way through, when I couldn't clean my house all in one day, when I couldn't keep my mind on just one train of thought. As someone who had always lived for structure, who craved the routine and the predictable, who ...more
Everyone's talking about this book, and I felt I had to check it out. I agree: it's definitely worth reading. In particular, it drove home, more effectively than anything else I've seen, just how addictive the Internet is. As he says, you don't want to admit to yourself how much you crave internet stimulation, and how frequently you check mail, SMSes, Goodreads updates and similar inputs. I immediately turned off all of these to see what would happen; I'm afraid to say that I was very much more ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Shallows, What the Internet is doing to our brains, 2012, Nicholas Carr

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, published in the United Kingdom as The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember, is a 2010 book by the American journalist Nicholas G. Carr.

The book expands on the themes first raised in "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", Carr's 2008 essay in The Atlantic, and explores the effects of the Internet on the brain.

The book claims research s
Will Byrnes
In this fascinating, informative book, Carr argues that the internet has not only affected how society communicates and works, but that how our actual brains work is being, has been changed by contemporary modes of communication. He delves into the history of research into brain function to make a case that similar biological changes occurred with prior technological breakthroughs, such as the typewriter. He cites a wealth of studies that dispel the notion of the brain as set in stone once adult ...more
Amir Tesla
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For Practical Summary Refer To: How The Internet Is Tearing Your Focus Apart And 3 Ways to Rebuild It.
Do you get bored after reading just a couple of paragraphs from a text?

Do you step into your room just to forget why you’re there?

And do you constantly have this craving to jump off from a mentally-demanding task to open up your Facebook or Instagram?

If your answer to one the above is yes, you are probably suffering from a shattered focus.

Neuroplasticity and H
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summary (Throwback Review)
Nicholas Carr discusses how much the internet is affecting our daily life in this book.

Four concepts I learned from this book

1) How books have changed this world?
As people grow accustomed to writing down their thoughts and reading the thoughts that others had written down, they become less dependent on the contents of their own memory. Individual memory became less of a socially determined construct and more the foundation of a distinctive perspective an
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's an inference exercise: Take the first half of Nicholas Carr's title THE SHALLOWS: WHAT THE INTERNET IS DOING TO OUR BRAINS and guess what his thesis is based on the second half. Got it? Good. Cause you "got it good" when it comes to your addiction to the Internet.

Probably you wake up and wonder what's in your e-mail's inbox. Probably you check it before breakfast. Probably, even though you're not supposed to, you peek at it from work. Probably you're part of some social network site like
Lewis Manalo
Mar 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If you couldn't tell from the title, Carr really has issues with the internet, and he has some data to support his criticism. He also misses the brain he had before it became Google-cized.

Ironically, I found his book kind of unreadable - not because my brain has been Google-cized, but because Carr's has. Reading The Shallows is like reading over the shoulder of somebody who's on Wikipedia and who can't stop clicking links to more and more articles tangential to the one you started with.

The Shal
Esteban del Mal
I call bullshit.


"How Esteban Got His Groove Back"

Channel surfing the other day, I came across Highlander. I’d never watched the movie all the way through, even as a fanboy teenager those twenty four years ago (!) when it was released, and, noticing that Christopher Lambert bears a striking resemblance to the guy in HBO’s Hung -- a serialized comedy-drama about a male prostitute with an enormous dick for which my wife has an altogether unsettling appetite, having on more than one occasion bl
I wrote this because I was so jolly irritated to read what Pinker had to say about it.

About five years ago I began to be concerned that I was suffering early onset dementia. My concentration span was almost zero. Things I couldn’t do included putting on dinner and remembering I’d done that or following a whole page of Calvin and Hobbes panels. I could no longer play bridge properly, I certainly couldn’t read a book. I couldn’t listen properly to anything people said and certainly couldn’t rememb
Marc Kozak
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-stuff
Hello, my name is Marc Kozak, and I'm a scientist.

Thank you for agreeing to complete this brief questionnaire regarding your internet habits. I can assure you that all data received in this study will be kept completely private. Your results will be combined with the others, and I will use that data to write a very profound article that will win me multiple prizes and perhaps even get a woman to talk to me. Your assistance is invaluable. Thank you for your time, and please enjoy the $5 iTunes g
Keyo Çalî
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, favorites
If you are able to read my review, you must read this book, because you are reading it on a screen online. If this review was published in a magazine, it could be much better. But now on GoodReads ( I love GoodReads), when you read my review, let say if you read my review, not just liking it, you see lots of other things too. so you can’t concentrate completely on what you are reading. You may read the first two lines then two lines in the middle and at last two lines at the end of the paragraph ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As we've come to use the internet more, we've adapted to the idea that the brain is something like a computer processor. You load information to its hard drive, and it performs tasks accordingly. What science shows however is that the brain is more like an evolving organ with a relatively high degree of plasticity. What you do and how you do it literally changes your synaptic wiring: it has physiological effects. Being heavily on the internet, as statistics show most of us now are, is physiologi ...more
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brace yourself, Goodreader, this one’s coming at you.

The premise championed here is that use of the internet (Goodreads for example) causes something to happen to your brain. His words are delicate, but Carr ultimately sees a bit more negative than positive to our online interactions. He protects the flank of his premise by recognizing that humans will always use technology, and derive real benefits from using each new iteration of technology--we should always use emerging technology when it’s
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-theory
In many ways I think this doesn’t have much more to say than Technopoly and that Technopoly has the advantage of saying what needs to be said better, quicker and more entertainingly. I was trying to work out what it was about this that annoyed me and the problem is that this is a very self-conscious book, one that feels it needs to justify itself far too much. And after a while that became very tedious.

He makes a nice division between instrumentalists and determinists – basically, instrumentalis
Riku Sayuj

The Economist Reports on The Future of The Book:

Even the most gloomy predictors of the book’s demise have softened their forecasts. Nicholas Carr, whose book “The Shallows” predicted in 2011 that the internet would leave its ever-more-eager users dumb and distracted, admits people have hung onto their books unexpectedly, because they crave immersive experiences.

Books may face more competition for audiences’ time, rather as the radio had to rethink what it could do best when films and television
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this look at how the internet is affecting our minds. Carr's research covers everything from the history of reading and printing to IQ scores and research in neuroscience.

This is a good summation of what Carr learned:

Dozens of studies by psychologists, neurobiologists, educators, and Web designers point to the same conclusion: when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. It's possible to think deep
Mario the lone bookwolf (is on a longer vacation)
No matter what aspect of the Internet you use to illustrate, the flow and the associated addictive factor are immense.

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

The sense of outsourcing your knowledge base to the cloud or directly to Google and Wikipedia is a matter of scale. As long as you have your own, sovereign domains, it's a great addition. As soon as a person lazily stops to refill his cerebral reservoir and lets everything b
Mark Desrosiers
Beware: when you hit the last page of this fascinating, bleak, helpless narrative -- one that addresses your own brain as a stunted, wasting bundle of unmotivated neurons -- you'll either want to retreat to a shared scholarly past, pointing at physical pages with a yad, or you'll just embrace the terrifying idiocracy-pastebin Second Dark Age that's sweeping over us. Hell, the author himself interrupts his argument on occasion to underscore his own troubles with concentration, even devoting a cha ...more
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Too much repetition and reiteration. And repetition. And the author kept saying things over and over again in different ways. He’d say something and then say it again in different context. It was repetitious. And I just got tired of hearing information more than once.
3.5 stars

A scary and informative book that delves into how the internet affects our brains, our attention spans, and the way we think. Carr argues that technology takes away from our ability to process information deeply and soundly; he states that distractions like the internet promote scattered, shallow thinking. To prove his point he cites research that shows how the brain responds to the internet: indeed, we obtain dopamine from the quick clicks and the many links online, similar to how drug
Oct 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The funny thing about this book is that I actually enjoyed reading it, as I guess anyone with an elementary knowledge of logic and philosophical argumentation would. It is a well-written example of "How to use fallacies and envoke fear and intuition to argue for your claim."
I mean I actually get how this book got so popular, even though most of its content is overly repeated and contains no new arguments.

-The author mentions the opposing arguments and then gives an unrelated answer. He uses ane
Mar 28, 2010 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: NY Times article "Texts Without Context"
(Even more late breaking updates, below. Still haven't read it yet, though.)

This book is mentioned in the thoughtful-if-long New York Times Magazine article Texts Without Context , which explores how technology is altering the way we absorb ideas, especially the written word, and how that change in subjectivity is setting us up for subtle but radical shifts in everything from political discourse to the rights of authors.

With respect to this book itself, I'm skeptical.

That we will change as th
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: Amy
Shelves: 2010
Is this a book about the Internet? Or about neuroplasticity? Is this a gadget-lover's dirge for "his old brain"? Or a sensationalist portrait of a technological and cultural paradigm shift that lists strongly toward the catastrophic?

The Shallows is all of these things, and quite a few more--some of which marry well with Carr's thesis, while the kinky red hair of the others show them to be the abandoned-at-the-door-step-children they are. What Carr tells us with the charged and inflammatory rheto
Lauren Albert
Infuriating--he buries the small truths of his argument in exaggerations, the blurring of differences and projections of his own experiences onto everyone else.


A perfect example is when he writes of his experience in the college library “Despite being surrounded by tens of thousands of books, I don’t remember feeling the anxiety that’s symptomatic of what we today call ‘information overload.’ There was something calming in the reticence of all those books, their willingness to wait
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: librarians, teachers, Internet surfers - everybody!
I don't give 5 stars lightly, but this book was absolutely fascinating - to me, at least. Though, as I read passages, I kept thinking of yet another person who ought to read it. Carr (and the book) have been getting a lot of "air play" lately - blogs, NPR, etc., and chapters and snippets of the book have appeared several places (the snippet-ization being another result of the internet that he discusses). Lots of readable, distilled scientific info about current thinking on how the brain works (a ...more
John Martindale
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to John by: Audible
This book was extremely interesting, lots of history, studies and observations and some personal honesty mixed in. I thought it fascinating. He has brought to my mind some interesting and disturbing reflections.

One primary drive of humans is to make life easier. We can't help but want to produce more with less effort, so this has resulted in inventions such as the tractor which plow in one day what it once took a month to accomplish by hand. We likewise seem to have a drive to create devices to
When I was young, I could be immersed in a book for hours without losing focus. Now, I flit distractedly from page to e-mail to wikipedia like a hummingbird on crack. According to Nicholas Carr, this isn't early onset dementia, but a reflection of my constant internet use. Hmmm.

Americans spend at least 8.5 hours per day looking at screens. Research has found that any repeated behavior changes the neural pathways in our brains, literally reshaping the structure and the strength of these connectio
Vimal Thiagarajan
Fahrenheit 451 in it's twenty first century incarnation.

Over and above the hackneyed din of the "it's not inherently bad, it's 'how' it is used that matters" that has always surrounded technologies and utilities from TV to computers to internet to cellphones to facebook, and drowning out the sneers of the technology enthusiast and the scoffs of the technology skeptic, the message from this book sounds loud and clear - THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.

And the logical and aesthetic elegance with which th
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Everyone should take some time to read this book. It is more than what the title sugests. And it opens your eyes. A lot! 😁
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Nicholas Carr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Shallows, the best-selling The Big Switch, and Does IT Matter? His acclaimed new book, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, examines the personal and social consequences of our ever growing dependence on computers and software. Former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, he has written for The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall S ...more

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The common problem of "too many books, too little time" can reach truly dire proportions when you work on the Goodreads editorial team. After...
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“The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.” 70 likes
“What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” 59 likes
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