Tim Casteel's Reviews > The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
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it was amazing

“We program our computers and thereafter they program us.”

Technology’s “frequent interruptions scatter our thoughts, weaken our memory, and make us tense and anxious”.

This book is packed with wisdom and insight.
But it’s worth the price of the book for Carr’s insights on how we learn: how our brains retain information and are reprogrammed, comparing it to filling a bathtub with a thimble. We are changed by moving thimbleful after thimbleful, thus rewiring the operating system of our brains

“When we read a book, the information faucet provides a steady drip, which we can transfer, thimbleful by thimbleful, into long-term memory & forge the rich associations essential to the creation of schemas [complex, “thick” understanding as Charles Taylor call it]

“The Net [is] many information faucets all going full blast. Our little thimble overflows as we rush from one faucet to the next. We’re able to transfer only a small portion of the information & [it’s] a jumble of drops from different faucets, not a coherent stream from 1 source”

Despite being nearly a decade old, this book is unbelievably relevant to our modern predicament. I wish Carr would release a new edition- removing some of the (very) dated references to things like MySpace and, as it was written before widespread smart phone and social media use, adding insights on the havoc wreaked by smartphones. Now the enemy (the internet, for Carr) is mobile. Not just accessed via desktop computers, but constantly attached to us, controlling us.

So much of our anxiety and loneliness (especially among young people) is summarized:
“Alienation is an inevitable by-product of the use of technology.”
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Reading Progress

December 22, 2018 – Started Reading
December 22, 2018 – Shelved
December 22, 2018 – Finished Reading

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Samuel Kassing What were your big takeaways in this book?


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