Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Written by: Nicholas Carr

First line: In 1964, just as the Beatles were launching their invasion of America's airwaves, Marshall McLuhan published Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and transformed himself from an obscure academic into a star.

Why you should read this book: Dependence on computer technologies is changing the way humans think, perceive, and respond, and while some of these changes do seem to enrich our lives, not all of them are beneficial to mankind. The author begins by explaining how the brain works and how earlier advances in technology have changed our thought processes before sharing page after page of scientific research demonstrating that hyperlinks cause us to retain less information, Google is actively working to increase our page clicks, and that excessive dependence on the Internet is not making anyone smarter. A smart overview of a subject that is on many people's minds these days, this book neatly encapsulates the current research and distills it to its logical conclusion: that humans are not making machines more like themselves, but rather, that we are becoming more like the machines, and in doing so, losing some element of our humanity.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Too busy blogging, Skyping, checking your social networks, web surfing, and buying stuff off of Amazon.

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