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Saturday, 4 September 2010

Book Reading Goal : Week 31

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our BrainsThis week's book was what I just needed to up my reading momentum, after an hectic summer of competing demands. The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr puts forward the argument that the internet is changing us in ways we may not have realised before. Nicholas Carr is convinced that despite the wide benefits the internet has brought, it is also having a fundamental impact on the physiology of our brains, altering not only the way we perceive reality but how we actually take in information and process it.

It is a quite shocking assessment, and one that he backs up with a range of evidence.  As a non-expert in this area, I was left somewhat convinced by the cumulative force of the evidence presented, though I retained deep scepticism on the individual bits.  The evidence also at times appeared "selective" - not enough studies cited that offer contrarian position. Mr Carr clearly has become convinced of the narrative and brings all the evidence to argue for it.

Presentationally, it does start off somewhat slow, but given the subject at hand, one is forced to concentrate if only to avoid falling in the company of shallows. My main quibble is that the book really offers no alternative and for some readers it may read that he has failed to address the deeper metaphysical questions. There are deep questions raised, but it ends up quite hopelessly - not clear just how we are to adapt to this inevitable new world of shallows. Nevertheless, I think he offers enough for others to explore in more depth this fascinating subject. The internet is clearly here to stay, if the dangers cited are real then this demands much more debate than we have had in general media. If it wasn't for my large pile of reading (I have about 10 books on my shelf waiting to read), I would have reviewed it!

Book Details:

  • Author: Nicholas Carr
  • Category: Non-Fiction
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 7, 2010)
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Page Count: 276
  • ISBN: 978-0393072228
  • Rating : Worth A Read. 
Book Reading Goal Review
Books Read So Far : 26 books
Remaining Books to Achieve Target : 24 books
Weeks Remaining to Achieve Annual Target : 17 weeks

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