The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

The ShallowsReview by Chris Swisher

Is the Internet making us stupid? How has information technology evolved and where is it going? How, with the immense, and growing, database of information at our fingertips, can we balance distraction with mindfulness? Nicholas Carr examines these issues in his bestselling book The Shallows.

In covering this essential topic, Carr fluidly ranges from classical philosophy, poetry, neuroscience, and the history of technology.

The digital world, says Carr, is ubiquitous and here to stay. The Internet provides us a fix for ennui, but access to more information most certainly does not make us smarter. Carr reminds us that have a problem here that computers and networks created and most certainly cannot solve. Highly recommended.

On the downside, even though this book is a very readable 228 pages, the “too busy” and distracted among us can read Carr’s 2008 article from The Atlantic Monthly “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The article is easily found on the – you guessed it – Internet! Shorter treatment, same conclusion.

About the author: Nicholas Carr is an acclaimed writer on technology and culture. The Wall Street Journal called this book “Absorbing and Disturbing,” American Scientist called it “A Book Everyone Should Read.” The Shallows was a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize.

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About the reviewer: Chris Swisher has loved working at the Reference Desk at Tredyffrin Public Library for almost two years. Before joining the staff at the library, he was a director in the computing center at Franklin & Marshall College and an adjunct faculty member at Drexel University. When not working at the reference desk, Chris edits AdLib, the library’s weekly newsletter and takes photos for the library website. Ask Chris a question about cycling or photography.