The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains (2010)
by Nicholas Carr


“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 into the most compelling exploration of the Internet’s intellectual and cultural consequences yet published. As he describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by “tools of the mind”—from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer—Carr interweaves a fascinating account of recent discoveries in neuroscience by such pioneers as Michael Merzenich and Eric Kandel. Our brains, the historical and scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. The technologies we use to find, store, and share information can literally reroute our neural pathways.”  – W. W.

About Nicholas Carr

“Nicholas Carr is the author of The Shallows, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as The Big Switch and Does IT Matter? His articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalWired, and the New Republic, and he writes the widely read blog Rough Type. He has been writer-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley, and an executive editor of the Harvard Business Review.” – W.W. Norton & Company

Nicholas Carr’s website
Nicholas Carr’s blog, Rough Type
NPR author interview with Nicholas Carr, “The Shallows: This is Your Brain Online”  on All Things Considered, June 2, 2010.


The Shallows is a book everyone should read.”  

Anna Lena Phillips, American Scientist

“In his new book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr has written a Silent Spring for the literary mind.”

Michael Agger, Slate

“Carr has brought to public attention an important line of inquiry; calling us to a closer examination of the proper role of technology, both in our lives and in the larger culture.”  

Contemporary Sociology

“Cogent, urgent and well worth reading.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Carr provides a deep, enlightening examination of how the Internet influences the brain and its neural pathways … His fantastic investigation of the effect of the Internet on our neurological selves concludes with a very humanistic petition for balancing our human and computer interactions … Highly recommended.” [starred review]

Library Journal

“The medium may be the message, Carr suggests, but only so long as the medium stays hidden. Reveal its inner workings — and the groupthink or brain damage it can cause — and we will see the necessity of resisting. We will be empowered to turn Google to our purposes rather than being turned to Google’s.”

— Gary Greenberg, --The Nation


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"The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr

Page last updated: Monday, July 11, 2016