Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Neil Postman warned us about TV’s influence on public discourse in 1985; Jane Healy explained the effect of modern media on children’s brains in 1991; now, using recent scientific studies as well as anecdotes, Nicholas Carr contemplates how we win as well as lose with the new technology of the Internet.

The Shallows is an important book. I think everyone should read it. We now have more than ten years of experience with this new medium. My own household has gone from one Internet-linked computer anchored in a lonely back office to five laptops and a Wi-Fi connection. This past school year, two of my three kids used online interactive math curriculum. I want to know how the Internet is likely to influence us.

Besides being relevant, the book was a joy to read. Carr seamlessly weaves history, analogy, personal stories and scientific studies into a pleasing whole. More than once, I was overtaken by the depth of his insights.

I plan to narrate the book chapter-by-chapter. I’m going to try something new, too-- *short* narrations. Ha. We’ll see how that goes.

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