The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. Related to the previous post, I recently read Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows” and I can’t recommend it enough. From the publisher:
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.
It’s a well-researched book about how the computers — and the internet in general — physically alter our brains and cause us to think differently. In this case, we think more shallowly because we’re continuously zipping around links and websites, and we can’t focus as well as we could when we were a more literate society. Deep reading goes out the browser window, as it were.
You should read it.