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# Summarization of:The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

### Nicholas Carr

Phil Mann, a friend of mine who's a voracious reader, recommended reading Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. It's an expose extending his 2008 article in the Atlantic titled Is Google Making Us Stupid?, which advances the claim that frequent use of the internet makes us better at making simple, quick decisions (think about choosing which search result has the desired answer) while detrimentally affecting our ability to concentrate deeply on one (or potentially a small number of) topics.

To the uninitiated, that one-line summary is probably sufficient. But I think that Carr's point would be lost if I stopped there, so let's explore a little further. First, if the premise sounds interesting to you, read the book! The beginning is a little disconcerting, as it sounds less like a scientific investigation into an issue and more like Dr. Oz about to introduce his newest nutritional supplement: "Over the last few years I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn't going - so far as I can tell - but it's changing. I'm not thinking the way I used to think. I feel it most strongly when I'm reading. I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or a lengthy article. My mind would get caught up in the twists of the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do." From the handful of friends I've raised this idea to, it seems to be a ubiquitous sentiment. Carr explores why this might be.