Monday, April 04, 2011

The Shallows - What the Internet is doing to our brains.

I've never read a book that was a proof of its own hypothesis till now. I actually expected the book to be a social commentary on the perils of the internet. And it was indeed social commentary mixed with medical science to prove that our brains are actually changing.

I found the book very interesting. The idea that our brains are constantly changing to adapt to whatever it is exposed to is fascinating and medical science can now prove it. What is more interesting is how our brains have changed with constant exposure to the internet. We process information more quickly and efficiently than we have in the past but we also retain and comprehend less. Our attention spans are much shorter and we are easily distracted. The physical act of reading a book (ink on paper style) and writing in long hand is actually better for deep thinking, retention and comprehension.

And this is where the book was a proof of its own hypothesis, at least for me. I could only read about 5 pages before I had to set it back down. The effort it took to focus and concentrate on the subject was noticeable. It was not an easy read, by any means and it took me a long time to finish it. I'm surprised I even stuck with it. The author, himself, even confesses to have difficulty in writing the book because of distractions while researching on the Internet. This was a wake-up call for me to cut some of the internet tethers because I do feel that my brain has changed. Though I wonder why it is easier to read a good fiction book than this one? Other blogging readers have commented on how difficult a book this is to read, so it must not be just me.

The author provides no solutions and posits that this evolution of our brains and society is unstoppable. He leaves this change in our brains to see where it takes us - though he implies it probably is not a good thing.

Book Rating: 3 difficult stars

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

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