BookThing #4: The Shallows

For this month’s book thing I read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr and to be honest I was expecting to be a text that I would disagree with page after page similar to books like Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur. But, surprisingly, I found myself not only understanding Carr’s arguments but agreeing with him more often than not. There are just some times you can’t easily argue with the science.

I still want to be careful however and not say that I agree with all of his conclusions. Ok, computers and the Internet may be changing the way our brains operate but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Well, maybe my opinion is more subtle than that. Yes, as Carr states, all technology changes us, whether is be as something as complex as a computer or as simple as a hammer. What worries me though is that one might be tempted, after reading this book, to assume that all change is bad. There are always those that worry that change will lead to the end of something, maybe even humanity itself. And, I suppose that being concerned isn’t necessarily bad either. Mostly, I just feel that this book placed his concerns in a well-deserved context, and that by being aware of those concerns we can make better choices in the future.

I’m sorry if this review seemed a bit rambling, but I’ve been mulling over what to say for a few days now and I’m still got a bit more thinking to do about this book, but I knew I needed to get these thoughts down before I moved on to some other projects.

As a footnote, I did listen to the audio version of this book instead of “reading” it. I do wonder what Mr. Carr would think of that…

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Michael Sauers

Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln, Nebraska and has been training librarians in technology for more than 15 years. He has also been a public library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, serials cataloger, technology consultant, and bookseller. He earned his MLS in 1995 from the University at Albany’s School of Information Science and Policy. Michael’s twelfth book, Google Search Secrets (w/ Christa Burns) was published October 2013 and has two more books on the way. He has also written dozens of articles for various journals and magazines. In his spare time he blogs at, runs Web sites for authors and historical societies, takes many, many photos, and reads more than 100 books a year.

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