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Life in the Shallows

Nicholas Carr | 49:27


 Tonight, I'm very excited to welcome Nicholas Carr to Harvard Bookstore to discuss his new book, the Shallows, what the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. Uh, Mr. Carr is the author of The Big Switch and Doesn't Matter, and his writing has appeared in the Atlantic Wired, the Financial Times, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications.

Uh, he's the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, and he's on the steering board of the World Economic Forums Cloud Computing Project. In the shallows, Mr. Carr considers how the internet and modern media are restructuring our brains. Uh, Mr. Carr examines the evolution of information technology from the development of written language through the invention of the printing press, radio, television, and up to email, Google, Facebook, and other hallmarks of our new wired and wireless lifestyle.

Uh, citing recent psychological and neurological research, Mr. Car argues that while the benefits of new information technologies are evident, uh, they come at the cost of contemplation and focus and are changing the very way we think. Uh, slate called The Shadows a silent spring for the literary Mind and the Wall Street Journal called the book Absorbing and disturbing.

Thank you. Uh, thank you Michael. Um, and thanks all of you for coming out. I'll try not to be too disturbing given how, given how warm it is today. Um, what I'd like to do is, is, uh, spend a few minutes talking about the, the general themes of the book, uh, and then read a very short passage to give you a, a feel for the writing, uh, in the style.

And then open it up in, I'd be happy to answer any questions or hear any comments. Um, you might have the, the shallows comes out of my own personal experience. Um, I've been a big user of computers and, uh, since back when I bought my first, my first pc, uh, uh, Mac Plus in 1986, uh, became a writer about technology.

Uh, was a big, was in, continues to be a big user of the net and, uh, a great aficionado of that. A couple of years ago, I began to realize that I was having a lot of trouble concentrating, and I noticed it, particularly when I'd sit down to read a book, uh, something that throughout my life has come completely naturally to me.

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