Jumping into the Small Boat

Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains is a real gamechanger. While I’ve been reading the non-fiction book for my English 2000 course, I try not to focus on what is disparaging about having to read it, or about the message it is trying to get across about the slow loss of higher thinking. I really have spent my time studying this book like it’s a textbook, and Carr is trying to impart the knowledge he found from serious research unto the readers.The book, however is more than a textbook, and does have a prominent call to action.

The bestselling author does provide an aim for his book, fed by his own experience with changing media and his new-found urge to preserve critical thinking. The book’s afterword addresses the reader, “it’s a small boat. But there’s plenty of room inside. Feel free to grab an oar”. After all, the book itself is certainly proof that the shift from shallow-minded acts of blogging and internet searches make it all the more difficult to write a final, well-written and thought-provoking book. Carr ultimately succeeded as far as I’m concerned, and I have a restored will to embrace stronger intellect. It will be no easier for me that it is for the author, and it will always be difficult to avoid harmful habits, but it’s a goal I’m willing to try and live out. If all it takes is to change the way I look at information, I’m willing to jump in the small boat and help however I can.


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