Author: Nicholas Carr
Publication Information: New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.
Nicholas Carr, like many others, noted that attention spans are on the
decrease. He notes changes in the print media brought about by the age
of the Internet. Many newspapers have gone under; others have declared
bankruptcy. Formats have changed for both newspapers and magazines to
make the experience more Web-like. He acknowledges that sometimes it is
even difficult to remain focused on a blog post which is more than a few
paragraphs long. He notes the presence of e-readers, but at the time he
wrote the book, they had not gained the full audience they have now so
he didn't feel that they were influencing reading that differently.
There is much to think about in this book because Carr also analyzes the
experiences of previous generations and the changes they experienced.
One of the most thought-provoking sections is one which shares the
results of research on multitasking. I think this title would create
great discussion among faculty members. I'm not sure that I agree with
all conclusions he makes. I find that I am able to stay concentrated and
focused while readings books and e-books on my Kindle reader. I am
sometimes overwhelmed by information coming to me by way of the Internet
through Facebook or my RSS reader for blogs, newspapers, etc. I find
that I'm able to often read a headline and pass up an item. I do have
trouble staying focused on longer blog posts because I am usually more
pressed for time when I'm reading these online items. I realize the need
to be offline, so I've prioritized reading and find other ways to keep
myself from staring at a screen (both computer and television). I think
that the author alludes to the Internet's ability to be addictive, but
he probably doesn't address it forcefully enough. This is an important
book that is certain to be discussed for years to come.