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Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062020447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062020444
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

How is the internet changing the way you think? That is one of the dominant questions of our time, one which affects almost every aspect of our life and future. And it's exactly what John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to more than 150 of the world's most influential minds. Brilliant, farsighted, and fascinating, Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? is an essential guide to the Net-based world.

About the Author

The publisher of the influential online science salon Edge.org, John Brockman is the editor of Thinking, This Explains Everything, This Will Make You Smarter, and other volumes. He founded the literary agency Brockman Inc., and lives in New York City.


More About the Author

The founder and publisher of the on-line science salon Edge.org, John Brockman is the editor of THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING, WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?, WHAT WE BELIEVE BUT CANNOT PROVE. He is the CEO of the literary agency Brockman Inc. and lives in New York City.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#64 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#53 in Kindle eBooks
#63 in Books
#53 in Kindle eBooks
#63 in Books

Customer Reviews

The book as a whole is very stimulating.
Yehezkel Dror
All the contributors are incredibly smart but for the reader, less repetition would be preferable.
Hilton Barbour
I won't be finishing this one and would not recommend it.
Anna in TN

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Vogt on February 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What would happen if you gathered the 150 smartest people in the world and asked each of them to answer a single question? Every year Edge.com does just that. "Is the Internet changing the way you think?" was this year's question, and the responses are very diverse. Some say "yes", some say "no"; some say it has had positive effects, others say negative.

Most of the respondents are high-level scientists, mathematicians, or business figures--a disproportionate number considered how the Internet affects scientific research. There aren't any religious leaders on the list, save for three of the "four horsemen" of New Atheism: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. Overall, the book is mainly a response from secular intellectuals. (How has the Internet changed how school teachers think? How about housewives? Farmers? Community college professors? Priests?)

In terms of content, Brockman's book is way too long. Each respondent gets 2-3 pages, so the book is well above 400 total. After just a handful of responses, the contributions begin getting repetitive. Also, many of the contributions seem--at least to this non-scientist--to be little more than intellectual posturing, with respondents trying to prove genius by referencing dense scientific terms or theories.

I wouldn't recommend buying this book. If you're interested, borrow it or head to the store and browse the first couple of chapters. I think the best answer to the book's question comes not from its own pages but from Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows".
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Muhammad Sharnoubi on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
I haven't finished this book yet, but felt I had to write my review now. Maybe this way I can save some bucks for a fellow hoping to find real thought here.

So, here are my comments about the book:

1. First and foremost, there's is no attempt to define or tackle the prerequisite question: " What is thinking?". Such a mistake can be acceptable by lay men like us, but from top notch intellectuals, it's not. This becomes apparent very quickly as the contributors start discussing very different things, sometimes completely unrelated to thought and thinking.

2. Not enough focus. Some of the contributors completely abondoned the question and talked about other things, some even sounded like big kids discussing how the net will improve their online gaming experience!

3. Too trivial. Some contributions were trivial, some were really very silly. I'm sorry for using this term, but that's really the best way to describe it, I'm not making fun of anybody.

4. Repetitive. It was expected for this numbber of contributors to be repetitive. What was not expected, was too be this much and this soon. It seems, the world's smartest people are not that creative.

5. Very selective. We can not, in such a religious world discount the relgious implications of the internet as seen by religious leaders. This is ommiting a big chunck of the equation.

6. Thinking or being. Finally, not expounding on the topic of being as it relates to thinking, one either gets the impression we're just thinking machines (which can be seen as an outcome of the net) or either it comes back to the first point.

Finally, I can say that this book proves that the primary effect ofthe internet is to make our fellow scientists and top leaders...
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hilton Barbour on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I certainly did enjoy much of this book - and it did introduce me to Edge.org which was an unexpected boon - I'd have to concur with earlier reviews. By the half-way point the views and opinions gathered start to feel remarkably similar. Granted I assume all of these were written in a vacuum by the contributors so they'd have no way of knowing the unconscious level of "group think" that was happening. I lay the blame at the editor's feet for this oversight. All the contributors are incredibly smart but for the reader, less repetition would be preferable. That being said, I did find this collection a decent philosophical treatise and it did introduce me to thought leaders and other books i might now have read. Chris Anderson's, Noga Arikha's and Paul Kedrosky's contributions were personal favourites. Do love Chris' idea that the Internet has allowed us to rediscover fire. Genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By thedeppfan1963 on April 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This came in great quality, but is not the best book if you are not very into philosophy. It's a great idea for a book, but did not answer the question to the extent I was expecting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yehezkel Dror on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book includes short responses to the 2010 annual EDGE question "How is the Internet changing the way you think?" Most of the responses, by reputable scientists, thinkers and artists, present fascinating ideas, whether convincing or not. But about a third do not relate to the question, are written in a hurry, present personal projects not related to the issue, or express raw feeling.
The book as a whole is very stimulating. But benefitting from its more profound insights, while avoiding misleading views, requires readers with literacy in studies of the mind and a lot of Internet sophistication.
In substance, this book is a kind of brainstorming with many high-quality contributions, but without any well-based conclusions. This is also a result of the formulation of the question, which is open to multiple interpretations and different understandings. Clearly Internet impacts on some levels of thinking, such as the dictionaries of the mind, and not on others, such as deeper recursive processes. But little more can reliably be states. In any case, it is much too early for Internet to exert significant influence on deeper mental processes. Therefore, empiric bases for studying the question are inadequate, assuming that relevant aspects of the mind can in principled be studies and are not shaped in part by the study instruments, as in quantum phenomena.
All this caveats do not diminish the value of the many ideas presented in the book from which knowledgeable readers can benefit a lot. To such an audience the book is strongly recommended. But readers without required entry qualifications will be either mislead or mixed up or both - similar to what happens to uncritical and ignorant users of the Internet.
Professor Yehezkel Dror
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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