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Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better Hardcover – Import, 12 Sep 2013
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The New York Times Book Review:
“[A] judicious and insightful book on human and machine intelligence.”
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings:
“Clive Thompson—one of the finest technology writers I know…makes a powerful and rigorously thought out counterpoint… Thompson is nothing if not a dimensional thinker with extraordinary sensitivity to the complexities of cultural phenomena. Rather than revisiting painfully familiar and trite-by-overuse notions like distraction and information overload, he examines the deeper dynamics of how these new tools are affecting the way we make sense of the world and of ourselves. Smarter Than You Think is excellent and necessary in its entirety.”
New York Magazine:
"It’s straw men everywhere in this debate. Mercifully, Thompson always works from data, not straw."
Los Angeles Times:
“Thompson… a lively thinker… is well-versed in media and technological history, revisiting some of the field's most valuable case studies… His intellectual posture is one of informed optimism.”
“A well-framed celebration of how the digital world will make us bigger, rather than diminish us.”
“[An] optimistic, fast-paced tale about the advent of technology and its influence on humans.”
Joshua Foer, New York Times bestselling author of Moonwalking with Einstein:
"We should be grateful to have such a clear-eyed and lucid interpreter of our changing technological culture as Clive Thompson. Smarter Than You Think is an important, insightful book about who we are, and who we are becoming."
Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Makers, Free, and The Long Tail:
"Almost without noticing it, the Internet has become our intellectual exoskeleton. Rather than just observing this evolution, Clive Thompson takes us to the people, places and technologies driving it, bringing deep reporting, storytelling and analysis to one of the most profound shifts in human history."
Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., Author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World:
"There's good news in this dazzling book: Technology is not the enemy. Smarter Than You Think reports on how the digital world has helped individuals harness a powerful, collaborative intelligence—becoming better problem-solvers and more creative human beings."
Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus:
"Thompson declares a winner in the cognitive fight between human and computers: both together. Smarter Than You Think is an eye-opening exploration of the ways computers think better with humans attached, and vice-versa."
About the Author
Clive Thompson is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and Wired. He also writes for Fast Company, and appears regularly on many NPR programs, CNN, Fox News, and NY1, among others.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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Anyone familiar with Cal Newport's Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World or Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains or any book by Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff knows too well about the negative effects of Internet on our thinking. Nicolas Carr describes this as Juggler's Brain: a mind that can't learn things because it doesn't stand still long enough"
What makes Clive Thompson's book interesting is that it gives an Optimistic(Contrary to most books on the effect of Internet on Human Cognition) and insightful on how the internet is shaping our thinking positively.
The Printed World extended our cognition. It made our learning and cognition linear and abstract. This helped humans to remember less and works on more novel ideas.
However our Brain is a pattern-recognition machine and Internet is dot connecting machine. Our Brain works in non-linear, sporadic manner most of the times. So together and working side by side; these tools can make even amateurs radically smarter(not morally better) even when we are not actively connected to them.
Internet enabled us to externalise our memories, help us catalog important life events in an unlimited manner. Most importantly internet enabled Public thinking for average people. Historically reading is given precedence over writing especially if you're an average non-literary person.
"Reading maketh a full man; and writing an axact man" - Sir Francis Bacon
There is no arguing that writing crystallises you thoughts and gives clarity. And internet has given us ( average non-literary person)all a platform to write for pleasure or intellectual satisfaction (which people rarely do after graduation). Thanks to Audience effect and Generation effect we become more articulate and develop deeper thinking and understanding. Internet also help us learn new things in non-linear, self-driven pace which was not possible earlier.
But what about the bullying and abuses online? To be fair internet didn't create these behaviours. It just gave a new platform. The best way to reduce these behaviour is to follow strict social protocol as individuals and society.
"One of the greatest Challenge of Today's digital thinking tools is knowing when NOT to use them, when to rely on the powers of older and slower technologies like paper and book"
Frankly the Attention economy is eating away our attention span. Social media is a constant distraction. The author argues in order to effectively use these digital tools we should cultivate the practise of mindfulness and follow strict protocols on how we use these tools.
The Author argues we need a New Magna Carta for the Digital Age especially after Snowden revelations on NASA PRISM surveillance and take measures to guard our privacy.
Overall its an optimistic and interesting read. It has opened a new perspective to me on the effects of digital tools and gave me some ideas to play with.
We live in interesting times. Technology, both offline & online, are changing the way we live & think. Information flows freely, some would say too freely. How we process this information, curate it and pass it along has become a great 'literacy challenge' for us.
This book, essentially a collection of essays on key technology themes, helps us navigate & understand this better. 'The new literacies,' 'The art of finding' & 'The connected society' are absolute must reads.
Not just worth a read, but a re-read.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Be you technophile or luddite, this book is worth your time. I read both this book and Nick Carr's `The Shallows' simultaneously and really appreciated both books. Although my personal prejudice is more closely aligned with Carr's, I found this book very helpful in balancing my concerns about technology and the future role that it will play in our lives. While reading this book, I felt that I was getting a glimpse into the not-so-distant future. Wheras 'The Shallows' does a great job in raising awareness of the neurological impact of distracting technology in our lives, this book provided an equally powerful wallop in helping calm some anxieties and excite us with the possibilities of what new technology can do.
Similar to Carr's 'Shallows', Thompson's 'Smarter' provides some new vocabulary to label and comprehend what's going in our internet-saturated world. These new labels, from both books, enable us to think more clearly and more rationally about the modern, digital word.
This is a great example of a well researched "pop sci" book, along the lines of Gladwell, but more evidence based. Clive has an academic style that is fun to read, and will send you too the kindle dictionary occasionally to look up words.
As a NYTimes reporter, he has had access to some facinating people, and also to some facinating robots, i.e. Watson. Overall if you are interested in the impact on technology on memory and knowledge work, grab this book.