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Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
It's undeniabletechnology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson delivers a resounding "yes." The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and analysis. We learn more and retain it longer, write and think with global audiences, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. Modern technology is making us smarter, better connected, and often deeperboth as individuals and as a society.
In Smarter Than You Think Thompson shows that every technological innovationfrom the written word to the printing press to the telegraphhas provoked the very same anxieties that plague us today. We panic that life will never be the same, that our attentions are eroding, that culture is being trivialized. But as in the past, we adaptlearning to use the new and retaining what’s good of the old.
Thompson introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters who augment their minds in inventive ways. There's the seventy-six-year old millionaire who digitally records his every waking momentgiving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life, even going back decades. There's a group of courageous Chinese students who mounted an online movement that shut down a $1.6 billion toxic copper plant. There are experts and there are amateurs, including a global set of gamers who took a puzzle that had baffled HIV scientists for a decadeand solved it collaboratively in only one month.
Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers. It's about everyday users of technology and how our digital toolsfrom Google to Twitter to Facebook and smartphonesare giving us new ways to learn, talk, and share our ideas. Thompson harnesses the latest discoveries in social science to explore how digital technology taps into our long-standing habits of mindpushing them in powerful new directions. Our thinking will continue to evolve as newer tools enter our lives. Smarter Than You Think embraces and extols this transformation, presenting an exciting vision of the present and the future.
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.
Praise for Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better…
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."