This cleverly titled book is essential reading for anyone who has ever touched a computer. Far from being an über-geek, Thompson teases out the ramifications of extended computer use on, well, everybody. He recognizes the potentially corrosive effects of the new technology, but his conclusions are not what the typical non-geek might expect.
Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better
Penguin Press HC. 352 pp. $27.95
It turns out every form of mass communication throughout history has provoked hand-wringing. Dire predictions of intelligence drain and boorish manners followed the invention of movable type, the printing press, the telephone (with its “vulgar” Hello?, derived from a hunting call), mass-market publishing, the coffeehouse, and even writing itself. Socrates “worried that [writing] would destroy our factual knowledge” by storing it elsewhere than in the human brain. Did someone say, “Google”?