Smarter Than You Think

  • by Clive Thompson
  • Narrated by Jeff Cummings
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

How technology boosts our cognitive abilities - making us smarter, more productive, and more creative than ever before. It’s undeniable: technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson votes yes. The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and investigation. We learn more and retain information longer, write and think with global audiences in mind, and even gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. Modern technology is making us smarter and better connected, both as individuals and as a society.
In Smarter Than You Think, Thompson documents how every technological innovation - from the printing press to the telegraph - has 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 adapt, learning 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 moment, giving him instant recall of the events and ideas of his life going back decades. There are the 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 decade and solved it collaboratively - in only one month.
But Smarter Than You Think isn't just about pioneers, nor is it simply concerned with the world we inhabit today. It’s about our future. How are computers improving our memory? How will our social "sixth sense" change the way we learn? Which tools are boosting our intelligence - and which ones are hindering our progress? Smarter Than You Think embraces and interrogates this transformation, offering a provocative vision of our shifting cognitive landscape.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

not quite as smart as you think

Although this author makes some good points about the transcendence of machines into humans, on the whole the book is badly thought-through. Granted, I did learn some things from this author, such as about the wearable computer used to document years of some peoples' lives, a year of tweets which could be used to create a book, and the crowd sourcing phenomenon, I don't need to hear this author's opinion about race relations in the United States. After all, he claims to be a native of Toronto. He puts down racial segregation in the US, although he does not appear to be aware of the issues inherent. After all, how many whites want to be killed in a black neighborhood? And there is very little substance to this book other than what I have already mentioned, despite the hype it received in reviews. In summary, most people who claim to be "smarter than you think" are usually lying about their "smarter" qualifications, be they academic or otherwise.
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- RealTruth "RealTruth"

We are all playing advance chess these days

Originally posted at: A Girl that Likes Books

We are all playing advance chess these days, we just haven't learn to appreciate it

Why I read this book?

I've been hearing about this book in several podcasts I follow. Being in my generation there is no doubt that we are touched by technology and a book that tackles the question to whether this is a good thing or not is always interesting. I got it through Audible and heard it with my boyfriend during commute.

What the book is about?

Thompson shows us in almost 11 hours, how every time a new technology has emerged it has been labeled in very black and white terms, however their whole effect is actually never just one or the other. Passing through cell phones, internet availability and more he defends his thesis that it all depends on the usage you give to the technology you've been given.

First impressions

The book was well researched. It has a nice pace and flow between chapters. In general it has an optimistic view of how we might be using technology.

Reading makes us a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man.

Final thoughts

The book was very interesting, shedding light into several current or recent events, and how technology was used in each situation, such as the Arab Spring. It was funny to hear about TV being the school of the future when it first was invented. On point that Thompson really works on is that one should not talk down or up new technologies right away.

One of the chapters I enjoyed the most it the one about ambient awareness and how social networks can bring change that affect communities in all possible levels of development. Group thinking, the development of "centaur" like creatures (man with computer) were all very interesting ideas that although I somehow knew about in the back of my mind I never sat down to ponder about them. I think the fact that I was listening to this with someone else made the experience even better since at the end of the day we would pause the book and discuss for a good while about it..

Jeff Cummings has a great voice for this non-fiction book.

Literacy has historically focus on reading, not writing; consumption, not production
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- Carolina

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2013
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio