Title: How is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?
Author: John Brockman
Page Count/Review Word Count: 408
I picked up this book in a discount bin at The Works, which just goes to show that there’s no justice – even four years after its publication, this is still a fascinating collection of insights by some of the world’s sharpest minds, and it hasn’t aged like so many other books about the internet have. In fact, if you’re curious about the answer to the book’s titular question, there’s no better place to look.
John Brockman is actually the editor of the book as well as the organiser of the Edge, a loose collection of prominent thinkers which was created “to arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” These prominent thinkers include such well-established names as Marissa Meyer, Richard Dawkins and Brian Eno to name just a few, and while not all of them are technically qualified to give you an answer, it’s still interesting to see what they think.
There are over 150 individual responses in this collection and so there’s no shortage of answers to be had, and while not all of the respondents could agree on any one thing (they couldn’t even agree on whether the internet actually does change the way you think or not), they do all argue their opinions with some eloquence. For the record, I’m on the side of those who argued that the internet doesn’t change the way you think, but it does change what you think about and what you do with those thoughts once you arrive at them.
There were a couple of minor typos here and there, and so I had to mark my score down accordingly – it seems as though Brockman didn’t have as much time as he would have liked to iron out any flaws, and you’re bound to have a strange collection of formatting to deal with as is when you’re asking over a hundred different contributors for their thoughts.
But despite all that, this is actually a cracking collection and well-worth reading, especially if you’re interested in the internet. Keep an eye out for it in bargain bins and you might get a deal!