Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better

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.

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By Walt (Layton, UT) · ★★★★☆ · August 10, 2013
Old man review. Read at your own risk.

As you get older, the illusion is that time goes by faster. The theory, I think, is that the segment that is passing --- the hour, day, or week --- is a smaller and smaller fraction of the hours, days, etc. that you have lived. Your time is being used up and... ...more
By Aseem (Minneapolis, MN) · ★★★★☆ · December 07, 2013
Whoever came up with the title for Clive Thompson's new book Smarter Than You Think got it wrong. Thompson's book is not so much about how technology is making us smarter, as it is about how technology is enabling those you who use it in new and creative ways to think more efficiently and (someti... ...more
By Laura (Everett, WA) · ★★★★☆ · February 08, 2014
I really liked this book. I had previously read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and found it very odd. Carr went through his book describing how every time a new technology appears everyone freaks out about how it is ruining humanity, but in the end it doesn't, and it ends up being an important too... ...more
By Jen (Ware, MA) · ★★★★★ · February 21, 2014
I wasn't sure what this book would be like, or how I would feel about it, but I heard several recommendations for it on my book podcasts, so I thought I'd try it. And it turned out to be really intresting and serendipitously totally related to courses I am taking in my first semester of my MLIS g... ...more
By Jamie (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · December 10, 2013
I think we've all come across someone clutching their figurative pearls and proclaiming that Twitter is ruining communication, or texting is wrecking youngsters' spelling, or YouTube is stunting people's attention spans. In this book, Clive Thompson provides a nice counterpoint to all this: techn... ...more
By J.F. (London, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★★ · April 04, 2014
Thought provoking, now full of underlines ! Will make you think differently about tech & the potential abundance of our future lives ...more
By Phil (Henderson, NV) · ★★★★★ · September 29, 2013
Thompson's text will and should be added to the pantheon of great tech books. A fascinating mix of research and interpretation, I believe that we will be talking about Smarter Than You Think in the same vein as Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology and other genre-defining books.

I bl... ...more
By Daniel (The United States) · ★★★☆☆ · January 13, 2015
An engaging enough read, but I can't help but feel that Clive Thompson is gearing for a slightly different audience. I basically grew up online, since my parents got Compuserve when I was 12; my present day love of history owes a lot to interest sparked by debates on the Westeros message board ba... ...more
By Peter (Stratford, CT) · ★★★★☆ · February 05, 2014
This book looks at digital technology and its effect on psychology, education, politics, and society and though nuanced in its view concludes that they are a net positive on us. I found some things in this book about how gamers, social media, online education, net activism have had remarkable suc... ...more
By Matthew (Eastlake, OH) · ★★★★☆ · April 04, 2014
Is technology making us dumber? Conventional wisdom says yes, Clive Thompson says no, technology is just making us differently smarter. It will be interesting to see how trends move forward in this respect--although he brackets his story with a comparison of the two most famous gameplaying comput... ...more