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The Glass Cage

How Our Computers Are Changing Us

Nicholas Carr (Author)

Overview | Formats

At once a celebration of technology and a warning about its misuse, The Glass Cage will change the way you think about the tools you use every day.

In The Glass Cage, best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us.

Drawing on psychological and neurological studies that underscore how tightly people’s happiness and satisfaction are tied to performing hard work in the real world, Carr reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented.

From nineteenth-century textile mills to the cockpits of modern jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, The Glass Cage explores the impact of automation from a deeply human perspective, examining the personal as well as the economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers.

With a characteristic blend of history and philosophy, poetry and science, Carr takes us on a journey from the work and early theory of Adam Smith and Alfred North Whitehead to the latest research into human attention, memory, and happiness, culminating in a moving meditation on how we can use technology to expand the human experience.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35163-7
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 288 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverThe Glass Cage: Automation and Us


Endorsements & Reviews

“Nicholas Carr is among the most lucid, thoughtful, and necessary thinkers alive. He’s also terrific company. The Glass Cage should be required reading for everyone with a phone.” — Jonathan Safran Foer

“Nick Carr is the rare thinker who understands that technological progress is both essential and worrying. The Glass Cage is a call for technology that complements our human capabilities, rather than replacing them.” — Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

“Carr's prose is elegant, and he has an exceptional command of the facts. He serves a varied menu of the ways that technology has failed us, and in every instance he is not only persuasive but undoubtedly right.” — Daniel Levitin, Wall Street Journal

“[A] deeply informed reflection on computer automation.” — G. Pascal Zachary, San Francisco Chronicle

“Smart, insightful…paint[s] a portrait of a world readily handing itself over to intelligent devices.” — Jacob Axelrad, Christian Science Monitor

“Brings a much-needed humanistic perspective to the wider issues of automation.” — Richard Waters, Financial Times

“One of Carr's great strengths as a critic is the measured calm of his approach to his material—a rare thing in debates over technology…Carr excels at exploring these gray areas and illuminating for readers the intangible things we are losing by automating our lives.” — Christine Rosen, Democracy

“There have been few cautionary voices like Nicholas Carr’s urging us to take stock, especially, of the effects of automation on our very humanness—what makes us who we are as individuals—and on our humanity—what makes us who we are in aggregate.” — Sue Halpern, New York Review of Books

Also by Nicholas Carr All

  1. Book CoverThe Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google


  2. Book CoverThe Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains


  3. Book CoverUtopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations


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