"Digital communications technologies are very compelling and provide us with a lot of benefits," says Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows. "And the way the web supplies information in small, simultaneous bits appeals to something very primitive in our minds. Early in our evolutionary history we were rewarded for our ability to quickly shift attention and learn as much as we could about our surroundings. Later, especially with printed books, we learned to focus our attention. Today, the internet is leading us back to a more distracted, scattered, skimming and scanning mode of thought and away from attentive, contemplative thought."