The First Task Of Either A Writer Or A Critical Book Reviewer

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The first task of either a writer or a critical book reviewer is to imagine the audience for whom the work is intended. For us at Interface, that is those interested in the impact of the Internet.
Some works, however, like the one under review, defy easy classification, perhaps because they fail to target an appropriate audience or to speak consistently to it. This might be a sign of a weak book, not actually suitable for anybody; too much of its content may miss the mark. Both a reader’s time and resources are, after all, limited. Our usual approach to such a work would be to simply ignore it.
IBrain, by Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, comes close to being such a book. But this is a book that many readers will want to like; it deals with
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But despite the significance of the topic, this book has some serious flaws. It gropes for a consistent analysis, and seems not to be aimed at any one audience. It focuses, very loosely, upon two groups at either end of the scale of Internet users—savvy “digital natives” and wary
“digital immigrants.” The work attempts to unite these two audiences and to speak to both of them by arguing that each are facing a similar problem, however different its consequences may be to either group.
The modern brain, the authors argue, is forced by increasing use of digital materials into a process they choose to describe as “evolutionary.” It is this latter argument that makes the work most interesting, however much we may question the pragmatic utility of some of the authors’ suggested solutions, delivered rather repetitively and at sometimes tiresome length.
Part of the problem with the book’s unclear focus is that Small and Gorgon often concatenate the television generation and the digital natives in a rather facile manner, by suggesting that television has many of the same negative consequences as does computer use, particularly isolating its rapt audience from wider social engagement. [1]
The book has two core arguments to make, one about each generation. Digital Natives, the authors feel, lack social skills because of their isolation from direct human contact, that is, person-to-person contact. This deprives them of the

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