The best book I read last year -- and by “best” I really just mean the book that made the strongest impression on me -- was The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. Like most people, I had some strong intuitions about how my life and the world have been changing in response to the Internet. But I could neither put those intuitions into an argument, nor be sure that they had any basis in the first place. Carr persuasively -- and with great subtlety and beauty -- makes the case that it is not only the content of our thoughts that are radically altered by phones and computers, but the structure of our brains -- our ability to have certain kinds of thoughts and experiences. And the kinds of thoughts and experiences at stake are those that have defined our humanity. Carr is not a proselytizer, and he is no techno-troglodyte. He is a profoundly sharp thinker and writer -- equal parts journalist, psychologist, popular science writer, and philosopher. I have not only given this book to numerous friends, I actually changed my life in response to it. More from A Year in Reading 2011 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.