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Waking Up Paperback – 9 Sep 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Simon + Schuster Inc.; Reprint edition (9 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476777721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476777726
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 349,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Harris's book . . . caught my eye because it's so entirely of this moment, so keenly in touch with the growing number of Americans who are willing to say that they do not find the succor they crave, or a truth that makes sense to them, in organized religion." (Frank Bruni, columnist, New York Times)
"The fact is that "Waking Up" lends a different picture of Harris (at least to me): an intelligent and sensitive person who is willing to undergo the discomfort involved in proposing alternatives to the religions he's spent years degrading. His new book, whether discussing the poverty of spiritual language, the neurophysiology of consciousness, psychedelic experience, or the quandaries of the self, at the very least acknowledges the potency and importance of the religious impulse--though Harris might name it differently--that fundamental and common instinct to seek not just an answer to life, but a way to live that answer." (Trevor Quirk, The New Republic)
"[A]n extraordinary and ambitious masterwork. . . . altogether spectacular." (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
"Uber-atheist Sam Harris is getting all spiritual. In his new book, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion," the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality can and must be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. . . . But there is plenty in "Waking Up" that will delight Harris' most militant atheist readers." (Religion News Service)
"The great value and novelty of this book is that Harris, in a simple but rigorous style, takes the middle way between these pseudoscientific and pseudo-spiritual assertions . . . [leading] to a profoundly more salubrious life." (Publishers Weekly)
"A demanding, illusion-shattering book." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Don't read "Waking Up" . . . if you want to be told that heaven is real. Do read it if you want to explore the nature of consciousness, to learn how just trying to be mindful can free you from anxiety and self-blame." (MORE Magazine)
""Waking Up" is an eye opening, mind expanding book." (AA Agnostica)

"A seeker's memoir, a scientific and philosophical exploration of the self, and a how-to guide for transcendence, Waking Up" explores the nature of consciousness, explains how to meditate, tells you the best drugs to take, and warns you about lecherous gurus. It will shake up your most fundamental beliefs about everyday experience, and it just might change your life."--Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University and author of "Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil"

""Waking Up" is a rigorous, kind, clear, and witty book that will point you toward the selflessness that is our original nature."--Stephen Mitchell

"Sam Harris points out the rational methodology for exploring the nature of consciousness and for experiencing a transformative understanding of possibilities. "Waking Up "really does help us wake up."--Joseph Goldstein, author of "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening" and "One Dharma"

"As a neuroscientist, Sam Harris shows how our egos are illusions, diffuse products of brain activity, and as a long-term practitioner of meditation, he shows how abandoning this illusion can wake us up to a richer life, more connected to everything around us."--Jerry Coyne, Professor of Biology at the University of Chicago and author of "Why Evolution is True"

Praise for The Moral Landscape:
"The most compelling strand in "The Moral Landscape" is its unspooling diatribe against relativism." --New York Times
"This is an inspiring book, holding out as it does the possibility of a rational understanding of how to construct the good life with the aid of science, free from the accretions of religious superstition and cultural coercion." --Financial Times
"Harris's is a first-principle argument, backed by copious empirical evidence woven through a tightly reasoned narrative... Harris's program of a science-based morality is a courageous one that I wholeheartedly endorse." --Scientific American
"Sam Harris breathes intellectual fire into an ancient debate. Reading this thrilling, audacious book, you feel the ground shifting beneath your feet. Reason has never had a more passionate advocate."--Ian McEwan
"I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, "The Moral Landscape" has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. Philosophers of mind have already discovered that they can't duck the study of neuroscience, and the best of them have raised their game as a result. Sam Harris shows that the same should be true of moral philosophers, and it will turn their world exhilaratingly upside down. As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris."--Richard Dawkins
"Reading Sam Harris is like drinking water from a cool stream on a hot day. He has the rare ability to frame arguments that are not only stimulating, they are downright nourishing... His discussions will provoke secular liberals and religious conservatives alike, who jointly argue from different perspectives that there always will be an unbridgeable chasm between merely knowing what is and discerning what should be. As was the case with Harris' previous books, readers are bound to come away with previously firm convictions about the world challenged, and a vital new awareness about the nature and value of science and reason in our lives." --Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the ASU Origins Project at Arizona State University, author of The Physics of Star Trek, and, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science
"A lively, provocative, and timely new look at one of the deepest problems in the world of ideas. Harris makes a powerful case for a morality that is based on human flourishing and thoroughly enmeshed with science and rationality. It is a tremendously appealing vision, and one that no thinking person can afford to ignore." --Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate

Harris s book . . . caught my eye because it s so entirely of this moment, so keenly in touch with the growing number of Americans who are willing to say that they do not find the succor they crave, or a truth that makes sense to them, in organized religion. (Frank Bruni, columnist, New York Times)
The fact is that "Waking Up" lends a different picture of Harris (at least to me): an intelligent and sensitive person who is willing to undergo the discomfort involved in proposing alternatives to the religions he s spent years degrading. His new book, whether discussing the poverty of spiritual language, the neurophysiology of consciousness, psychedelic experience, or the quandaries of the self, at the very least acknowledges the potency and importance of the religious impulse though Harris might name it differently that fundamental and common instinct to seek not just an answer to life, but a way to live that answer. (Trevor Quirk, The New Republic)
"[A]n extraordinary and ambitious masterwork. . . . altogether spectacular." (Maria Popova, Brainpickings)
Uber-atheist Sam Harris is getting all spiritual. In his new book, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion," the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality can and must be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. . . . But there is plenty in "Waking Up" that will delight Harris most militant atheist readers. (Religion News Service)
The great value and novelty of this book is that Harris, in a simple but rigorous style, takes the middle way between these pseudoscientific and pseudo-spiritual assertions . . . [leading] to a profoundly more salubrious life. (Publishers Weekly)
"A demanding, illusion-shattering book. (Kirkus Reviews)
Don t read "Waking Up" . . . if you want to be told that heaven is real. Do read it if you want to explore the nature of consciousness, to learn how just trying to be mindful can free you from anxiety and self-blame. (MORE Magazine)
"Waking Up" is an eye opening, mind expanding book. (AA Agnostica)"

A seeker s memoir, a scientific and philosophical exploration of the self, and a how-to guide for transcendence, Waking Up" explores the nature of consciousness, explains how to meditate, tells you the best drugs to take, and warns you about lecherous gurus. It will shake up your most fundamental beliefs about everyday experience, and it just might change your life. --Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University and author of "Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil""

" Waking Up" is a rigorous, kind, clear, and witty book that will point you toward the selflessness that is our original nature. --Stephen Mitchell"

Sam Harris points out the rational methodology for exploring the nature of consciousness and for experiencing a transformative understanding of possibilities. "Waking Up "really does help us wake up. --Joseph Goldstein, author of "Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening" and "One Dharma""

As a neuroscientist, Sam Harris shows how our egos are illusions, diffuse products of brain activity, and as a long-term practitioner of meditation, he shows how abandoning this illusion can wake us up to a richer life, more connected to everything around us. --Jerry Coyne, Professor of Biology at the University of Chicago and author of "Why Evolution is True""

"Sam Harris ranks as my favorite skeptic, bar none. In "Waking Up" he gives us a clear-headed, no-holds-barred look at the spiritual supermarket, calling out what amounts to junk food and showing us where real nutrition can be found. Anyone who realizes the value of a spiritual life will find much to savor here and those who see no value in it will find much to reflect on."--Daniel Goleman, author Emotional Intelligence and Focus"

"Sam Harris has written a beautifully rational book about spiritually, consciousness and transcendence. He is the high priest of spirituality without religion. I recommend this book regardless of your belief system. As befits a book called "Waking Up," it s an eye opener."--A.J. Jacobs, bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically"

Praise for Free Will:
Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Book of Spring 2012
A nimble book, amiably and conversationally jumping from point to point. The book s length is one of its charms: He never belabors any one topic or idea, sticking around exactly as long as he needs to in order to lay out his argument (and tackle the rebuttals that it will inevitably provoke) and not a page longer. Washington Post
A brief and forceful broadside at the conundrum that has nagged at every major thinker from Plato to Slavoj Zizek. Self-avowedly secular, [Harris is] addressing the need for individual growth and social betterment, and [is] doing so with compelling argument and style. Los Angeles Times
Harris skewers the concept of free will that mainstay of law, policy and politics in fewer than 100 pages. Nature
"Brilliant and witty and never less than incisive "Free Will" shows that Sam Harris can say more in 13,000 words than most people do in 100,000." Oliver Sacks"

Praise for The Moral Landscape:
The most compelling strand in "The Moral Landscape" is its unspooling diatribe against relativism. New York Times
This is an inspiring book, holding out as it does the possibility of a rational understanding of how to construct the good life with the aid of science, free from the accretions of religious superstition and cultural coercion. Financial Times
Harris s is a first-principle argument, backed by copious empirical evidence woven through a tightly reasoned narrative Harris s program of a science-based morality is a courageous one that I wholeheartedly endorse. Scientific American
Sam Harris breathes intellectual fire into an ancient debate. Reading this thrilling, audacious book, you feel the ground shifting beneath your feet. Reason has never had a more passionate advocate. Ian McEwan
I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, "The Moral Landscape" has changed all that for me. It should change it for philosophers too. Philosophers of mind have already discovered that they can't duck the study of neuroscience, and the best of them have raised their game as a result. Sam Harris shows that the same should be true of moral philosophers, and it will turn their world exhilaratingly upside down. As for religion, and the preposterous idea that we need God to be good, nobody wields a sharper bayonet than Sam Harris. Richard Dawkins
Reading Sam Harris is like drinking water from a cool stream on a hot day. He has the rare ability to frame arguments that are not only stimulating, they are downright nourishing His discussions will provoke secular liberals and religious conservatives alike, who jointly argue from different perspectives that there always will be an unbridgeable chasm between merely knowing what is and discerning what should be. As was the case with Harris previous books, readers are bound to come away with previously firm convictions about the world challenged, and a vital new awareness about the nature and value of science and reason in our lives. Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the ASU Origins Project at Arizona State University, author of The Physics of Star Trek, and, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman s Life in Science
A lively, provocative, and timely new look at one of the deepest problems in the world of ideas. Harris makes a powerful case for a morality that is based on human flourishing and thoroughly enmeshed with science and rationality. It is a tremendously appealing vision, and one that no thinking person can afford to ignore. Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Spirituality for atheists. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This isn’t the easiest book to read but it’s significance can hardly be overrated. In fact I would go so far as to say that Sam Harris is truly a prophet for our times.

I’m familiar with Harris’s earlier work and appreciated his uncompromising stance on the necessity of moving on from religions based on dogmatic belief in metaphysical truth claims which cannot be objectively validated. The cruelty and stupidity that have been caused by the Abrahamic faiths is nowadays obvious for intelligent people to see (though sadly even “liberals” are all to ready to appease them in the name of politically correct inclusiveness). Unfortunately popular Buddhism isn’t actually much better!

I sensed that Harris differed from other atheists like Richard Dawkins in that, whilst forthrightly rejecting religiosity in all its forms he never belittled the search for transcendent meaning in life.

However I had not appreciated how sincere and committed Sam’s own personal quest was and what balanced and practical conclusions he comes to. As well as seeing through the notion of a permanent self from the perspective of a neuroscientist he has actually done the serious work of intensive mediation and experiential enquiry without which none of us can realistically change. And he assembles a powerful case and agenda for putting this into practice in ways which have the potential to make us happier and freer as individuals and as a society.

I also like the way he was refreshingly open about the possibilities and pitfalls of psychedelic drugs on the path. And I was delighted that he appreciated the work of that twentieth century genius Douglas Harding, who showed us how to live whilst observing that from a first person perspective we don’t have a head!
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I thought 'The End of Faith' and 'Letter to a Christian Nation' were excellent - and I've given many copies to family members, friends and people I hardly know at all. Most of the latter have not spoken to me since. So moving from a blistering attack on organised religion to a celebration of spiritualism always seemed like a tricky brief. It would be for most - but the great thing about Sam Harris is that he simply writes (brilliantly) about what he believes - without giving any quarter to anyone - either to the religious right or to his liberal atheist colleagues. This is what lands him in so much trouble with almost everyone and, to my mind, makes him such a refreshing writer. I found 'Waking Up' harder work than the previous books but no less incisive, erudite and thought-provoking.
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A real masterpiece that I will come back to again and again. Sam Harris' work has single handedly changed my life for the better over the years. If you're interested in mindfulness, meditation, stress reduction or leading a more spiritual and contented life, while not wanting to attach yourself to religious dogma, I can not urge you enough to read this book.

His writing style is consistently eloquent, yet has a simple and non-verbose way of putting across concepts - instead of confusing you with psychobabble, as so many others do in this type of book. Sam takes a scientific and objective look at the practises of the East, which he has learnt first hand, and with surgeon like precision has extracted what is worth knowing, in order for the reader to have a better relationship with reality.

Quiet in the inner chatter of your mind and begin to learn how to be happy and content in this moment, instead of constantly striving to be happy in the future.
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In Waking Up, Sam Harris attempts to explain and guide readers towards, in rational and scientific terms, the common experience at the core of all spirituality, the realisation that the conventional sense of selfhood is an illusion. In my opinion, he succeeds spectacularly, and I was deeply grateful for this attempt to argue for a secular and bullshit-free form of one of the most profound and, I feel, important pursuits available to us.

He supports the notion of a lack of an intrinsic self with some well selected scientific research, which goes into the necessary depth without ever becoming too dense or too academic. However, he is clear that a propositional understanding of selflessness is not enough; spiritual insight must take place in the domain of direct conscious experience, just as fear can be described in terms of neurology, but one must be afraid to truly know the subjective experience of fear. He writes about his experience in meditation, which is not inconsiderable. This was both evident in the lucidity with which he describes meditative experiences and insights, and, I believe, necessary to truly grasp the fundamental importance of spiritual pursuits in life.

Harris rightly points out that transformational meditative insight is available for discovery, and there is nothing unscientific about it. However, these experiences are almost ubiquitously used to irrationally support ludicrous religious and metaphysical claims about souls, the afterlife, magical powers, and so forth. Harris strips away this supernatural paint with which the spiritual lily is all too frequently painted, and points the way towards the fundamental experience itself.
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