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4.0 out of 5 stars
112
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 21 February 2017
This book explores several consequences of brain imaging experiments that show areas "lighting up" some time before the subject is able to say that they are aware or concious of making choices.

The author models the self as an observer of a film strip able only to watch the output of the studio of the brain but not able to give any direction.

Hence our choices are made within some black box which we are unaware of and are directed by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The "self" is only watching the outcome and deluding itself into thinking that the film is being created on the fly.

With a bit of practice you can think yourself into this model and I found it a little unnerving. It places responsibility for your actions on some daemon in the black box and makes you (or what you consider you) into a passive observer.

There are lots of books that apply logic and superposition to how minds and brains work, assigning functions and chaining them together to explain the how. I'm always skeptical of using any instrument to study itself since inevitably there must be blind spots.

In this case the blind spot is thinking that our unfree will can delude itself into trying to explain why we have no free will.
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on 13 May 2017
So far so good. The content is of a high standard and is backed by some study. I've noticed other reviews stating agreements on non-agreements with his thesis. The problem lies with the concept itself. Free will cannot be simplified to a basic understanding. What I mean is as a concept it cannot be made as clear as 1+1= 2 can be. Often the fault with psychology and psychological works is that they are so keen to find a exact answer. Now i know, that's often the point of research, but in the end we are dealing with such complex individuals who can change rapidly, and finding a definitive answer for something that fluctuates so much is futile... but my god is it interesting. Its worth the read for another perspective but its also worth reading around.
Now, the reason I have given 3 stars is not for content but more for the finish physical product. Pages have been cut to un-even lengths, making it a pain to flick through the next page, although no content has been accidentally cut. Furthermore, it appears to have been cut with a dinner knife as the pages are not smoothly finished. Also I have some concerns for the cover and if it will hold up to time.
All in all: good content, bad physical finishing.
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on 11 January 2015
I am a fan of Sam Harris books because he gets to the point of matters very well. This book explores our perceptions of what we we consider 'free will' to be. It gives challenging examples of how we assume people should take responsibility for their actions / and when they can't take that responsibility. It concludes with the dilemma of how the human is not totally in control of his actions. A good read!
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on 29 June 2017
Ever seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers? If you did did you have the nightmares? This book makes you think that maybe its true.. without the stupid plants. Who are you? Are you who you think you are or are you who you are made to think you are. Read the book its a must
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on 22 September 2017
Very short, not an easy read. I have become convinced by his arguments, but if you asked me to repeat or explain the reasoning, I would really struggle!
I think more effort could have gone into dumbing down the content a bit - and I don't consider myself to be your average dumdum. I wouldn't mind, but the book's packaging and marketing seems more commercial than the content inside.
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on 19 September 2017
Great book. Very useful insight into the concept of free will. Shame about the delivery times though...
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on 26 April 2017
Audio version is very stimulating to listen to (in the car!). The intricacies of the reasoning will bear repeated listening - which I will surely do. Very well read by the author.
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on 17 August 2017
Why write 100,000 words when you can make your point in 10,000. A great short book.
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on 16 September 2017
Enjoyed this, I agree with his notions and understand his position on why we do not have free will in ways we commonly believe we do. Well worth a read.
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on 11 September 2017
The printing of the book wasn't great, with the pages having badly-cut edges, but the ink was fine and the words, important.
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