A New York Times New and Noteworthy Book
From the bestselling author of Waking Up and The End of Faith, an adaptation of his wildly popular, often controversial podcast
“Civilization rests on a series of successful conversations.” —Sam Harris
Sam Harris—neuroscientist, philosopher, and bestselling author—has been exploring some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events on his podcast, Making Sense. With over one million downloads per episode, these discussions have clearly hit a nerve, frequently walking a tightrope where either host or guest—and sometimes both—lose their footing, but always in search of a greater understanding of the world in which we live. For Harris, honest conversation, no matter how difficult or controversial, represents the only path to moral and intellectual progress.
This book includes a dozen of the best conversations from Making Sense, including talks with Daniel Kahneman, Timothy Snyder, Nick Bostrom, and Glenn Loury, on topics that range from the nature of consciousness and free will, to politics and extremism, to living ethically. Together they shine a light on what it means to “make sense” in the modern world.
Religious skeptic Harris (coauthor, The Four Horsemen) challenges a wide range of political, spiritual, and cultural orthodoxies in this greatest-hits selection from his podcast Making Sense. In his favorite discussions (updated with "many small amendments and clarifications") from the podcast's six-year history, Harris displays his skills as an interviewer and conversationalist capable of clarifying complex ideas and engaging scholars from diverse backgrounds and fields of study on their areas of expertise. Highlights include a conversation with Swedish philosopher and physicist Nick Bostrom (Superintelligence) about existential risk, the Cold War, and nuclear deterrence; Harris's efforts to create a working, contemporary definition of racism and with economist Glenn C. Loury (coauthor, Race, Incarceration, and American Values); and a discussion with biologist and MacArthur "genius grant" recipient Robert Sapolsky (Behave) about the evolution of the brain and the human capacity for good and evil. The result is a collection full of stimulating, nuanced, and deeply informed discussions on both abstract concepts (the future of humanity; the nature of reality) and hot-button current events (the #MeToo movement). Readers will appreciate this accessible introduction to the work of some of today's most cutting-edge thinkers.