September, 2019

This morning I read a disturbing book review and added the book to my wish list. The review, Can Psychiatry Heal Itself?, was written by someone I highly respect, John Horgan. The book is Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington. I have considerable personal, professional and volunteer experience in the mental health field and this topic is of great interest to me.

Harari’s Mistakes about Mind and Brain Science knows more about consciousness than Harari realizes is an article on Psychology Today by Canadian Paul Thagard. His last sentence reads, "In sum, Harari’s books make interesting observations and conjectures about human societies, but he needs a better understanding of the operations of mind and brain." True, but Paul Thagard also needs a better understanding of mind and brain, everybody needs a better understanding.

Both Yuval Noah Harari and Paul Thagard would do well to read Mind-Body Problems: Science, Subjectivity & Who We Really Are by John Horgan. By the way, the book is free on the web. I have read this book and hope to write a report on it when I find some time. This will probably be a difficult read for most people with no background in philosophy. Importantly, the mind-body problem remains unsolved and no one has a complete understanding of what the mind is.

 A good friend of mine has brought this book to my attention and I have added it to my wish list. Annaka Harris is the wife of Sam Harris who wrote Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, a book that changed the trajectory of my life.  My friend describes the book as an unbiased synthesis on the topic rather than new thought.

From time to time I look at what Bill Gates is reading and reviewing.

Is there a crisis in capitalism?

Ultimately, I agree with him that “capitalism needs to be managed, not defeated.” We should do more to curb its excesses and minimize its negative aspects. But no other system comes close to delivering the innovations and economic growth that capitalism has sparked around the world. This is worth remembering as we consider its future.

Of course, the financial and intellectual elite will continue to support capitalism. But growing numbers of ordinary people, including me, are questioning whether the harms of capitalism can be adequately mitigated. There are numerous books being published on all sides of this issue.

 This book is now on my wish list.

The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition

Tracing the leading role of emotions in the evolution of the mind, a philosopher and a psychologist pair up to reveal how thought and culture owe less to our faculty for reason than to our capacity to feel.

Occasionally I read a review of a book that I would never read or even put on my wish list. Bronze Age Mindset is one of those. But the review, ARE THE KIDS AL(T)RIGHT? is very interesting.

Self-published in June 2018, BAM quickly cracked the top 150 on Amazon—not, mind you, in some category within Amazon but on the site as a whole. This for a book with no publisher and no publicist, whose author is not even known. Sales have been driven, one suspects, by BAP’s largish (>20K) Twitter following.

I got interested in what young people think when I read Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials.