Audible Member Since 2003
Sam Harris left no stone unturned explaining his thesis that
The audio by a professional narrator is clear and distinct. But, having heard Sam Harris speak, I was surprised by his stilted and tedious writing style. The subject matter is important, and what he has to say deserves to be heard and considered by all. But Sam Harris could say it all with1/2 the words. The important messages of this book need to be extracted into a more concise and succinct read. Near the end of the book I set the playbook speed to 2x normal just to get it over with. I will continue to seek out Sam Harris' Podcast lectures and debates, but as a writer, he has a style something akin to slow drying paint. Being very pedantic, his writing is not nearly as engrossing as his speaking style.
I think Sam Harris is great. I agree with may of the others about the reader. It would have been much better if Harris had read it himself. I usually don't like books read by the author, but in this case it would have been a better choice. Letter to a christian Nation was a better book.
In general I agree broadly with Harris' views on religion and society.
However, I do not agree with the way he singles out Islam for extensive ridicule. Although religious zealotry is rampant among Islamic fighters and their fellow travelers, let us not forget that our president claims he has a personal contact with Jesus Christ and uses that language to foster support among our home grown zealots.
Moreover the fact is suicide bombs as a tactic of warfare simply work. Typically opponents of American foreign policy have no WMDs and Fighter Jets and ICBMs cannot be defeated with rifles.
If the US military footprint only extended to the US border we (the cannon fodder) would not be terrorist targets.
This is more of a muslim-bashing book than a anti-theist book (half the book is devoted to specifically criticize islam). The author also completely whitewashes the US foreign policy towards the middle east, rationalizes torture, supports the invasion of Iraq, and in general sounds like a neocon. He even advocates killing people for thought crimes (how is that different from what religious nutjobs believe?).
Some good points, but overall it's garbage. I enjoyed Dawkins's books a lot more.
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The narrative suffers from bias. There are much stronger compelling ways of showing the follies of faith instead of reason based on science then was presented in this book. Robert Wright's book, "The Evolution of God" covers the same kind of material that's in the first half of Harris' book, but he puts the topics in their proper context and makes a much more compelling argument (and doesn't weirdly fixate on Islam as this author does).
The book's first half seemed to be pre-occupied with Islam and their inconsistencies. The author would have made a better narrative if he didn't focus as strongly on just one religion. The book came out in 2007 (it's now 2013) and suffers from its being a victim of its time period.
It's low hanging fruit to invoke Noam Chomsky moral equivalence arguments on the Iraqi war and pick them apart and then think you've made valid points about the nature of war against Iraqis.
A reasonable person can be against torture. The author doesn't seem to to think that can be a reasonable viewpoint. I'm not sure how that fits into his overall theme of the book of the unreasonableness of people with faith in scriptures as opposed to reason based on reality.
The second half of the book focused on moral relativism and why it's wrong. Once again, I would recommend another Robert Wright book, "The Moral Animal". The same topic is much better covered by Wright than here.
The narrator does a fantastic job. The writer is actually a good writer. He's weirdly fixated on Islam.
Overall, I was very disappointed in this book. He has so much to work with and could have told a much more compelling story. He let too many of his own prejudices sneak through and mars the overall narrative. I did read to the end. I skipped one chapter, a bunch of Koranic quotations. I don't listen to religious people when they start quoting their scripture to me in person and I'm not going to waste my time listening to a whole chapter of religious quotes unnecessarily.