Thank you for an excellent journey away from judgement towards love and understanding.
A well-written, well narrated tome with an ambitious agenda, Out of Our Heads proposes a new "astonishing hypothesis" but falls well short of supporting it. The author explores a number of compelling and, in and of themselves, very worthwhile avenues of cognition research. Yet positioning these studies as evidence in support of his central claim is, in nearly every case, a highly dubious proposition, with most actually being non-sequiturs. Perhaps the theory of innate brain modules (for language, or faces, for instance) is, as the author contends, false. So what? Transposing this (potential) condition to the proposed consequent requires a logic that, despite several attempts, defies discovery. Worse, the author, in one instance, grossly overstates the rigidity and ambition of what he posits to be a competing hypothesis, then knocks down this straw man with embarrassing gusto. Few if any serious researchers claim that all physical reality is just an illusion, literally a construction of the human mind. Yet Noe confidently describe their positions thusly, an inaccurate and unjust simplification/distortion that should be called out. Finally, if the author wishes our assent, he really must stop using, with nauseating repetitiveness, rhetorically-nonsensical catch-phrases he apparently believes to be colloquialisms. Specifically, if I ever read or hear "the world shows up for us" again, I will simply scream. The narrator must have been, in the end, gouging out his eyes at seeing yet ANOTHER appearance of this babblephrase.
All that said, I gave this book 4 stars and mildly recommend it. Much of the content is devoted to fascinating and well-crafted accounts of a variety of brain phenomena and research, and those I thoroughly enjoyed.
An excellent introduction to evolutionary psychology. Well written, in terms both of clarity and style, and peppered with moments of robust humor and startling, albeit tentative, conclusions. The narrator is excellent, sounding well rehearsed (all too rare) and possessed of a delightful sense of humor, served very, very dry.
Worth mentioning as well, the dedication to the co-author was, at least for me, genuinely moving and memorable.
Let me first state a strong endorsement for the scientific content "Wisdom" features. There is much to discover and explore here and I'm looking forward pursuing a number of exciting hypothesis and research efforts of which I'd been heretofore unaware. Sprinkled throughout the talk are an abundance of genuinely worthwhile concepts and lines of inquiry I found highly compelling.
The downside is the author/speaker's style, which sounds like nothing so much as a 7th graders unrelenting run-on sentence, the totality of which is intended as his first blackboard presentation in science class. I winced and groaned as the good doctor droned from unrestrained, apparently totally unrecognized self-congratulations to comically absurd total non-sequiturs presented as stunning revelations. all elocuted with a nails-on-chalkboard style of a breathless dillettante with a limited vocabulary practiced only on a hapless younger sibling immobilized by two broken legs, arms, and a full body cast. I shuddered my way through thanks to those frequent nuggets I found so compelling and uncurled from my fetal position with a long list of hard-won topics for study. I must say I found myself, at the last, liking this man for his sheer enthusiasm but hoping for a voice coach next time. Please.
This book resonated for me as few before, but I've yet to see any comments on the reader, Jordan Bridges. This is among the finest and most engaging readings of a any work I've acquired. While not perfect, Bridges hits Harris' tone and intent time after time, matching him almost note for note. At times angry, sarcastic, witty, emotive and always passionate, this is a very fine effort that deserves recognition and respect. I hope we are lucky enough to hear Harris' next work read by Bridges.
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