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Making Sense

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  27 reviews


Sam Harris - neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author - has been exploring some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events on his
Audiobook, 1st
Published 2013
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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Audiobooks are very popular right now and I envy all of you who are able to listen to them. If I could listen and do other things, I would get more books read. Also, many people point out how much more personal a book is when the author reads it themself. And then there's the added entertainment value.

However, my brain doesn't absorb audio nearly as well as visual. If I listen to a book, I have to go back and read it because I don't retain the information.  Even watching movies - If there are no
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since 2014, Sam Harris—neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author—has been exploring some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events on his podcast, Making Sense. With more than one hundred million downloads, 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 and ...more
Lauren Rosano
I've never listened to Harris' podcast (I tend to lean towards reading content rather than listening to it), but the topics broached in this book were fascinating. To be completely honest, I'm sure some of the information went over my head - I am not a philosopher, and one of my gripes with this book is that I don't think it's user friendly for the vast majority. I took philosophy courses in college which give me some background to speak of, but there were many concepts and thought processes tha ...more
Stephanie Spafford
Sam Harris' Making Sense is for those looking for some intellectual stimulus.

His newest book covers the gamut of current topics relevant to almost anyone. He uses the conversations from his notable podcast to form the basis of his book. As he says, by putting it into writing it gives both him and his interviewees the time to reflect and refine their arguments. I particularly loved his conversations on race in America and consciousness.

While this book didn't make me want to stay up all night re
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been listening to Sam’s podcast for years now and it’s been one hell of a journey. I remember when he mentioned putting together a book on some of his favourite conversations from the podcast, which perked my initial interest. I wasn’t disappointed. The conversations in here are fascinating, even though they are copied from the already existing content on the podcast. Reading things slowly really gives you an opportunity to take stock in the conversation in comparison to listening to a conv ...more
Al Bità
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I, for one, am grateful to Sam Harris for favouring us with this hard-copy access to a number of his podcasts. As Harris himself says, this provides the reader with a greater control over the subjects discussed, especially in regard to the details of the topic under discussion. The current popularity of podcasts is increasing exponentially, it seems, and they provide outlets for many to express and disseminate their views readily and extensively. Whether this is a good thing or not is a moot poi ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liked this a lot. Harris is smart and clever and interested in a lot of the same things I am - but something about his attitude often bugs me. I’ve read several of his books, but I think I really like him in this format better, having interesting discussions with other people. And they’re definitely discussions, not interviews.
Ben Rogers
It was good. Just not particularly the content I was expecting. I went in thinking it would be like Tools of Titans, but it didn't resonate as well as ToT, likely due to the format of the conversations mostly transcripts from podcasts and not particularly summarized per se.

Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I certainly don't agree with everything Sam Harris says, but I feel that his desire to intellectually challenge is generally well thought out and it is interesting to read through this. If you have listened to the podcast, you will know the premise and probably much of the material, but if he is new to you or you are a fan of the podcast, this is a good read.
Elena Diaconu
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been following Sam Harris for a while and have read a couple if His books, The End of Faith and Letters to a Christian Nation, with yet another couple on my to read list.
He is a brilliant mind and what I like most about his writing is the clarity of his message while using highly complex language. He takes very complicated ideas and issues from a couple different domains, mostly philosophy and neuroscience, and tries(successfully in my books) to weave an image that is clear enough for eve
Daniel Hageman
A fun trip through memory lane of a few of the old podcast episodes. It felt a little disjointed at times moving between topics/episodes, but overall seemed to do a decent job of taking deep dive into relevant topics without too much overlap. Also, it's quite easy to progress through written/audiobooks when they are dialogue-based, so the length of this shouldn't be intimidating to anyone, especially those newer to Sam's work and looking to familiarize themselves with his major topics of interes ...more
Giles Field
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

OK, I’m biased - I’m a huge fan of Harris and have been for many years. This book consists of edited transcripts from a handful of his best conversations lifted from his ‘Making Sense’ podcast. There’s some great ones here, I loved Nick Bostrom, Glenn Loury and Timothy Snyder’s contributions in particular. (I think I’m going to seek out Snyder’s ‘On Tyranny’ very soon in fact).
There’s something nice about reifying, or at least making less ephemeral, these podcasts. I’ve also been a big fan of th
Clint Carlson
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Way more than a "best of". This is carefully curated to create a document of where we came from and where we are going. Bravo.
Craig Rimmer
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very stimulating book that poses existential questions related to whether we are in a simulation, living in a multiverse, have free will, whether consciousness is important and whether AI will destroy the Universe. One discussion focussed on technology that helps to rewire our brains and make us more intelligent and technology that makes us more dependent and stupid; this book and the conversations had within it definitely fall into the brain rewiring for good category. You may not understand ...more
Mike Fridman
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sam Harris the neuroscientist os interested in topics such as consciousness, mesitation, evolution and ethics, artificial intelligence and broader philosophical questions that include elements of physics and theoretical science. So I can't blame the guy for making this book mostly about those issues. I enjoyed his conversation with Sopolsky and Kahneman. But I was left wanting more of his insightful analysis of the culture, the type of conversations he had with Timothy Snyder and Glen Lowry. The ...more
Tom Fencl
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I’m a huge fan of the Making Sense podcast. The topics are extremely interesting and relevant and the lineup of speakers is first class.

That said, turning the transcript — however carefully edited — into a book is not the same as either listening to it or reading a written word by these extremely smart and eloquent people. For most part, I tend to use these conversations as an introduction and recommendation to read those authors’ books which is generally very satisfying experience. Take
Brian Mikołajczyk
Philosopher and Neuroscientist Sam Harris publishes a collection of his Best Of from his Making Sense (formerly Waking Up) podcast. Guests include Max Tegmark, Timothy Snyder, Nick Bostrom, Daniel Kahneman, and Dave Deutsch among others.
The conversations are very interesting and form some of Sam's best interactions.
Brad Jones
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although the dialogues between super intelligent individuals were about 85% over my head, the 15% that was comprehensible to me was worth the read. I give the book five stars for its revelations about extremely complex subject matter. Sam Harris is a brilliant and expressive thinker.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found it quite challenging at parts but incredibly insightful and rewarding read.
Sep 13, 2020 added it
Not rating since I cherry picked which chapters to read and skimmed the rest.
Sam Howard
Heavy going. Think I understood possibly three sentences in total.
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
The content is superb if you don't have access to the podcast, but reading dialogue is not my preference over hearing it.
Mark Donovan
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Some of my favorite episodes from the podcast. I liked the ordering of the chapter choices, seemed to flow logically together.
Martin Winter
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regal-mittel
Although I've heard all of those podcasts in the past, it was still very interesting to go back and read up on some of those conversations, especially fleshed out like that.
Leah Spence
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Joseph M
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything Sam touches is pure gold.
Tony Creech
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book to read a few times - I wish he’d done summaries or afterthoughts at the end of each chapter
Katriona Lord-Levins
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Librarian Note:
There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Sam Harris (born 1967) is an American non-fiction writer, philosopher and neuroscientist. He is the author of The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason (2004), which won the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award, and Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), a rejoinder to the criticism his first book attrac

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“Chalmers: It’s awfully hard to define consciousness. But I’d start by saying that it’s the subjective experience of the mind and the world. It’s basically what it feels like, from the first-person point of view, to be thinking and perceiving and judging.” 1 likes
“There’s something it’s like for me to see the green leaves outside my window right now, so that’s a conscious state to me. But there may be some unconscious language-processing going on in my head that doesn’t feel like anything to me, or some motor processes in the cerebellum. Those might be states of me, but they’re not conscious states of me, because there’s nothing it’s like for me to undergo those states.” 1 likes
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