Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind
by Annaka Harris 2019
About the Author
Annaka Harris is the author of CONSCIOUS: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind. She is an editor and consultant for science writers, specializing in neuroscience and physics, whose work has appeared in the New York Times. Annaka is the author of the children’s book I Wonder, a collaborator on the Mindful Games Activity Cards by Susan Kaiser Greenland, and a volunteer mindfulness teacher for the Inner Kids organization. She lives with her husband, the neuroscientist, author, and podcaster Sam Harris, and their two children.
About the Book
“The AI quest for artificial minds has transformed the mystery of consciousness into philosophy with a deadline. In this gem of a book, Annaka Harris tackles consciousness controversies with incisive rigor and clarity, in a style that’s accessible and captivating, yet never dumbed down.” — Prof. Max Tegmark, MIT, author of Life 3.0: Being Human in the age of AI
“A remarkably focused, concise and provocative overview of the ‘problem of Mind.’ Written with great clarity, she gives readers unfamiliar with the debate a chance to see the fault lines defining modern discussions about the nature of consciousness.” — Adam Frank, astrophysicist and author of About Time and Light of the Stars
“I have read many, many great books on consciousness in my life as a neuroscientist. Conscious tops them all, hands down. It deals with unsolved questions and dizzying concepts with a graciousness and clarity that leaves the reader deeply satisfied.” — Marco Iacoboni, neuroscientist and author of Mirroring People
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“If you’ve ever wondered how you have the capacity to wonder, some fascinating insights await you in these pages.” –Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals
As concise and enlightening as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, this mind-expanding dive into the mystery of consciousness is an illuminating meditation on the self, free will, and felt experience.
What is consciousness? How does it arise? And why does it exist? We take our experience of being in the world for granted. But the very existence of consciousness raises profound questions: Why would any collection of matter in the universe be conscious? How are we able to think about this? And why should we?
In this wonderfully accessible book, Annaka Harris guides us through the evolving definitions, philosophies, and scientific findings that probe our limited understanding of consciousness. Where does it reside, and what gives rise to it? Could it be an illusion, or a universal property of all matter? As we try to understand consciousness, we must grapple with how to define it and, in the age of artificial intelligence, who or what might possess it.
Conscious offers lively and challenging arguments that alter our ideas about consciousness—allowing us to think freely about it for ourselves, if indeed we can.