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It's pub day for THE WORLD BEHIND THE WORLD
Welcoming my second book
The World Behind the World: Consciousness, Free Will, and the Limits of Science is now stocked and available in bookstores across America. Seeing it laid out in displays is pretty heartwarming. Here’s one from the bookstore I worked in growing up. I think the publisher did a gorgeous job on the iridescent cover:
There’s a good chance it’s currently at your local bookstore as well. And I’m beginning to see actual physical copies show up in people’s homes:
It’s been doing well in terms of sales, bouncing around or at the #1 release in a couple categories on Amazon (although you don’t have to sell that many to get to the top of the smaller categories). You can order it here:
Please consider getting it. Frankly, it’s pretty safe for a publisher to put out a pop-sci book filled with reheated insights (“hey, have you ever thought about how the brain is important for consciousness?!”), or that slots easily into a prepackaged formula (“the science of success!”). Simon & Schuster, this book’s publisher, took a risk on something extremely unusual and let me write a book about my own scientific research on literally the nature of reality. Here’s from a recent review:
As an epilogue of sorts to my review, I’d like to reflect on the state of popular science writing and why it’s worth doing. Now, much of popular science writing falls into various traps and ends up being junk. . . Nonetheless . . . if ever the ideas and understandings smelt in the forges of the ivory tower are to be carried off into the world to build it anew, they must be distributed in usable form. In a refreshing way, The World Behind the World transcends the common pitfalls of the pop-sci genre.
A book about consciousness, emergence, and scientific incompleteness, it’s largely based on the work I did in graduate school and as a postdoctoral researcher, and later a research professor at Tufts. Now that I’ve got a canonical version of my thoughts on these subjects down, expect me to be returning to my roots and discussing them more.
If you’d like a taste of what’s actually in the book, from a historical update of Julian Jaynes and how the ancients thought about minds, to a proposal of how recursion makes the Hard Problem of consciousness so hard, to detailing why emergence explains the large-scale structure of science itself, check out this podcast with Russ Roberts at EconTalk, which released yesterday.
We couldn’t possibly cover everything in the book, but it’s still a really great synopsis and conversation.
Reminder I will be doing an event at Jabberwocky Books in Newburyport MA for the book launch on Friday, the 28th, at 7PM
Event page here. I will do some hobnobbing, give a small talk, read a little, take questions, then return to hobnobbing and signing books. Newburyport is a beautiful town to just walk around in and the bookstore is right near the downtown. I’m sure that Friday evening will be lovely there. Please make sure to say hi if you come.
Oh, and Porchlight books is doing a giveaway of TWBTW you can enter—you can find that here.
Regardless of if you end up getting the book, thank you all, truly, for reading me and supporting the work I do. This shimmery thing would never have existed without you.