The best books to help us understand human being

Larry Gottlieb Author Of Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions
By Larry Gottlieb

Who am I?

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to understand how the universe works. I studied physics with a firm belief in scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. However, after earning an advanced degree I found myself no closer to a satisfying answer to my inquiry into the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Then, a personal experience of unembodied consciousness convinced me that my answers would have to come from a reexamination of all that I had believed, an internal journey over decades that has borne fruit in unexpected and magical ways.


I wrote...

Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

By Larry Gottlieb,

Book cover of Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

What is my book about?

One day in 1974, I had an experience that forever changed the way I look at life. And now that I have gone through that door, I find I can never go back.

Join me on my search for a deeper understanding of what it is to be a human being, the truth about our belief systems, the stories we’ve been hoodwinked into believing, and how, by uncovering our fundamental superstitions we can all, ultimately, open that door too.

The books I picked & why

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The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness

By Peter Ralston,

Book cover of The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness

Why this book?

I found that reading this book was challenging but ultimately extremely valuable. I really appreciate the opportunity to be guided through a tour of my own beliefs, so that I can come to more fully distinguish what's real from what everyone else has told me is real. The idea that the self is ultimately a conceptual construction without a basis in reality blew my mind wide open, in the sense that my entire conception of what is real was built on top of this basic misunderstanding. This is why I call my book list the best books to help us understand human beings.


The Physics of God: How the Deepest Theories of Science Explain Religion and How the Deepest Truths of Religion Explain Science

By Joseph Selbie,

Book cover of The Physics of God: How the Deepest Theories of Science Explain Religion and How the Deepest Truths of Religion Explain Science

Why this book?

As a trained physicist, I think this book contains what may be the best explanation of physics in terms non-scientists can understand, as well as how that discipline can be useful in understanding what it really is to be a human being. In particular, I found this book to be quite helpful in grasping how 20th-century physics helps illuminate extra-ordinary experiences. I had one of these experiences, which occurred outside the bounds of our common understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also helps readers understand the gradual demise of scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. I found this book an enjoyable read and it kept my interest throughout.


The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

By Dalai Lama XIV,

Book cover of The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

Why this book?

I fell in love with the Dalai Lama while reading this book. While telling his own story, he makes it clear that the most important knowledge a human being can have is not amenable to the usual idea of scientific inquiry, which typically involves analyzing external phenomena. I learned about how inner awareness yields to contemplative investigation in the Buddhist tradition, enabled by the development of refined attention through meditation. As I read this book, I could feel the love that remains when all judgment about ourselves and others is finally released.  


You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters

By Deepak Chopra, Menas C. Kafatos,

Book cover of You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters

Why this book?

Deepak Chopra has been exploring the relationship between spirituality and science for many decades, and Menas Kafatos’s peer-reviewed research on cosmology and astrophysics, among other topics, is well documented. Their work in this book makes it clear that instead of living in a material, unknowing and uncaring universe, we instead live in what they call a human universe, one that is living, conscious, and evolving. This book makes the case convincingly that we create our own reality in a conscious universe that responds to the beliefs and thoughts that reside in our minds. I have watched Mr. Chopra speak numerous times, and I appreciate his loving and gentle delivery. This book gave me a condensed and satisfying explanation of his worldview.


Tales of Power

By Carlos Castaneda,

Book cover of Tales of Power

Why this book?

For me, this book is the bible. Reading it in the early ’70s, I had never before felt the excitement of exploring a worldview as different from that which I inherited from my culture as it could be. As I read, I experienced a powerful calling to question every aspect of my worldview and every belief I had considered to be just the way things are. I believe it was that calling that allowed me to open my mind and my heart to a more loving and satisfying understanding of myself and of human beings in general. Of all the spiritual teachings I have encountered, none has been more profound in making me a better human being than those in this book.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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