100 books like Wider Than the Sky

By Gerald M. Edelman,

Here are 100 books that Wider Than the Sky fans have personally recommended if you like Wider Than the Sky. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From my list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Jim Brown Why did Jim love this book?

I have only recently become acquainted with Allan Combs, and consider myself very fortunate to be in correspondence with him regarding my book. As a serious student of synchronicity, I had read his book by that title (written with Mark Holland) and knew him to be a delightful writer and deep thinker on topics dear to my heart. Consciousness Explained Better, which demonstrates Allan’s depth and scope as a teacher of consciousness studies, contributed the perfect excerpt needed to support a concept at the very core of my book.

By Allan Combs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consciousness Explained Better as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Consciousness Explained Better is a unique contribution. This compact volume represents thousands of years of humanity's struggle to understand consciousness from a wide variety of perspectives. It is an up-to-date digest of the search in bite-sized chapters. Allan Combs has managed to encapsulate and synthesize vast bodies of thought and research without dilution. He has made even the most mind-twisting arguments and questions comprehensible, and he has brought forward scholarship and rigorous inquiry in language that speaks to the heart as well as the head. This book satisfies with its comprehensiveness yet intrigues with all that still remains enigmatic. It…


Book cover of Rhythms of the Brain

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From my list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Jim Brown Why did Jim love this book?

Of the dozens of books on neuroscience that I have in my library, I consider this one the most comprehensive and authoritative. I quote passages from it extensively in my own bookIts scope and richness qualify it as a primary text for neuroscience students. Buzsáki has enabled me to understand some of the most intricate structures and functions of the human brain.

By Gyorgy Buzsaki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rhythms of the Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Studies of mechanisms in the brain that allow complicated things to happen in a coordinated fashion have produced some of the most spectacular discoveries in neuroscience. This book provides eloquent support for the idea that spontaneous neuron activity, far from being mere noise, is actually the source of our cognitive abilities. It takes a fresh look at the coevolution of structure and function in the mammalian brain, illustrating how self-emerged oscillatory
timing is the brain's fundamental organizer of neuronal information. The small-world-like connectivity of the cerebral cortex allows for global computation on multiple spatial and temporal scales. The perpetual interactions…


Book cover of The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From my list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Jim Brown Why did Jim love this book?

Les Fehmi (recently deceased, to my great sadness) was a mentor of mine from the early days of biofeedback training decades ago. He was truly one of the great pioneers in the study of consciousness and the brain. This book, co-authored with Jim Robbins, is a succinct presentation of his brilliant discoveries about the deep mysteries of attention as a gateway to experiencing the most subtle aspects of consciousness in general.

By Les Fehmi, Jim Robbins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Open-Focus Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A breakthrough, drug-free approach to stress and stress-related illnesses—from anxiety and depression to ADHD and chronic pain—using simple attention exercises with powerful results on physical and mental health

This breakthrough book presents a disarmingly simple idea: The way we pay attention in daily life can play a critical role in our health and well-being. According to Dr. Les Fehmi, a clinical psychologist and researcher, many of us have become stuck in "narrow-focus attention": a tense, constricted, survival mode of attention that holds us in a state of chronic stress—and which lies at the root of common ailments including anxiety, depression,…


Book cover of Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

From my list on brain, mind, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

Jim Brown Why did Jim love this book?

In this uniquely structured book, Dan Siegel covers the major elements of interpersonal neurobiology, which is one of the most exciting theoretical constructs currently available. Siegel and I are definitely on the same page in applying complex dynamical systems theory to the understanding of mind/body integration, consciousness, and the essential role of interpersonal relationships in healthy human development.

By Daniel J. Siegel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many fields have explored the nature of mental life from psychology to psychiatry, literature to linguistics. Yet no common "framework" where each of these important perspectives can be honored and integrated with one another has been created in which a person seeking their collective wisdom can find answers to some basic questions, such as, What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? How do we know things, how are we conscious of ourselves? What is the mind? What makes a mind healthy or unwell? And, perhaps most importantly: What is the connection among the mind, the brain, and…


Book cover of The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size

Brian J. McVeigh Author Of The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes: Ancient Languages, Sacred Visions, and Forgotten Mentalities

From my list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by how the human mind adapts, both individually and through history. Julian Jaynes, who taught me while pursuing my PhD in anthropology from Princeton University, provided me with a theoretical framework to explore how the personal and cultural configure each other. Jaynes inspired me to publish on psychotherapeutics, the history of Japanese psychology, linguistics, education, nationalism, the origin of religion, the Bible, ancient Egypt, popular culture, and changing definitions of self, time, and space. My interests have taken me to China and Japan, where I lived for many years. I taught at the University of Arizona and currently work as a licensed mental health counselor. 

Brian's book list on the bicameral mind, mentality, and consciousness

Brian J. McVeigh Why did Brian love this book?

Supported by a wide range of examples drawn from various disciplines, this book demonstrates how we are only conscious of a small amount of what our hidden psychological machinery manufactures nonconsciously.

This work provides a key perspective needed to appreciate Julian Jaynes’s theory of consciousness and, thus his ideas on bicameral mentality. 

By Tor Norretranders,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The User Illusion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As John Casti wrote, "Finally, a book that really does explain consciousness." This groundbreaking work by Denmark's leading science writer draws on psychology, evolutionary biology, information theory, and other disciplines to argue its revolutionary point: that consciousness represents only an infinitesimal fraction of our ability to process information. Although we are unaware of it, our brains sift through and discard billions of pieces of data in order to allow us to understand the world around us. In fact, most of what we call thought is actually the unconscious discarding of information. What our consciousness rejects constitutes the most valuable part…


Book cover of The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory Of Consciousness

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Author Of Memory Evolutive Systems: Hierarchy, Emergence, Cognition: Volume 4

From my list on mathematical approaches to complex systems.

Why are we passionate about this?

An accident of professional life led us, Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch and Andrée Ehresmann, to meet in 1979. Jean-Paul was then a young physician who was also interested in problems of emergence and complexity. Andrée was a mathematician working in Analysis and, more recently, in Category Theory with Charles Ehresmann (her late husband). With Charles, she shared the idea that: “a category theory approach could open a wealth of possibilities to the understanding of complex processes of any kind.”This idea appealed to Jean-Paul who suggested that we both try applying it to problems of emergence, complexity, and cognition. It led to our 40 years old development of MES. 

Andrée and Jean-Paul's book list on mathematical approaches to complex systems

Andrée Ehresmann & Jean-Paul Vanbremeersch Why did Andrée and Jean-Paul love this book?

This book by G. Edelman played an important role in the development of our mathematical MES theory for complex "living" systems. Our specific application of MES to neuro-cognitive systems, named MENS, represents a kind of mathematical translation of Edelman’s book into Category Theory. 

Specifically, leveraging the categorical concept of a 'colimit,' we expand upon Edelman's principle of the "degeneracy of the neural code" by introducing a form of non-isomorphic redundancy termed the Multiplicity Principle (MP), wherein the system admits multifaceted components. Subsequently, we establish a significant result: if an MES adheres to the MP, the system is reliant not on pure reductionism but rather on an "emergentist-reductionism" as defined by the philosopher and physicist Mario Bunge.

By Gerald Edelman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Remembered Present as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A genuine understanding of how mental states arise from the structure and function of the brain would be, as William James declared in 1892, "the scientific achievement before which all past achievements would pale." Can a comprehensive biological theory of consciousness be constructed in 1990? Any attempt has to reconcile evidence garnered from such diverse fields as developmental and evolutionary biology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, psychiatry, and philosophy.Having laid the groundwork in his critically acclaimed books Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987) and Topobiology (Basic Books, 1988), Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman now proposes a comprehensive theory of consciousness in…


Book cover of Consciousness Explained

Matthew Hutson Author Of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane

From my list on consciousness and how our brain works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a freelance science reporter and Contributing Writer at The New Yorker, with degrees in cognitive neuroscience and science writing. Growing up, I wanted to understand the fundamental nature of the universe—who doesn’t?!—and grew interested in physics, before realizing our only contact with outside reality (if it exists) is through consciousness. Today I cover psychology and artificial intelligence, among other topics. Can machines be conscious? I don’t know. Why does consciousness exist at all? I don’t know that either. But if there’s anything at all that’s magic in the universe, it’s consciousness.

Matthew's book list on consciousness and how our brain works

Matthew Hutson Why did Matthew love this book?

We tend to picture an observer inside our heads experiencing consciousness as if watching a movie. But that just pushes explanation back a level: What’s inside that observer? The prolific philosopher Daniel Dennett dismantles many common intuitions about awareness, showing them to be illusions hiding the intricate and deceptive mechanics of the mind and brain. This was one of the first books on consciousness I read. I don’t agree with everything Dennett has to say on the matter, but he’s a great guide to think with.

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Consciousness Explained as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Consciousness Explained, Daniel C. Dennett reveals the secrets of one of the last remaining mysteries of the universe: the human brain.

Daniel C. Dennett's now-classic book blends philosophy, psychology and neuroscience - with the aid of numerous examples and thought-experiments - to explore how consciousness has evolved, and how a modern understanding of the human mind is radically different from conventional explanations of consciousness.

What people think of as the stream of consciousness is not a single, unified sequence, the author argues, but 'multiple drafts' of reality composed by a computer-like 'virtual machine'.

Dennett explains how science has exploded…


Book cover of This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

Sam Ita Author Of Fun with Origami Animals Kit: 40 Different Animals! Includes Colorfully Patterned Folding Sheets!

From my list on creative dads.

Why am I passionate about this?

When my kids were toddlers, there was a Burger King in the neighborhood with an indoor playground. It was glorious. A random guy walked up to me while we were there. “How do you do it, you know, the whole Dad thing” he asked. "Well… you don’t necessarily need to do a whole lot. Mostly just show up. Stick around." Never mentioned that by this time, I’d written and/or illustrated at least a couple dozen children’s books. I asked my nine-year-old daughter how she’d describe me as a Dad. “Most people think you’re creative, but I think you’re pretty average.” That’s good enough for me.

Sam's book list on creative dads

Sam Ita Why did Sam love this book?

I read this book a few years ago. Some of its essays really stuck with me. This is a popular science book, largely having to do with the limitations of popular science. I like to read anything that challenges my assumptions. Spending so much time in Dad mode, your brain can really atrophy. 

My Dad was always interested in science. He never finished high school. In the pre-internet days, he subscribed to science magazines. He read instruction manuals cover to cover. I think he would’ve really enjoyed this book.

There is so much we don’t know. We tend to misinterpret what we do. Too often, we have good ideas and abandon them. This book serves as a reminder that creativity requires diligence and reflection alongside imagination.

At its core, I think these essays speak with indomitable optimism. Things could be better. My kids will grow up to be much more…

By John Brockman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Will Make You Smarter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over 150 of the world's leading scientists and thinkers offer their choice of the ideas, strategies and arguments that will help all of us understand our world, and its future, better. This title includes contributions from: Richard Dawkins, Stephen Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Clay Shirky, Daniel Goleman, Sam Harris, Lee Smolin, Matt Ridley, Mark Henderson, David Rowan, Sir Martin Rees, Craig Venter, Brian Eno, Jaron Lanier and David Brooks ...among others. With his organisation Edge.org, the literary agent and all-purpose intellectual impresario John Brockman has brought together the most influential thinkers of our age. Every year he sets them a question,…


Book cover of Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

David Millett Author Of The Cure: Imagine There’s No Religion

From my list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Millett is a digital artist. He is an accomplished author, filmmaker, and producer of paper and eBooks. He loves writing, painting, filmmaking, composing, and performing music.

David's book list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest

David Millett Why did David love this book?

This book is a joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities. It will excite anyone interested in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying what consciousness is. How does our brain generate conscious thoughts? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

By Stanislas Dehaene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Consciousness and the Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2014 BRAIN PRIZE

From the acclaimed author of Reading in the Brain and How We Learn, a breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain

How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind…


Book cover of Being You: A New Science of Consciousness

Robert Plomin Author Of Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

From my list on genetics and psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my undergraduate studies in psychology, we were never exposed to genetics. In 1970, I began graduate training in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, which was one of the few universities that had a course about genetics in psychology. The course floored me, and I knew right away that I wanted to study genetic influences in psychology. At that time, psychology was generally hostile to the notion of genetic influence. Now, 50 years later, most psychologists recognize the importance of genetics. The DNA revolution is changing everything by making it possible to predict psychological traits using DNA alone. 

Robert's book list on genetics and psychology

Robert Plomin Why did Robert love this book?

I have been suspicious about the construct of consciousness, thinking that it was not scientifically tractable. This book changed my mind. It is written by a hard-core neuroscientist who turned my mental world upside down by showing that perception, both external and internal, is not an inner representation of reality. Perception relies on Bayesian predictions (best guesses) leading to ‘controlled hallucinations’ (including your sense of self!) rather than recreating reality. Consciousness is the ‘red pill’ that allows us to break out of the Matrix. Check out his TED talk with 12 million views.

By Anil Seth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Being You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A BOOK OF THE YEAR
GUARDIAN, THE ECONOMIST, NEW STATESMAN, FINANCIAL TIMES, BLOOMBERG

Anil Seth's radical new theory of consciousness challenges our understanding of perception and reality, doing for brain science what Dawkins did for evolutionary biology.

'A brilliant beast of a book.' DAVID BYRNE

'Hugely important.' JIM AL-KHALILI

'Masterly . . . An exhilarating book: a vast-ranging, phenomenal achievement that will undoubtedly become a seminal text.'
GAIA VINCE, GUARDIAN

Being You is not as simple as it sounds. Somehow, within each of our brains, billions of neurons work to create our conscious experience. How does this happen? Why do…


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