The best Daniel Dennett books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Daniel Dennett and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Freedom Evolves

Freedom Evolves

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why this book?

The issues of free will and consciousness are, to my limited mind, inextricably linked. And so, while Dennett somewhat overpromised and underdelivered with his well-known Consciousness Explained (tremendously hard not to underdeliver with a title like that) here I think he’s much more on the money. I think of all the books that I’ve read which address, either directly or tangentially, the issue of how the mind works, this is the one that gave me the clearest new insight into how we might think about, well, thinking. Dennett is a fine thinker and an excellent communicator but he tends to…

From the list:

The best books to get your head around consciousness

Book cover of The Conquest of Happiness

The Conquest of Happiness

By Bertrand Russell,

Why this book?

This is a self-help book with serious depth and substance. Although some of it is dated, the timeless reflections that Russell draws from the humanist tradition of which he was a part contain wisdom that can transform your life. He is strongest on the ingredients of happiness and the last chapter, on the happy person, is still a go-to for me to remind myself of what matters most. 

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The best books on humanism from a life long humanist

Book cover of Consciousness Explained

Consciousness Explained

By Daniel C. Dennett,

Why 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.

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The best books on consciousness and how our brain works

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