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A Brief History of Everything Paperback – February 6, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 2 edition (February 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570627401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570627408
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In the ambitiously titled A Brief History of Everything, Wilber continues his search for the primary patterns that manifest in all realms of existence. Like Hegel in the West and Aurobindo in the East, Wilber is a thinker in the grand systematic tradition, an intellectual adventurer concerned with nothing less than the whole course of evolution, life's ultimate trajectory—in a word, everything. . . . Combining spiritual sensitivity with enormous intellectual understanding and a style of elegance and clarity, A Brief History of Everything is a clarion call for seeing the world as a whole, much at odds with the depressing reductionism of trendy Foucault-derivative academic philosophy."— San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

<p style="line-height: 150%;">Ken Wilber is the author of over twenty books. He is the founder of Integral Institute, a think-tank for studying integral theory and practice, with outreach through local and online communities such as Integral Education Network, Integral Training, and Integral Spiritual Center.

More About the Author

Ken Wilber is one of the most widely read and influential American philosophers of our time. His recent books include "A Brief History of Everything", "The Marriage of Sense and Soul" and "Grace and Grit".

Customer Reviews

Ken Wilber speaks to my mind and soul!
Laura Granville
Finally, I'm amazed that he could string so many imaginary words together and make them sound like sentences.
Tom Wallrich
The book is written in Q & A style, which I thought worked quite well with the subject matter.
Larry Ketchersid

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 218 people found the following review helpful By Roben Torosyan PhD on May 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
[For full review, see forthcoming, Torosyan, R. (2001). A system for everything: Book review of K. Wilber's Brief History of Everything. New Ideas in Psychology, 19 (3).]
Wilber manages to create a sweeping system for everything in life. He describes our spiritual evolution, and our dominant conceptual concerns: East and West, ancient and modern, individual and collective, physical and metaphysical. Wilber writes in an accessible common-sense style. He deliberately avoids a typical scholarly tone. While not free of some pretense at a monolithic voice, his work promotes rich conceptions of self-reflexiveness, interconnection, spirituality and empathy.
Wilber shows how the major theories of biological, psychological, cognitive and spiritual development describe different versions of how to find "the truth." At the outset, Wilber refers to Douglas Adams's best-selling cult novel Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. We desire final conclusions, just as Adams facetiously proposed the "answer that would completely explain 'God, life, the universe, and everything'" (p. xv). In the novel, that answer was "42," highlighting the absurdity of seeking such a final answer.
Wilber's "answer," instead, is a framework for connecting evolutionary currents. At first, he uses a Socratic dialogue, beginning with "KW" for Wilber and "Q" for the questioner, be s/he reader, fan, or friend. Initially, this appears somewhat contrived. The text pretends to be an interview, when it is clearly the author's own highly controlled construction. Upon further reading, however, the stylistic device helps Wilber engage the reader in a dialogue.
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238 of 277 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Gilman on April 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a disappointing book. I had read a couple of Wilber's earlier books and liked them, especially the superb "Grace and Grit." At his best, he can be very good at explaining a nondualistic Eastern style philosophy.

As the title suggests, this book is meant to introduce people to an all encompassing metaphysical system. No one could attempt such an enterprise without a little hubris. But why stop at a little? Wilber is fond of dropping the names of long lists of famous intellectuals whose work he finds consistent with, but subservient to, his system. Reality is sliced and diced in an endless taxonomy of levels, holons, stages, paradigm shifts, quadrants, centers, spheres and fulcrums before being reassembled into a nondualistic whole. Anyone satisfied with scientific explainations is dismissed as a "reductionist" holding what he calls "an insane world view." The science based world view is not so much argued against as it is insulted, dismissed and misrepresented.

The most remarkable thing in this book is it's bizzare description of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. He makes the astonishing claim that very few theorists believe in Darwinian evolution and that, "There is no evidence whatsoever for intermediate (fossil) forms." Wilber maintains it would take at least a hundred simultaneous beneficial mutations for something like a wing to evolve. He claims this would have to occur separately in both a male and a female who would then have to mate successfully. This is a grotesque caricature of Darwinan theory. Anyone who thinks it is adequate should buy this book. Others should read Richard Dawkins "Climbing Mount Improbable." Wilber never names any scientists who advocate this version of evolution for the very good reason that there aren't any.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kurt in Seattle on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I love reading the 1-2 star reviews for Wilber, as they can be classified into two groups, those who don't actually understand what he's saying (I was guilty of this once when reading his "pre/trans fallacy" essay, but I re-read it and finally got around my objections) and those who simply don't know what they don't even know.

Reductionist and materialists -- your arguments are embarrassing and Rupert Sheldrakes book "Science Set Free" takes you to the philosophical woodshed, will you learn your lesson? Of course not. Because trying to explain expanded reality to someone who see's nothing more than atoms and matter arranged in ever more complex meaningless patterns is like trying to explain sex to someone who's never had sex. Someone can write out a really detailed account of every motion, every sensation, every feeling, but if you haven't had sex, then it can't be sugar coated, you dont even know what you dont even know. Sorry if that sounds arrogant, but it's reality. The same is true for people who've never experienced an intense non-dual state of consciousness.

In this book Wilber attempts, I think quite well, to bring every possible worldview and bit of human knowledge into his map and show how it fits, how all of it is useful in some way, and how all of it can be improved with an expanded view and put into its evolutionary context (and he freely admits that because all his work is based on evolution that Wilber 1.0 is not the same as Wilber 3.0, later books correct mistakes in earlier books) For anyone who is tempted to see evolution as confined to the obvious biological sciences, Wilber explains how evolution is everywhere and nothing can escape it (not even his own work).
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