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Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion [Kindle Edition]

Sam Harris
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $11.89
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Book Description

For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s new book is a guide to meditation as a rational spiritual practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

From multiple New York Times bestselling author, neuroscientist, and “new atheist” Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the 30 percent of Americans who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history could not have all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds. Throughout the book, Harris argues that there are important truths to be found in the experiences of such contemplatives—and, therefore, that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow.

Waking Up is part seeker’s memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Harris’s book . . . caught my eye because it’s so entirely of this moment, so keenly in touch with the growing number of Americans who are willing to say that they do not find the succor they crave, or a truth that makes sense to them, in organized religion.” (Frank Bruni, columnist, New York Times)

“The fact is that Waking Up lends a different picture of Harris (at least to me): an intelligent and sensitive person who is willing to undergo the discomfort involved in proposing alternatives to the religions he’s spent years degrading. His new book, whether discussing the poverty of spiritual language, the neurophysiology of consciousness, psychedelic experience, or the quandaries of the self, at the very least acknowledges the potency and importance of the religious impulse—though Harris might name it differently—that fundamental and common instinct to seek not just an answer to life, but a way to live that answer.” (Trevor Quirk, The New Republic)

“Uber-atheist Sam Harris is getting all spiritual. In his new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, the usually outspoken critic of religion describes how spirituality can and must be divorced from religion if the human mind is to reach its full potential. . . . But there is plenty in Waking Up that will delight Harris’ most militant atheist readers.” (Religion News Service)

“The great value and novelty of this book is that Harris, in a simple but rigorous style, takes the middle way between these pseudoscientific and pseudo-spiritual assertions . . . [leading] to a profoundly more salubrious life.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Don’t read Waking Up . . . if you want to be told that heaven is real. Do read it if you want to explore the nature of consciousness, to learn how just trying to be mindful can free you from anxiety and self-blame.” (MORE Magazine)

Waking Up is an eye opening, mind expanding book.” (AA Agnostica)

About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing has been published in over fifteen languages. Dr. Harris is cofounder and CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Please visit his website at SamHarris.org.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
173 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Harris Has Real Guts September 9, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an important book in many ways. Perhaps most important because Sam Harris has, for the past several years, been a strong and outspoken critic of organized religion of all stripes. And one thing Harris can do better than almost anyone else, is make his case both clearly and powerfully without any added garbage.

If you've watched his many videos on YouTube, you know the man can make an argument and stand his ground without wavering one iota. And the depth of his research is impressive. If Harris kept his message in this same vein, he would stay safe and continue to be accepted as a credible spokesman for the atheist perspective for a long time to come.

But did he do that with this book? Not on your life. Harris, makes a whole different argument here, one that many may not be familiar with (but that is on display on his blog posts). Religion may be bunkum, he asserts, but spirituality (which may be the foundation of many religions), is a truly worthy pursuit.

No doubt that a great many atheists are not going to like this one little bit. After all, atheists can sometimes be as narrow-minded as believers. For many, spirituality is seen as practically equivalent to religion. But in this book he makes a strong case that nothing could be further from the truth. And he doesn't make his arguments in a detached, completely intellectual way. Some might say that Harris has bought the spiritual kool-aid hook, link and sinker.

Harris is a long-time (25+ years) meditator, seeker after wisdom, student of a variety of spiritual practices and disciple of various teachers and gurus in several Eastern traditions. He most closely aligns himself with the school of non-duality or the direct path to awakening.
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95 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the most important book I have ever read. September 9, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I grew up in a Christian family and then earned degrees in Philosophy and Neuroscience. As an atheist, I've been mourning the loss of faith for years. Just because you want something to be true, doesn't mean it is. Losing one's faith can definitely leave a hole. This is the book that begins to fill the void and emptiness that I've felt from that loss. Thank you Sam Harris. This book will change lives.
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83 of 95 people found the following review helpful
By Ted R
Format:Hardcover
If anything uncontroversial can be said about Sam Harris, it's that his work never fails to inspire strong and colorful opinions from just about everyone who encounters it. Depending on whom you ask, he may be one of the more brilliant thinkers around, a complete hack, or any of a mind-boggling array of subtle gradations in between. All of these views have arguable merit, and there will be many who go into Waking Up with a panoply of preconceived notions about what they might find here. Much has been made of Harris' long-known affinity for meditation and Eastern spirituality, and his perpetual insistence that even the staunchest, most skillful rationalist neglects these at some considerable peril. Another Harris mainstay, most notably exemplified in The Moral Landscape, is a tendency to sharply challenge the conventional wisdom on where the boundaries of scientific inquiry truly lie, in what may at times strike some readers as a maddeningly quixotic attempt to reverse the long-standing unfashionable status of a rather comprehensive form of positivism. It will not shock anyone familiar with the author that Waking Up brings all of these threads together, and the reader's satisfaction with the result, or lack thereof, will follow somewhat predictably, but it would be a mistake to avoid the book on that basis alone.

For those unfamiliar enough with Sam Harris to make much of the preceding paragraph, this volume can be summarized simply enough: it is a warning that most of us are missing important basic facts about how to live well, presented for the rationalist.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book is exactly what I've been looking for. I used to be into tons of New Age woo. Then I became atheist after gradually realizing that most of what I believed had no basis in fact. But, I still valued a lot of what I learned from Zen teachings about non-attachment, meditation, clarity, etc.

Sam expertly separates the wheat from the chaff and provides the most clear information I have ever seen regarding mindfulness. he exposes fraudulent gurus for what they are and dispels the notion that one must accept any supernatural or faith-based beliefs in order to have spirituality in one's life. One can have it with the basic physical universe and gain all the clarity claimed by any guru, without having to have special clothes, chant mantras, or accept notions lacking in evidence.

I think this is perhaps one of the most important books ever written simply because it is so needed right now and the fact that everyone can benefit, regardless of their beliefs. Does it really matter if there is a god/spirit/deity or not when it comes to how you interact with your own mind? It really doesn't.

If you're interested in gaining clarity of mind, having more control over your restless thinking, experiencing a sense of calm, and not being so affected by the tides of your emotions, and you want to do so without Chopra-esque psychobabble, then this book is for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book is a game changer.
Published 18 minutes ago by Josh Cook
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't know I needed a PhD
I was looking for a book on spiritually without religion, not a book that someone who isn't a doctor of the mind can't begin to understand. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sarah Waugh
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is important
This book contains most of my favorite topics: Spirituality/Happiness, Meditation, Neuroscience, and Psychedelics. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Chase
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but missing a detailed guide to practicing secular...
Its always a pleasure to read Sam Harris' work given the clarity and wit of his arguments. He makes a pretty compelling case to decouple the preposterous claims of religious dogma... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Lobz
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, incisive and illuminating... a must read for believers and...
On reading this book, I felt like a person who walks into a store and buys a jar of delicious honey, and gets to enjoy its goodness without having to do any work (be it collecting... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Samrat
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important and Relevant Read
Sam Harris's writing style is clear and concise which is important especially on a subject as contraversial as spirituality. Read more
Published 1 day ago by IntelligentOpenMind
5.0 out of 5 stars Self Trancendence - 101
Since reading "Waking Up" I've taken some time to review the (many) favorable and (occasional) unfavorable reviews of this book to see if I could add anything useful to the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by John Corso
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is an excellent guide to sane spirituality
This book is an excellent guide to sane spirituality, it has cleared my vision about many things. The world needs more contributions like this one.
Published 2 days ago by Diego Domingues
5.0 out of 5 stars Eckhart Tolle for Smart People
I know this sounds like hyperbole, but if Sam's assertion that the self we all experience is an illusion, the implications could simply not be more significant, and Waking Up will... Read more
Published 2 days ago by D. Rathbone
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and provides us with the greatest gems. Anyone with experience in...
Harris' filters out the chaff of centuries of practice and provides us with the greatest gems. Anyone with experience in piercing the ego illusion will find this book refreshing,... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Zach
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More About the Author

Sam Harris is the author of the bestselling books, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His latest book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, will be published 9/9/14.

Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, Newsweek, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Mr. Harris is a cofounder and the CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

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