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Gary Dean,   https://garydean.id/works/gary-dean-reading-lists

My Current Media Reading & Listening

 books|audiobooks|videos|podcasts|images that I consider worthy of my time

This is a list of media I am consuming at the moment, and over the past years.  Most are audiobooks at the moment.

The subject matter for all the media displayed I consider to be important in some manner, and cover areas including biology, ethics, group theory, evolutionary theory, among others.

The titles appear in the order that I last read/heard them, not in the order than I first read/heard them.  So the first book on the list is probably the one I am reading/hearing at this moment.

I have given each book a crude rating: 5* means highly recommended, 4* recommended, 3* worth reading, 2* possibly prolematic, 1* save your time and money.  If a book appears here at all, then it is generally a 3* or higher.

Note that the 'blurbs' on each book are taken directly from the audible.com site; they are not my words. But I shall, at some moment in the distant future, when I am luxuriating in time and altruistic goodwill, do a review of each of these books.

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Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples - including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own - Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.

In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.

5*

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

For the last two years, I've interviewed more than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. For most of my guests, it's the first time they've agreed to a two-to-three-hour interview. This unusual depth has helped make The Tim Ferriss Show the first business/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads.

"This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and 'inside baseball' you won't find anywhere else.

"What makes the show different is a relentless focus on actionable details. This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first 60 minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis?

4*

The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are

To many, the brain is the seat of personal identity and autonomy. But the way we talk about the brain is often rooted more in mystical conceptions of the soul than in scientific fact. This blinds us to the physical realities of mental function. We ignore bodily influences on our psychology, from chemicals in the blood to bacteria in the gut, and overlook the ways the environment affects our behavior via factors varying from subconscious sights and sounds to the weather.

As a result, we alternately overestimate our capacity for free will or equate brains to inorganic machines like computers. But a brain is neither a soul nor an electrical network: It is a bodily organ, and it cannot be separated from its surroundings.

Our selves aren't just inside our heads - they're spread throughout our bodies and beyond. Only once we come to terms with this can we grasp the true nature of our humanity.

4*

Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe

From the world-renowned physicist and best-selling author of The Elegant Universe comes a captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose.

Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to find meaning in the face of this vast expanse. Greene takes us on a journey from the big bang to the end of time, exploring how lasting structures formed, how life and mind emerged, and how we grapple with our existence through narrative, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and a deep longing for the eternal.

From particles to planets, consciousness to creativity, matter to meaning - Brian Greene allows us all to grasp and appreciate our fleeting but utterly exquisite moment in the cosmos.

4*

Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create

"There is no good reason why human societies should not be described and explained with the same precision and success as the rest of nature." Thus argues evolutionary psychologist Pascal Boyer in this uniquely innovative book.

Integrating recent insights from evolutionary biology, genetics, psychology, economics, and other fields, Boyer offers precise models of why humans engage in social behaviors such as forming families, tribes, and nations, or creating gender roles. In fascinating, thought-provoking passages, he explores questions such as: Why is there conflict between groups? Why do people believe low-value information such as rumors? Why are there religions? What is social justice? What explains morality? Boyer provides a new picture of cultural transmission that draws on the pragmatics of human communication, the constructive nature of memory in human brains, and human motivation for group formation and cooperation.

4*

This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

In This Explains Everything, John Brockman, founder and publisher of Edge.org, asked experts in numerous fields and disciplines to come up with their favorite explanations for everyday occurrences. Why do we recognize patterns? Is there such a thing as positive stress? Are we genetically programmed to be in conflict with each other? Those are just some of the 150 questions that the world's best scientific minds answer with elegant simplicity.

With contributions from Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, Nassim Taleb, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, and more, everything is explained in fun, uncomplicated terms that make the most complex concepts easy to comprehend.

4*

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Disrupting Business, Industries, and Our Lives

In their book Abundance, best-selling authors and futurists Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler tackled grand global challenges, such as poverty, hunger, and energy. Then, in Bold, they chronicled the use of exponential technologies that allowed the emergence of powerful new entrepreneurs. Now the best-selling authors are back with The Future Is Faster Than You Think, a blueprint for how our world will change in response to the next 10 years of rapid technological disruption.

Technology is accelerating far more quickly than anyone could have imagined. During the next decade, we will experience more upheaval and create more wealth than we have in the past hundred years. In this gripping and insightful roadmap to our near future, Diamandis and Kotler investigate how wave after wave of exponentially accelerating technologies will impact both our daily lives and society as a whole. What happens as AI, robotics, virtual reality, digital biology, and sensors crash into 3D printing, blockchain, and global gigabit networks? How will these convergences transform today’s legacy industries? What will happen to the way we raise our kids, govern our nations, and care for our planet?

Diamandis, a space-entrepreneur-turned-innovation-pioneer, and Kotler, best-selling author and peak performance expert, probe the science of technological convergence and how it will reinvent every part of our lives - transportation, retail, advertising, education, health, entertainment, food, and finance - taking humanity into uncharted territories and reimagining the world as we know it.

As indispensable as it is gripping, The Future Is Faster Than You Think provides a prescient look at our impending future.

5*

The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall

In this paradigm-shattering book, biologist Mark W. Moffett draws on findings in psychology, sociology, and anthropology to explain the social adaptations that bind societies. He explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how societies develop, function, and fail....

4*

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the number-one New York Times best seller Outliers, reinvents the audiobook in this immersive production of Talking to Strangers, a powerful examination of our interactions with people....

5*

Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains and governed by precursors of today's states? Find out....

4*

The Laws of Human Nature

Robert Greene is a master guide, distilling wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding, and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves....

3*

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon

This landmark collection is the definitive introduction to the Buddha's teachings - in his own words.... 

4*

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world's most successful organizations - including Pixar, and the US Navy's SEAL Team Six - and reveals what makes them tick....

5*

This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution

It is widely understood that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won't be truly complete until it is applied more broadly....

3*

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species....

3*

The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace

No single invention of the last half century has changed the way we live now as much as the Internet....

5*

The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies....

4*

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science...

3*

Thinking, Fast and Slow

The guru to the gurus at last shares his knowledge with the rest of us.... 

5*

After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age

Some 25 centuries after the Buddha started teaching, his message continues to inspire people across the globe, including those living in predominantly secular societies....

4*

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Yuval Noah Harari returns with an original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity's future and our quest to upgrade humans into gods....

4*

Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth

A sweeping, paradigm-shifting account of how evolution is no longer driven just by nature but also by human choices....

4*

The Botany of Desire

Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a reciprocal relationship....

4*

The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

Called "America's wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use", James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s....

5*

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

An investigation by Michael Pollan into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs - and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences....

3*

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

The follow-up to Pinker's groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: People are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives....

3*

Biology: The Science of Life

One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding biology-a progress to which the period we are living in right now has contributed the most....

3*

Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body

Two New York Times best-selling authors unveil new research showing what meditation can really do for the brain....

3*

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

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....

2*

Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

From one of America's greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness....

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