I recently finished Sam Harris's Waking Up video lecture (available on Vimeo) and really enjoyed it. Although I haven't read the book it was based on, it's in my reading queue and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Harris is one of my favourite writers and thinkers and I think he has a great ability to synthesize issues into simple and clear terms while still adding useful analysis (with the sole exception of his thoughts on Chomsky, where I feel he's out of his league). Having gotten a lot of value out of this, I thought I'd share my notes:
The last point, I think was the most important one. In the process of writing my novel, I thought a lot about questions of meaning - what meaning can our personal relationships hold if, at root, they're ultimately about genetic propagation? I eventually realized that meaning is something you can directly apprehend, and even though it does require some objective component, the objective truth of the evolutionary origin of our relationships isn't something that sufficiently undermines the meaning of our experiences enough to render them meaningless.
In conclusion, four out of five stars.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis