Who Owns The Future? - Jaron Lanier (2014)
This impressed me when it was released. A few months ago I picked up a new paperback edition in Manchester, U.K., and second time round the impact is extreme, probably at least to some degree because it anticipates so much recent global craziness. The world needs more thinkers like Jaron Lanier capable of being both holistic and laser precise. Though Lanier is clear about problems and important principles, the book is modular in a way that invites readers to see resonances and create personal emphasis.
In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jaron Lanier about the economics, politics, and psychology of our digital lives. They discuss the insidious idea that information should be free, what we should want from an advanced economy, the role of advertising, libertarianism in Silicon Valley, the problems with social media, and other topics. I was impressed by the nuances of this discussion and the lack or prescriptive rhetoric. Two creative interpreters of contemporary culture.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
Poured over this for around 3 months and made notes on almost every page. Definitely qualifies for the “if you don’t read it you shouldn’t be eligible to vote” category (😊). Well, it does do a fantastic job of laying waste to objectified “us/them” dichotomies while acknowledging their very real biological, neurological, and cultural foundations. Sapolsky is a highly entertaining writer and gut-busting funny at least once every 10 pages (there are almost 800 in total including index).