Waking up

Waking up

A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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. 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" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781451636024
Branch Call Number: 204 H243
Characteristics: viii, 245 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 22, 2020

Have not read...but tentatively recommend, based upon the quality of "Free Will", and to lesser extent, "The Moral Landscape".
Keep an open mind, even against Harris. Have heard that meditation can caused heightened narcissism. But think personal. Like a future of personal medicine. We're all different...by a matter of degree.
If nothing else, this guy can smash out some great prose.

Jan 20, 2020

Its reasonably well read by the author; the most surprising things he wrote were an account of a bisexual drunk Buddhist monk who abused his role and infected over 100 with AIDS; a denigration of Aurobindo (a man admired by clear headed men like Robert Nozick); the author's experience taking 400 micrograms of LSD (normal adult dose is 15-40 micrograms) and nearly dying when he was twenty years old. His criticisms of religion are surprising considering what he reveals about himself: travelling all over to meditate, and taking an array of drugs. Like a hippy who got science-y. Included are introductory meditation lessons.

SnoIsleLib_BrianTH Aug 25, 2018

The audiobook version of this book is a great way to get through what can otherwise be very complex and difficult content. This book provides valuable insight into the human mind, consciousness, and meditation.

Jan 31, 2018

Excellent read/listen.

Dec 03, 2017

A fantastic read for anyone interested in the study of consciousness and the mind. I've been meditating off and on (mostly on) and reading about Buddhism and mindfulness for about two years and this book comes at it from a science based philosophical point of view that helped me explore my mind in a different way than other spiritual/Buddhist texts. It's an easy read with a lot of dry humor and wit. Highly recommended.

ArapahoeStaff26 Mar 22, 2017

In the past couple decades research into the brain has taken off. Sam Harris, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has spent decades in mindfulness practice, is well qualified to introduce the reader to the relevance of these new discoveries for her/himself. The book covers the meaning of spirituality and the fascinating implications of split brain experiments. Harris generously offers guidance on the benefits of mindfulness, how to progress in meditation and understanding the nature of consciousness and the self, and how to recognize phony or abusive gurus.

Dec 29, 2016

Excellent book. You learn what motivates us from a scientific point of view and a road map on how to achieve inner peace. He gives an easy to understand explanation of what are the causes of our discontent and a way to work towards reducing it to live a happier life.
Highly recommended for anyone that has an open mind and wants to explore ways to become more content using eastern philosophical practices without the the dogma that surrounds these practices.

dendem4 Jun 15, 2016

One of Harris's better books in my opinion; does a good job of explaining spirituality with snip-its of meditation exercises. It becomes a little dull occasionally but overall an easier read.

Jan 03, 2016

If you're already a fan of Sam Harris, then you'll certainly want to check out Waking Up. It's as close to a defense of spirituality by a sincere atheist as you will likely ever encounter. It's also a veiled peek into the life of Harris himself, providing a little background info on why the man ticks the way he does.

If you've never heard of Sam Harris, but are curious about the confluence of two seemingly opposite realms, spirituality and atheism, then you can expect Waking Up to be a mixed bag. The discussion ranges from technical descriptions of neurology to philosophical/metaphysical ponderings of the self. Some chapters you will find much more appealing than others. Just not all of it, I'm guessing.

The last chapter, "Gurus, Death, Drugs, and other Puzzles," I thought was a risky, yet brave addition by the author. Without diminishing his phrasing, all I'll say is that it revisits the drug use issue from a point of view I don't recall ever reading before. I'm sure Harris' detractors will use this chapter to slander him for the rest of his career, but smart readers should have no problem separating the argument from an out-of-context sound bite.

Jun 14, 2015

Interesting comment from JudithE. Exploration of psychedelic drugs as useful psychotherapy and agents of awakening is just restarting--very 2015! Harris as a neuroscientist is more au courant than us punters with the relationship between contemplation and mind-altering drugs, and it is his mission to transcend superstition, including the superstition that drug-induced experiences are necessarily phony and transient. Useful information in this book to anyone open-minded enough to receive it. The man does not know everything, but he knows a lot more than most of us, and whatever your perspective, Harris will help you examine your own assumptions even if you stumble across a few of his!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
red_cobra_535 Sep 04, 2014

red_cobra_535 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCPL

To Top