Book Chapters


Sam Harris has contributed chapters to the following books:

What to Think About Machines That Think Book CoverAs the world becomes ever more dominated by technology, John Brockman’s latest addition to the acclaimed and bestselling “Edge Question Series” asks more than 175 leading scientists, philosophers, and artists: What do you think about machines that think? Provocative, enriching, and accessible, What to Think About Machines That Think may just be a practical guide to the not-so-distant future.

This Idea Must Die Book CoverThe bestselling editor of This Explains Everything brings together 175 of the world’s most brilliant minds to tackle’s 2014 question: What scientific idea has become a relic blocking human progress? Each year, John Brockman, publisher of—”The world’s smartest website” (The Guardian)—challenges some of the world’s greatest scientists, artists, and philosophers to answer a provocative question crucial to our time. In 2014 he asked 175 brilliant minds to ponder: What scientific idea needs to be put aside in order to make room for new ideas to advance? The answers are as surprising as they are illuminating.

What Should We Be Worried Aabout? Book CoverWhat should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of (“The world’s smartest website”—The Guardian), posed to the planet’s most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren’t on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.

Thinking Book CoverDaniel Kahneman on the power (and pitfalls) of human intuition and “unconscious” thinking
• Daniel Gilbert on desire, prediction, and why getting what we want doesn’t always make us happy
• Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the limitations of statistics in guiding decision-making
• Vilayanur Ramachandran on the scientific underpinnings of human nature
• Simon Baron-Cohen on the startling effects of testosterone on the brain
• Daniel C. Dennett on decoding the architecture of the “normal” human mind
• Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on mental disorders and the crucial developmental phase of adolescence
• Jonathan Haidt, Sam Harris, and Roy Baumeister on the science of morality, ethics, and the emerging synthesis of evolutionary and biological thinking
• Gerd Gigerenzer on rationality and what informs our choices

This Will Make You Smarter Book CoverWhat scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

Is The Internet Changing the Way You Think? Book CoverHow is the internet changing the way you think? That is one of the dominant questions of our time, one which affects almost every aspect of our life and future. And it’s exactly what John Brockman, publisher of, posed to more than 150 of the world’s most influential minds. Brilliant, farsighted, and fascinating, Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think? is an essential guide to the Net-based world. 

This Will Change Everything Book Cover “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?” This is the question John Brockman, publisher of, posed to more than 100 of the world’s most influential minds. Exhilarating, visionary, sometimes frightening, but always fascinating, their responses provide an eye-opening road map of our near future. 

What Have You Changed Your Mind About Book CoverEdge (, the influential online intellectual salon, recently asked 150 high-powered thinkers to discuss their most telling missteps and reconsiderations: What have you changed your mind about? The answers were brilliant, eye-opening, fascinating, sometimes shocking, and certain to kick-start countless passionate debates. Read Steven Pinker on the future of human evolution
• Richard Dawkins on the mysteries of courtship
• Sam Harris on the indifference of Mother Nature
• Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the irrelevance of probability
• Chris Anderson on the reality of global warming
• Alan Alda on the existence of God
• Lisa Randall on the secrets of the Sun
• Ray Kurzweil on the possibility of extraterrestrial life • Brian Eno on what it means to be a “revolutionary”
• Helen Fisher on love, fidelity, and the viability of marriage
• Irene Pepperberg on learning from parrots. . . and many others.

What Are You Optimistic About? Book CoverToday’s leading thinkers on why things are good and getting better. With contributions by Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, Brian Greene, Richard Dawkins, Walter Isaacson, and Lisa Randall, among many others.

The Portable Atheist Book Cover Christopher Hitchens continues to make the case for a splendidly godless universe in this first-ever gathering of the influential voices — past and present — that have shaped his side of the current (and raging) God/no-god debate. With Hitchens as your erudite and witty guide, you’ll be led through a wealth of philosophy, literature, and scientific inquiry, including generous portions of the words of Lucretius, Benedict de Spinoza, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, H. L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and many others well-known and lesser known. And they’re all set in context and commented upon as only Christopher Hitchens — “political and literary journalist extraordinaire” (Los Angeles Times) — can.

What We Believe But Cannot Prove Book Cover
More than one hundred of the world’s leading thinkers write about things they believe in, despite the absence of concrete proof. Eminent cultural impresario, editor, and publisher Edge, John Brockman asked a group of leading scientists and thinkers to answer the question: What do you believe to be true even though you cannot prove it? This book brings together the very best answers from the most distinguished contributors.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Book CoverFrom Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world’s leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge (, the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, What Is Your Dangerous Idea? takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it.

Mindful Politics Book CoverJust in time for the crucial 2006 Congressional elections, Mindful Politics goes beyond right and left to get to the heart of what matters, and how everyone can participate in real political change. Mindful Politics is not a typical political book. It’s not written at fever pitch, it doesn’t employ the usual good vs. bad binary, it doesn’t get hung up on specific issues or policies, and it’s not even specifically “American.” Instead, this timely book addresses the less-discussed but more important aspects of politics, such as whether religion — any religion, including Buddhism — has something to offer politics. It also discusses how dealing with emotional issues can help the activist move beyond the particulars of legislation and policy, so that personal growth and effective advocacy can occur together. Noted editor Melvin McLeod offers a brief, contextualizing introduction for each of these essays.