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Waking Up

Narrated by: Sam Harris
Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (896 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For the millions of people who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’ new book is a guide to meditation as a rational spiritual practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

From best-selling author, neuroscientist, and "new atheist" Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the increasingly large numbers of people 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, and no author other than Sam Harris - a scientist, philosopher, and famous sceptic - could write it.

©2014 Sam Harris (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2014, published in the UK by Random House Audiobooks

What members say

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  • sam
  • 10-03-2015

Great insight into the mind

A great insight into the mind using Harris' own personal experiences and science alike. Always enjoy a Sam Harris work.

5 people found this helpful

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Marrying the science with transcendence

Sam Harris has always been a favourite of mine, who has a driving need to bring logical and rationality to a subject that is most known for it lacking of. Loved the concluding chapter.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 19-01-2016

A must read for atheists and religious alike

Harris eloquently articulates what I have experienced and known to be true for many years; that there is a profoundly beautiful and transcendent alternative to blind religious observance that is accessible to us all. To the religious and atheist alike, I say you owe it to your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you to read and comprehend this book.

3 people found this helpful

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Feels like a bit of a Break-up, rather than a Wake-up

...and in this case, definitely a - it’s not You, it’s Me kind of break-up. Because I’m not yet convinced of the primary assertion in this work that the Self is an illusion, and that’s probably on me.

I’m quite a fan of the ideas and intellectual honesty and effort of the author on his podcast and YouTube conversations. However I have come away from my second listen, perhaps in equal measure; a little awakened, a bit disturbed, certainly confused.

Hard yards of persistent rational argument for a seemingly invisible but yet ever-present and apparently instantly accessible true-r perspective on life; based in part on the illusion of the Self...

I’ll go back for a third listen, but like some Tibetan pilgrimage, it’s a lot of time and effort to arrive in a place I’m not convinced exists.

2 people found this helpful

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Timely, insightful and compelling

Listening to Sam Harris's perspective on the need and nature of a secular consideration of spirituality was extremely positive and liberating. His style of address, the stories he chooses to tell and the stability of his arguments made this a very worthwhile and valuable experience.

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I needed a book like this.

I listened to this book in one day . It was both interesting and educational. This book has got me more interested in meditation and it's benefits.

2 people found this helpful

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Shortcut to where you need to be

The strategies presented in this book for meditation and the description of consciousness are the best I've ever heard and for that I can't thank you enough Sam. Anyone and everyone can take something from this book.

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insightful

insightful, with a bit of bios towards NDE & mantras
practical ideas on meditation. highly recommended

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mind blown away

a must read for anyone looking to expand your minds view on this world we all live in

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Hard work but interesting

Sam is in no doubt a smart character however this book for your average self seeking punter may find it a touch laborious at times.

He also sat a little to on the fence for my liking.

Half way through and hopefully he has a strong landing

1 person found this helpful

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  • srocha
  • 08-03-2015

Sam Harris has outdone himself

Great writing by a great mind.
As usual Harris offers a new perspective on things, one which would have been extremely difficult to arrive by oneself.
Thanks Sam, I've enjoyed it thoroughly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 30-03-2015

wow

Simply great. A balanced, useful, contemporary synthesis of philosophy, neuroscience, and contemplative methodology.

Sam Harris is possibly the most reasonable man alive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • James
  • 22-06-2019

Life changing book for those who are both critical thinkers and open minded

It’s difficult to change your worldview. Generally, people don’t. We vote the same way as our parents. We have the same religion. The things that were real important to them are real important to us.

Reading this book does require you to be ready to change your worldview. It also requires you to be open minded. This isn’t because it’s fantastical - in fact it’s the opposite - but Harris’ observations, based in empirical research as much as philosophy really do challenge the reader to think about life and our own minds differently.

I think it will change my life.

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  • Jordan
  • 08-04-2019

Transformative

The best secular approach to meditation and mind maintenance I've come across. A great addition to Sam's Waking Up app, as it explains a lot of the ideas he guides you through in a way that makes me want to revisit them.

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  • Sarah
  • 01-01-2018

A clear headed look at spirituality

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for spiritual fulfilment without religion. Sam Harris talks about the benefits of a contemplative life with insight and reason, identifying and cutting through the mumbo jumbo of religious doctrines.

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  • Brian
  • 11-10-2017

Eloquently written

Highly recommended. A wonderful book that articulates beautifully how Sam has come to observe the relationship between mind, body, and spirit. Sam also challenges us to question the legitimacy of our ideas, and to remove those that do not benefit all humanity. Worth a second, and a third listen.

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  • RomulusRom
  • 27-08-2017

A new way of looking at spirituality

This short, but excellent audiobook was exactly right for someone like me. I have always been intrigued by the power of the mind, having spent a lot of years trying out lucid dreaming and dabbling in types of meditation and hypnosis. Unfortunately, a lot of times when researching said topics, you get to handle unwanted mumbo-jumbo about how the experiences are deeply religious or transcendental beyond what our minds can grasp.

Sam Harris takes an entirely different approach, luckily. He starts with the mind. With consciousness, and the self. He writes about "spirituality" from experience and experimentation, firmly rooted in science and objective research. And that's exactly what is needed in a subject as this: someone who can approach this from both sides, and find a middle ground. The science of Zen, as it were.

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  • Corne Kruger
  • 22-08-2017

interesting but not that helpful.

very scientificly structured which I am happy about and well researched and methodical.

it does not exactly capture your mind or thoughts though.

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  • Sean
  • 16-08-2017

Great read

Insightful, well structured and logical. Which given the topic is no easy task. The task of becoming a better person is greatly enhanced from reading this book

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  • emma
  • 26-03-2017

I have now awoken!

This book is well thought through and written. After practicing mindfulness for 10 years - struggling in many different ways. I now realize that my struggles were with the self of myself. Your precise instruction has allowed me to understand and experience selflessness/non duality. I now see everything differently! Thank you Sam Harris for writing this book.

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  • Lucas
  • 15-02-2015

This is Important.

Possibly one of the most important book you can read about spirituality today.
Performance wise is also top level. I have read Sam's books and follewed him for some time on YT, blog and podcasts. I knew the book will be of the highest quality but the audiobook somehow enhanced the experience even more. Listening to Sam's voice is so much better than merly reading the book in your own voice inside your head...
This is an ultimate journey to spirituality guided by one of the most important figure in line of scientific and spiritual/religion field.
You simply cannot afford to miss it.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Sean Foley
  • 02-10-2016

Waking Up!

Clear, concise, enlightening this is a must read for those becoming aware of their journey.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-11-2018

Wonderful!

I never thought an atheist would write such a helpful perspective on spirituality. I'm not an atheist and have never understood how you could be one and be interested or truly open to spirituality but this book proved me wrong. I appreciated his insight and felt it helped me appreciate atheists more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Marek
  • 23-10-2016

The most important book of the modern era

It should be a legal requirement that young adults read this book. Harris calmy tears apart the very foundation of what people think it is to experience life.

5 people found this helpful

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  • M. Nemirovsky
  • 08-10-2016

Enlightening listen

Beyond the clear and eloquent discussion on spirituality from a scientific perspective, Sam Harris' discourse on consciousness is presented with the open-mindedness and scientific rigour one would expect from him.

I was already on his side as it were before the listen, but also as usual there are many passages of worthy insights to take from Sam's experiences.

2 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 01-08-2016

Thank you Sam Harris

This book is truly brilliant, Sam's idea that a spiritual life can be enjoyed in a secular way is as beneficial as it is important. I don't know if you will ever read this Sam but thank you for helping me sort through the knots in my mind and find peace.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Phineas
  • 19-02-2015

A solid case for a reasonable spirituality

Sam makes a strong and well-argued case for a a thoroughly reasonable spirituality with his uniquely humorous sober candour. He gently nudges you in to a desire to explore..

5 people found this helpful

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  • Hope
  • 06-11-2018

Starting Again

Refreshingly free from the self aggrandisement and spiritually justified obfuscation that so often accompanies spiritual teachers, Sam Harris shines his laser-like mind onto the most intractable questions the modern spiritual seeker is likely to encounter: God, gurus, enlightenment, the self, life after death, right and wrong etc. That rarest of things, accomplished scientist and accomplished meditator, he brings a fresh perspective that, for this rather jaded spiritual seeker, is enough to dust-off the meditation stool to ‘start again’.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Salacious Crumb
  • 04-04-2019

A handful of gems in a bathtub of babble

Sam Harris does a great job of stringing a handful of fascinating topics together in an insightful way. From spiritual Gurus to psychedelics and a pinch of neuroscience. The general theme is mindful meditation but the book quickly goes off topic and struggles to get back on. I enjoyed it, learnt some fascinating things, but dont feel anymore enlightened on my own path of meditation

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 17-08-2019

Feel like listening to a high 16 year old

This book is okay. Nothing new here though. Get a bit more interesting towards the end.

2 people found this helpful