Customer Reviews for

Free Will

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that f

A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that free will is an illusion. This book will garner some negative opinions because it contradicts humanity's common sense view that each person is a completely free agent. And nowhere on Earth is this view held ...
A wonderful book that advances the counter-intuitive idea that free will is an illusion. This book will garner some negative opinions because it contradicts humanity's common sense view that each person is a completely free agent. And nowhere on Earth is this view held more sacred than in the United States with its history of rugged individualism and personal responsibility. This makes Sam Harris' *Free Will* all the more important.

At less than 100 pages it seems a bit silly to refer to *Free Will* as an enormously important read, but it wouldn't be silly in the slightest to say so. *Free Will* explains why we think we have free will and why that conception of our agency is wrong. I can think of nothing more central to the way we live our lives than this mistaken belief. Fortunately, changing our understanding of free will wouldn't change the way we live our lives except in important subtle ways, and Harris explains this in his book as well.

I would also recommended reading Malcolm Gladwell's *Outliers*, which brings Harris' argument to life with deftly told stories that amuse as much as they inform.

posted by Stuff_and_Nonsense on March 25, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Will not purchase

Sample consisted of review • was not what I was expecting • A good indication this book is not a good purchase • Oh by the way, I am doing this on my own free will *

posted by S01litaire on March 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Rather Disappointing

    This long essay would have benefitted greatly has Harris actually defined the common sense notion of free will that he was trying to take apart. Instead he seemed to be continually beating the same straw dog with the same stick.

    I also find his argument, though coherent, unconvincing and inadequate. This is disappointing considering that the "common sense" and publically held notions of free will clearly need to be abandoned.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sam Harris is nothing if not interesting. He is someone whose id

    Sam Harris is nothing if not interesting. He is someone whose ideas I can disagree with substantially, but I still hunt out his thoughts, I still read his writings. Free Will is a brief book about a complex subject. The thesis it seeks to prove is that free will is an illusion. The book is short and clearly written, so I do not want to get into a lot of detail here. Suffice it to say, Harris claims that we cannot know why we choose to watch something, why you are reading this now, etc. That if we took the time to really reflect on our experience, our thoughts, we would not be able to answer the question: Why am I reading this blog right now? At least not without a constructed narrative in hindsight. All our decisions, all our choices, all the reasons we choose why we choose something remain impenetrable to a final answer. Genetics. The fortune or misfortune of where, how, and to whom I was born. And so on. How is one free to choose if we cannot know why we choose and why there is good scientific evidence to indicate that our choices are acted upon prior to our knowledge of that choice.

    I'm not sure I buy Harris's argument, but I have not yet formulated a potential reason why. Regardless, it is worth reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    Surely, Mr. Harris would agree, based on the illusion of a merit

    Surely, Mr. Harris would agree, based on the illusion of a merit-based-system, that it is entirely unfair that he possesses a mind and a 
    soul, which he didn't create, that enables him to write and publish books for remuneration. I request that he send all of the reviewers of
    his books a fair portion of his earnings and wealth.

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  • Posted January 2, 2013

    Not his best, but compelling

    I love Sam Harris. He pulls no punches when it comes to how he feels.

    In this book however; he falls short of convincing me that I have no free will. His arguments are sound; although perhaps I am simply too bull headed to accept that I do not make choices of my own.

    You'd really need to read the book to understand why he insists free will is an illusion; and I truly can see his point. But, the bottom line is that it's simply his opinion and doesn't really have any substantial facts to back up his thesis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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