Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Blowing is Happening in the Mind

Blowing is Happening in the Mind

Published . Tags: books, introspection.

I met up with an old friend while I was in NYC last month, and, as we usually do, we got to recommending books to each other. My contribution was a collection of books about minds that blew my mind, at least a little bit:

  • Hofstadter & Dennett, The Mind’s I. A compilation of essays and short stories on minds, brains, and consciousness.

  • Epstein & Axtell, Growing Artificial Societies. Tactics for using agent-based simulation to model large-scale emergent phenomena.

  • Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind. The father of AI presents a modular, agent-based model of the mind. Minsky’s lectures for the MIT course of the same name are also available through OpenCourseWare.

  • Thomas Seeley, Honeybee Democracy. Fun! This book is arguably about implementing distributed system consensus algorithms in the medium of bees.

  • Robert Wright, Why Buddhism Is True. Not the title I’d have chosen, but a terrific book. Wright reconciles evolutionary psychology with Buddhism and contemporary research on meditation. Learn (some of) the reasons you’re an anxious mess so often!

  • James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games. The goal of finite games is to win, but the goal of infinite games is to continue play. Anything can be framed in terms of either a finite or infinite game: politics, relationships, careers, you name it.

  • Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others. Just a collection of great, thoughtful sci-fi stories. The titular one was made into the film Arrival.

  • Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” Short, but extremely dense. This one’s been absolutely haunting me for the last couple months, and I’ll probably write a bit more about it here in the future.

And, while it’s not a book, Jenny recommends CGP Grey’s Rules For Rulers video.