The Fabric of the Cosmos PDF Summary

The Fabric of the Cosmos PDFHow many times have you encountered upon a book whose subtitle or blurb claims that everything you know about something – success, economics, the world – is altogether wrong?

Chances are: too many to remember them all!

Well, “The Fabric of the Cosmos” doesn’t need a subtitle or a blurb with such a claim (though it does have the later).

But we guarantee you that’s what you’ll be saying to the many people to whom you’ll give this book as a gift.

In other words: prepare to be shaken to your very core!

Who Should Read “The Fabric of the Cosmos”? And Why?

You may be one of the many people believing that physics is not about everybody and that only those who understand equations should dabble with it.

“The Fabric of the Cosmos,” however, is so abundant with perfect analogies and appropriate metaphors that, in addition to being “a must-read for the huge constituency of lay readers enticed by the mysteries of cosmology,” it should also be a comprehensible read for almost anyone.

Be warned, though:

If you have come here without at least some average understanding of physics, then your whole worldview is about to be radically altered.

Bear in mind that very few things in this book are scientific speculations (and, obviously, they all come with an appropriate footnote).

Most of it is cutting-edge science.

And it’s thought-provoking and, well, breathtaking!

Brian GreeneAbout Brian Greene

Brian Greene is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist, dubbed by “The Times” as “the new Hawking, only better.”

After graduating from Harvard University in 1980, Greene earned a doctorate from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar seven years later. Ever since 1996, he has been a professor at Columbia University.

Published in 1999, his first book, “The Elegant Universe,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize nonfiction and earned a Royal Society Prize for Science Books.

“The Fabric of the Cosmos” appeared five years later, followed by the children’s book “Icarus at the Edge of Time” (2008) and “The Hidden Reality” (2011).

“The Fabric of the Cosmos PDF Summary”

“The Fabric of the Cosmos” is a gargantuan 5-part 600 pages’ long exposition on the nature of the Universe and some of its most eluding secrets.

So, don’t expect a summary which will do the book enough justice.

We’ll just take a brief look at two of the concepts Greene explores – space and time – and tell you why this very sentence is wrong.

On the flip-side, just like Greene’s previous book (“The Elegant Universe”), NOVA adapted “The Fabric of the Cosmos” into a 4-part documentary series hosted by Greene himself.

As you can see from the full playlist, Greene discusses a few more things:

You may know Sir Isaac Newton as the guy who robbed God of his job when he rendered all motion comprehensible and predictable through his laws of motion.

However, that wasn’t the only thing Newton did.

Among the many other, he also initiated the great debate on the nature of space and time.

In Newton’s opinion, space and time were basically axioms, things which exist in and of themselves as absolutes, “without reference to anything external.”

Newton’s life-long archrival, German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, couldn’t disagree more: “space” and “time,” in his opinion, were no more than language tricks, just convenient words to talk about ordering and positioning.

In other words, according to Leibniz, space and time are relational categories, and we can’t think of them in the absence of objects.

It would be as if we’re talking about an alphabet without letters!

Both parties traded blows, but then, in 1689 Newton delivered the most damaging one: the water bucket argument.

The argument is relatively simple: take a bucket filled with water and hung it by a cord. Then twist the cord tightly on itself and release. The bucket should start spinning rapidly.

Now, even though the relative motion at the first stage is the greatest, the surface of the water will remain flat.

After a while, however, as the water starts to spin in the bucket, its surface will become concave. And it will remain so even when the bucket is stopped.

The conclusion?

The concave surface can’t be the result of a relational interaction between the bucket and the water since the water assumes different shapes regardless of whether the bucket is spinning or not.

Leibniz conceded defeat:

I grant that there is a difference between absolute true motion of a body and a mere relative change of its situation with respect to another body.

However, as we found out about two centuries later, Leibniz shouldn’t have: it seems he was the one who was in the right.

First Ernst Mach, in the second half of the 19th century, decided to join the discussion by reintroducing Leibniz’s concerns.

In his opinion, Newton’s experiment doesn’t prove that space and time are absolute, but merely that the water is not moving in relation to its immediate surrounding, i.e., the bucket.

But it can be moving in relation to something else – the fixed stars, for example:

Newton’s experiment with the rotating vessel of water simply informs us that the relative rotation of the water with respect to the sides of the vessel produces no noticeable centrifugal forces, but that such forces are produced by its relative rotations with respect to the mass of the earth and other celestial bodies.

And then came Albert Einstein and simply blew everybody away when he proposed that not only Leibniz and Mach were right, but also that the relativeness of space and time was linked and relational to an absolute: the speed of light.

Think of it this way:

You can measure the speed of an object if you divide the distance it travels over an interval by the duration of that same interval.

However, all experiments suggested that the speed of light is always 671,000,000 mph in a vacuum with respect to any reference frame!

But, how can that be?

Shouldn’t the speed of light from the lights of a moving car be faster than the one from the light bulb over your head: the former moves over a greater distance for a shorter period of time.

Strangely enough – it is not.

And as Sherlock Holmes says, “once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

After Einstein, the thing which remained was that space and time must work together to adjust so that the speed of light remains the same!

And that’s how the idea of spacetime was born, a continuum in which space and time are relative, but together they form an absolute.

The consequences of this are too numerous and mind-blowing to list them in a sentence or two.

But be sure the check them out!

Key Lessons from “The Fabric of the Cosmos”

1.      Spacetime Is as Real as You
2.      Gravity Is a Warp in the Spacetime Continuum
3.      Quantum Mechanics Is Incredibly Strange

Spacetime Is as Real as You

Brian Greene has picked just the appropriate title for his work: “The Fabric of Cosmos.”


Because one of the things we’ve realized during the past century or so is that spacetime is real, i.e., there are billions and billions of particles all around you constantly coming into existence and disappearing.

So, thinking about spacetime as fabric may mean something more than a simple analogy!

Gravity Is a Warp in the Spacetime Continuum

Gravity itself is a consequence of the curvature of spacetime, i.e., a warp in the spacetime continuum created by anything that has some mass and energy.

It is gravity which gives us weight.

So that means that if you put a scale under the feet of an object in free fall, the scale won’t register any weight.

Quantum Mechanics Is Incredibly Strange

We didn’t even get to speak of quantum mechanics.

But that may be for the better, because if we speak of it, who knows – we may disturb the whole field.

Just joking!

But appropriately:

Believe it or not, quantum particles assume characteristics only when observed!

For now, let’s leave it at that.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“The Fabric of the Cosmos Quotes”

Absolute space does not exist. Absolute time does not exist. But according to special relativity, absolute spacetime does exist. Click To Tweet

Observers moving relative to each other have different conceptions of what exists at a given moment, and hence they have different conceptions of reality. Click To Tweet

Our entire existence - everything we do, think and experience - takes place in some region of space during some interval of time. Yet science is still struggling to understand what space and time actually are. Click To Tweet

Scientists have now established that, through the wonders of quantum mechanics, individual particles can be – and have been – teleported. Click To Tweet

The quantum uncertainty ensures that the microworld is a turbulent and jittery realm. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

According to the “Science” magazine, “The Fabric of the Cosmos” is the best exposition and explanation of early 21st-century research into the fundamental nature of the universe as you are likely to find anywhere.

In addition, writing for “The New York Review of Books,” Freeman Dyson – a guy we’ve mentioned here, in relation with another great science communicator – recommended Greene’s book “to any nonexpert reader who wants an up-to-date account of theoretical physics, written in colloquial language that anyone can understand.”

One of the very best books you’ll ever read on any scientific subject.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry PDF Summary

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry PDFAre you in a hurry?

Do you, nevertheless, want to know something more about the universe you live in?

Well, then it’s time for few lessons in astrophysics by none other than Mr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting you the summary for –

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.”

Who Should Read “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”? And Why?

Carl Sagan – the man who made many people fall in love with science in the 1980s – had a habit of saying that astrophysics is the science of humility – in addition to science itself being a character-building endeavor.

Sagan’s widely beloved successor Neil deGrasse Tyson believes in these very same things.

And he shares Sagan’s exceptional capacity of making this clear via illustrative simplification of many seriously complex and even counter-intuitive scientific concepts.

Which is why “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is not only a book about people who don’t have enough time to learn more about the universe but want to.

It’s also about those who have time but don’t want to.

In fact, if you ask us, it is especially about the latter.

Neil DeGrasse TysonAbout Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, popularizer of science, and, since 1996, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, fully reconstructed during his tenure.

An author of numerous essays and books – “Death by Black Hole” being the most famous one up to “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” – Tyson is probably best recognized as the host of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” the sequel to Carl Sagan’s ultra-popular 1980 series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”

Tyson has received numerous awards, including NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2004 and the Public Welfare Medal awarded to Tyson by the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 for his “extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science.”

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry PDF Summary”

It’s quite difficult to summarize a book such as “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.”

Not only because the subjects it deals with are grand on any scale – the creation of the universe, its structure, dark matter, dark energy, etc. – but also because Tyson presents them in a way which makes the presentation dependent on both his style and his analogies.

Once you conceptualized these, you’ll never forget what they are, in fact, standing for and explaining.

As he explains in the preface, that’s Tyson’s very goal: to make you “culturally conversant in [his] field of expertise.”

And, as you can see for yourself in this video, he is quite good at doing that:

Now, we have only about 1,000 words to recount you briefly the history of nearly everything and, of course, we are going to need to rush through Tyson’s presentation.

Which starts where it all started – including time itself.

The Big Bang.

About 13.8 billion years ago, when the universe started expanding from a very high-temperature and high-density state, creating space, time, physical laws and everything else.

Speaking of physical laws – let’s get one thing straight.

Tyson is quite adamant in insisting that most of the things he talks about are undeniably true. “The power and beauty of physical laws,” he writes, “is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. In other words, after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion.”  

So, it’s a fact that the Earth didn’t exist for the first two-thirds of the time the Universe has existed and that it was first formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

Even more interesting, it took billions of years for the earliest plants to appear on the planet and almost a billion more for the earliest apes.

In other words, homo sapiens has been around for no more than, say, 300,000 years, which means only about 0.006% of the time the Earth is around.

And that’s where things get even more interesting: during this time, humanity – basically “stardust brought to life” – has discovered numerous physical laws and has devised hundreds of theories to explain their origin and meaning.

So, it’s basically as if the universe is learning about its beginnings through us!

While explaining Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves and the importance of their first ever detection in 2015, Tyson beautifully summarizes this full circle.

Namely, when the now-detected gravitational waves were generated (by a collision of black holes in a galaxy 1.3 billion light-years away), there were only single-celled organisms on this planet.

And while these gravitational waves were traveling, the Earth would manage to “evolve complex life, including flowers and dinosaurs and flying creatures, as well as a branch of vertebrates called mammals.”

The primates branched out of these mammals, and then – in the last 10,000 years – “a single branch of these primates would develop a genetic mutation that allowed speech, and that branch – Homo Sapiens – would invent agriculture and civilization and philosophy and art and science.”

Then came Einstein and he devised the theory of relativity which predicted the existence of these gravitational waves.

A century later, people developed technology powerful enough to see these waves, and humanity “would finally catch up with the prediction, just days before that gravity wave, which had been traveling for 1.3 billion years, washed over Earth and was detected.”

Now, that’s beautiful!

But, as deGrasse Tyson, demonstrates: it’s merely the beginning.

Since as much as we know – or, as in this case, have probably predicted well enough about the universe – there’s much more that we don’t know.

Take dark matter and dark energy, for example!

They make up most of our universe, and, still, we know nothing about them except for the fact that they exist.

It’s basically as if we know nothing about water.

So, there’s still plenty to learn.

And all of it promises to be a magnificent adventure!

Key Lessons from “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”

1.      You Drink the Water Genghis Khan Once Drank
2.      Isaac Newton Robbed God of His Job
3.      The Cosmic Perspective

You Drink the Water Genghis Khan Once Drank

We mentioned water at the end of our summary.

Here’s an interesting fact about that all-important substance:

Every cup that passes through a single person and eventually rejoins the world’s water supply holds enough molecules to mix 1,500 of them into every other cup of water in the world. No way around it: some of the water you just drank passed through the kidneys of Socrates, Genghis Khan, and Joan of Arc.


Or, maybe, ugh?

Isaac Newton Robbed God of His Job

Even after it was conclusively proven that the Earth is not the center of the Universe, philosophers still believed in some divine presence, because some of the planets’ motions were inexplicable.

Then Isaac Newton came, and he rendered all motion comprehensible and predictable.

What should the Creator do now? – asked the theologians. And if there’s nothing he should do, doesn’t that mean that he might as well not exist?

DeGrasse Tyson – and many other astrophysicists – don’t think that these are difficult questions.

According to them, the facts prove conclusively: even if God does exist, he has absolutely no explanatory value.

The Cosmic Perspective

If you ask us, the most important chapter of this whole book – the culmination to which all other chapters build to – is the last one, “Reflections on the Cosmic Perspective.”

What it all boils down to?

First of all, that “the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

And secondly, that the Earth is a nothing more than a mote. But “it’s a precious mote and, for the moment, it’s the only home we have.”

How important is this revelation, this cosmic perspective of our existence?

Well, let’s see what Tyson has to say on the subject:

Now imagine a world in which everyone, but especially people with power and influence, holds an expanded view of our place in the cosmos. With that perspective, our problems would shrink—or never arise at all—and we could celebrate our earthly differences while shunning the behavior of our predecessors who slaughtered each other because of them.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Quotes”

The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you. Click To Tweet

We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun. Click To Tweet

The power and beauty of physical laws is that they apply everywhere, whether or not you choose to believe in them. In other words, after the laws of physics, everything else is opinion. Click To Tweet

We do not simply live in this universe. The universe lives within us. Click To Tweet

People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the universe. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is mostly a collection of Tyson’s “Natural History” essays published during the decade between 1997 and 2007.

Because of this, most of it may be familiar to fans of Tyson’s work.

Even so, none of it should be boring to anyone: exceptionally well written, full of Tyson’s recognizable wit and even more recognizable analogies, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” is both an accessible and illuminating work.

So – as “BBC Sky at Night” advises – don’t rush through it.

Take your time and savor each chapter.

This book can radically alter your opinion about, well, everything.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary

You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF“I’m no expert” shouldn’t be an excuse to avoid tackling a big problem.

On the contrary – it should be a stimulus.

Because, Tapiwa Chiwewe says in an inspirational 2017 TED Talk, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems.”

Who Should Read “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”? And Why?

A nine-minute lesson in anything is always worth the time.

Hell, you need more just to take a shower!

So, do yourself a favor and skip the rationales in this case: just listen to Tapiwa Chiwewe’s inspiring TED Talk.

Even if you don’t like it, you’ll lose nothing more than 518 seconds!

Tapiwa ChiweweAbout Tapiwa Chiwewe

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a manager at IBM Research Africa with a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from the University of Pretoria.

He began his career in academia, serving as a junior lecturer at his alma mater, but soon he moved on to CSIR (the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), where he worked as a senior engineer in the mechatronics and micro manufacturing group.

In 2015 he joined IBM Research, where he has worked on several large-scale projects, related to solar system design, asset maintenance optimization, and, most relevantly, air quality management.

“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems PDF Summary”

Let’s start this summary with some staggering statistics.

Namely, according to data from the World Health Organization, in 2012, household and ambient pollution was responsible for one in seven deaths worldwide, mostly, of course, in low- and middle-income countries.

Yes, that means that malaria and HIV/AIDS bring about fewer deaths than pollution; and that even in Africa, more children die from air pollution than from, say, childhood malnutrition and unsafe sanitation.

Even more, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, this comes to a huge economic cost as well: almost half a trillion US dollars in 2013 alone!

Now, Tapiwa Chiwewe is a South-African computer engineer, who works as a manager of the advanced and applied AI group at IBM Research Africa, and, really, shouldn’t know – or even, as brutal as it may sound, care about – these things.

After all, there are many people in the world who are much more competent than him in the field and who, consequently and deservedly, earn money from doing just that.

And that’s what Tapiwa Chiwewe believed as well for most of his life.

However, one day, while driving to work in Johannesburg, he noticed “a haze hanging over the city,” and, as he soon realized, this haze was actually “an enormous cloud of air pollution.”

Appalled by the possibility that his beloved city of “bright and vivid sunsets” may be overrun by “a dull haze” in the future, Chiwewe decided to do something.

Of course, knowing absolutely nothing about pollution, the first thing he could do was fairly simple: learn.

And that’s how he discovered the information we listed in the introduction to this summary – in addition to, we suppose, hundreds and hundreds of similar facts.

But, obviously, that wasn’t enough: it merely proved to him that air pollution was a serious problem, and that, if untreated, it may result in an ecological catastrophe of biblical proportions.

So, Chiwewe started consulting city officials and local scientists to get to the bottom of the problem and help them find a solution together.

What he learned during the process was something nobody should ever forget:

Even if you’re not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. That’s the only way you’ll ever know.

So, you already know that this story has a somewhat happy ending.

Unsurprisingly – let us not forget, we’re dealing with a computer engineer here – the happy ending, in this case, is an “online air-quality management platform.”

Designed by Chiwewe and fed with weather and air pollution records provided by the experts, the platform uses AI and ML algorithms to detect and predict pollution trends in real-time.

Its success?

A 120-day pilot program demonstrated “a tight correlation” between the forecasting data and the data gathered on the ground.

In other words, the platform could indeed see into the future!

The benefits are numerous, and it would suffice to merely list them:

Citizens can make better decisions about their daily movements and about where to settle their families. We can predict adverse pollution events ahead of time, identify heavy polluters, and they can be ordered by the relevant authorities to scale back their operations. Through assisted scenario planning, city planners can also make better decisions about how to extend infrastructure, such as human settlements or industrial zones.

Chiwewe’s beautiful point:

The platform was the product of a collaborative effort.

Just as he couldn’t do it without the experts, the experts wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

And he was – and still is – no expert.

So, the next time you come across a big problem – especially one which may affect you or the wellbeing of your children – don’t absolve yourself from responsibility because of a lack of expertise.

As Chiwewe’s actions have shown, you really don’t have to be an expert to help others solve even the biggest problems out there.

Key Lessons from “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems”

1.      Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem
2.      Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems
3.      We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Air Pollution Is a Serious Problem

The World Health Organization attributed almost 14 percent of all deaths worldwide to household and ambient air pollution.

In other words, air pollution is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, malaria, or malnutrition.

It’s a serious problem – and it needs to be solved!

Your Outside Expertise May Hold the Key to Solving Big Problems

Tapiwa Chiwewe is a computer engineer, but he didn’t want to sit idly aside once he noticed the smog-covered skyline of Johannesburg.

So, he contacted experts and government officials to get to the bottom of the problem.

The result?

He learned a lot from them, but they learned a lot from him too!

Namely, that it is possible to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to predict pollution trends.

So, together, they built an online air-quality management platform which basically works the same way the weather forecast does!

And that magnificent thing happened because Chiwewe didn’t want to remain quiet, freeing himself from responsibility with phrases such as “I’m no expert.”

He actually wanted to do something.

And he got the opportunity.

We Should Tackle Big Problems by Collaborating

Just as genius isn’t born in isolation, great ideas rarely emerge where there is no interaction and collaboration.

So, when they read the story of our times, may future generations remember not exceptional men with extraordinary biographies, but united humanity with life-affirming goals and imperishable dreams.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems Quotes”

Even if you're not an expert in a particular domain, your outside expertise may hold the key to solving big problems within that domain. Click To Tweet

Sometimes the unique perspective you have can result in unconventional thinking that can move the needle, but you need to be bold enough to try. Click To Tweet

Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen. Click To Tweet

Our willpower and imagination are a guiding light, enabling us to chart new paths and navigate through obstacles. Click To Tweet

So… the next time you find that there's some natural curiosity you have that is being piqued, and it's about something you care about, and you have some crazy or bold ideas… ask yourself this: Why not? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Even though Tapiwa Chiwewe oversimplifies some of the barriers non-experts face when moving from one field to another, “You Don’t Have to Be an Expert to Solve Big Problems” is still a powerful message.

The bottom line is you lose nothing if you try.

And resistance and motivation shouldn’t distract you; on the contrary, they should motivate you even further.

Concise and thought-provoking.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Behave PDF Summary – Robert Sapolsky

Behave PDFThe Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

What if you are a Conservative or a Liberal not because of what you read and how you read it, but because of the structure of your brain?

Esteemed neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky claims that the latter is most probably closer to the reality.

And he argues this convincingly and attractively in his exceptional “Behave.”

Who Should Read “Behave”? And Why?

Robert Sapolsky is certainly one of the most famous neuroscientists today – if not the most widely quoted and the most commonly revered in the general public.

So, students of biology and neurology should consider “Behave” one of their obligatory readings for this summer. The same goes for those interested in behavioral psychology as well.

Finally, people who simply want to understand themselves (and their selves) better will find on these pages numerous examples of what it means to be a human.

And why they behave the way they are.

Robert SapolskyAbout Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist and author.

Born in New York to Soviet immigrants in 1957, Sapolsky received a summa cum laude B.A. in biological anthropology from Harvard University in 1978. He obtained his Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University in his birth town, under the mentorship of Bruce McEwan.

Since then, Sapolsky has authored numerous articles and books, the latter of which are especially well received by the general population. Among them “The Trouble with Testosterone” (1997) and “A Primate Memoir” (2002)

Sapolsky is currently the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor at Stanford University

“Behave PDF Summary”

We’ve treated you before with some nice selections of the best books on human behavior; the only reason why “Behave” is not among them is the fact that we only found the time to read it now.

In other words – you won’t read too many books more appealing or more thought-provoking than “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky.

First of all, because it is a book which is essentially about the way you think.

Yes – by you we mean the person reading this sentence at this very moment.

Because, Sapolsky tells us, we kid ourselves if we think that we are independent ghosts in the shells of our bodies.

Not many things could be farther from the truth:

Human behavior is very much dependent on the way our brain – a biological entity – functions and doesn’t function.

Want to know a lot more about that?

Well, please, be Sapolsky’s guest at Stanford and learn everything you want to know about Human Behavioral Biology in no less than twenty-five ninety-minute lectures:

The point, in a nutshell, is that we are all products of numerous factors beyond our control.

And we’re not merely thinking about the environment we grew up a few years ago, but also the dietary habits of the Neanderthals whose DNA was mixed with that of our most distant ancestors.

And, of course, the very structures of our brains.

Two important parts you’ve probably heard a lot about already are the amygdala and the frontal cortex.

The former, located in the cerebral cortex, is a remnant of the most ancient days of our existence and is responsible for your deepest fears and your most aggressive behavior; the latter controls it.

In laymen’s terms, your amygdala and your frontal cortex are in a constant war.

If either of them starts malfunctioning, you will be unable to control the effects.

Take, for example, Charles Whitman, the Texan Tower Sniper.

In 1968, the 25-year old Whitman murdered his wife and his mother before he started to randomly shoot at people at the University of Texas.

Just like the protagonist in Edgar Allan Poe’s famous gothic story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” as he put in a note left next to his wife’s dead body, he couldn’t “rationally pinpoint any specific reason.”

Many years after the events, forensic investigators did:

Whitman had a tumor which pressed on his amygdala inciting him to an aggressive behavior he was unable to control.

An even more famous case is that of Phineas Gage, whose frontal cortex was completely destroyed when an iron rod punctured his skull.

Fortunately, he survived.

However, he was – to quote his friends and colleagues – “no longer Gage.”

Namely, the once-gentleman Gage turned into an impatient mood-swinging man constantly swearing and shouting.


Simply because without the frontal cortex, his brain lacked the mechanism to inhibit the outbursts of his rapid-firing and fast-thinking amygdala.

In fact, it may be mostly because of an overdeveloped amygdala that some people are violent and others racists.

When faced with flash photographs of people with different color, almost every human reacts adversely: that’s the amygdala warning you that the other guy is not one of your own.

However, if given the time to think over, most people reverse their decision, because the lenient and rational frontal cortex tunes in and starts scolding the amygdala for making such a rash decision.

We like to believe that it’s something along these lines:

Hey, Amy G., why are you stressing out our boy for no reason whatsoever? Sit back a little bit and chillax… It’s the 21st century! We’re not 10,000 BC anymore…

However, in some people, due to difficult poverty-ridden violence-laden childhoods which have taught them to be fearful and protective, their amygdalae are much more developed than their frontal cortexes.

So, the amygdala strikes back:

Geeze, Fronty, when will you give up?! I tried listening to you when I was a kid, but that bruised our boy’s body and hurt his heart for just too long! I’ll react to everything now!

In other words, our brain constantly develops – the frontal cortex way until our mid-20s.

The environment in which it matures strongly influences its structures which ultimately shapes our behavior.

And behavioral differences are not culturally conditioned in individuals only; they are culturally conditioned in whole nations as well:

Why should people in one part of the globe have developed collectivist cultures, while others went individualist?

The United States is the individualism poster child for at least two reasons. First, there’s immigration. Currently, 12 percent of Americans are immigrants, another 12 percent are children of immigrants, and everyone else except for the 0.9 percent pure Native Americans descend from people who emigrated within the last five hundred years.

And who were the immigrants? Those in the settled world who were cranks, malcontents, restless, heretical, black sheep, hyperactive, hypomanic, misanthropic, itchy, unconventional, yearning to be rich, yearning to be out of their damn boring repressive little hamlet, yearning. Couple that with the second reason – for the majority of its colonial and independent history, America has had a moving frontier luring those whose extreme prickly optimism made merely booking passage to the New World insufficiently novel – and you’ve got America the individualistic.

Why has East Asia provided textbook examples of collectivism? The key is how culture is shaped by the way people traditionally made a living, which in turn is shaped by ecology. And in East Asia, it’s all about rice. Rice, which was domesticated there roughly ten thousand years ago, requires massive amounts of communal work. Not just backbreaking planting and harvesting, which are done in rotation because the entire village is needed to harvest each family’s rice. The United States was not without labor-intensive agriculture historically. But rather than solving that with collectivism, it solved it with slavery.

In other words, only a small part of your choice to be liberal-minded or a conservative, a capitalist or a communist is decided by the objective reality.

Or, better yet, all of it is decided by it.

The only difference is – that the objective reality for one person is significantly different from the objective reality of another person.

But in that case – is there any difference between objective and subjective reality?

And doesn’t this mean that morality is subjective as well?

Key Lessons from “Behave”

1.      Your Amygdala and Your Frontal Cortex Are in a Constant War
2.      If You Are White, You Probably Think that Rap Is More Violent Than Death Metal
3.      Empathy and Compassion Are Not the Same Thing

Your Amygdala and Your Frontal Cortex Are in a Constant War

Your brain consists of many different parts and neuro-connections, but the most important among them are the amygdala (a remnant of the very old animal inside you) and the frontal cortex (the sapiens, rational element inside your brain).

The frontal cortex inhibits the activities of the amygdala, which usually acts rashly in a fight-or-flight manner.

If the amygdala is overdeveloped, a person will probably be less societal and more protective of him/herself.

And it can be overdeveloped in adults who’ve spent their childhoods in violent and poor environments.

If You Are White, You Probably Think that Rap Is More Violent Than Death Metal

Your brain (which is biologically, historically, and societally conditioned) controls many of the things you think about the world, some of them as intimate as your taste in music.

Your amygdala, for example, doesn’t like anyone who is not your family, so the less someone looks like he or she is, the more aggressive the reaction against him or her.

And this spills over in categories such as aesthetics as well.

For example, studies have found out that white people consider rap music more violent than even death metal music because their amygdalae associate the former with the African-American culture, and the latter with white traditions!

In other words, to them, a black man whistling “Slayer” (if that’s even possible) no threat; but an African American man rapping Nas – now that’s someone you should be wary of.

Empathy and Compassion Are Not the Same Thing

People tend to confuse empathy and compassion.

Robert Sapolsky shows that not only these two are not the same thing, but they are practically opposites.

In other ways, our amygdala controls our empathy, and it’s difficult to train it to feel anything towards people who are unlike us.

Compassion, however, is a rationally-conditioned sensation – a better angel of our nature – and you can activate it when you need to give a little boost to your humanity.

And there’s nothing wrong that you’re willing yourself to do such thing.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Behave Quotes”

You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate. Click To Tweet

Testosterone makes people cocky, egocentric, and narcissistic. Click To Tweet

if you’re stressed like a normal mammal in an acute physical crisis, the stress response is lifesaving. But if instead you chronically activate the stress response for reasons of psychological stress, your health suffers. Click To Tweet

Things that seem morally obvious and intuitive now weren’t necessarily so in the past; many started with nonconforming reasoning. Click To Tweet

In other words, the default state is to trust, and what the amygdala does is learn vigilance and distrust. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

It’s no exaggeration to say that ‘Behave’ is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read,” wrote David P. Barash in “The Wall Street Journal.” Dina Temple-Raston, in “The Washington Post” shared his opinion, describing it as “hands-down one of the best books I’ve read in years.

We couldn’t agree more.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Head Strong PDF Summary – Dave Asprey

Head Strong PDFThe Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – In Just Two Weeks

You want to address your mental weaknesses and stop feeling things such as forgetfulness and lack of focus?

Then, Dave Asprey’s “Head Strong” 2-week plan is just for you!

Bonus: you’ll also be a lot healthier person after the program!

Who Should Read “Head Strong”? And Why?

“Head Strong” is a program which Dave Asprey spent 17 years and more than $1 million dollars to develop. It’s a program which can make you healthier and boost your mental capacity and IQ.

In other words, you can’t go wrong with this program whoever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Dave AspreyAbout Dave Asprey

Dave Asprey is an entrepreneur, author, and biohacker. In 2013, he founded the Bulletproof 360, Inc. and a year later, he founded another related company, Bulletproof Nutrition, Inc.

Both are based around his bulletproof diet, a program he developed himself after growing up obese and unhealthy, and a program he first explicated in his 2014 bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.”

Supposedly, the diet helped him both lose 40 pounds of his weight and gain 20 IQ points.

Published in 2017, “Head Strong” builds upon the bulletproof diet.

Dave Asprey is also famous for developing bulletproof coffee, the recipe of which he posted on his website years before he built a bulletproof coffee industry.

“Head Strong PDF Summary”

We’ll never get tired of saying this:

Your brain is a magical thing!

So magical, in fact, that you don’t even notice using it anymore!

Which is, certainly, a bad thing, because it means that your brain is now working against itself – in an almost counter-evolutive manner.

In other words, it’s making you do things which are not helping it!

So, it’s time you go out of your (or its) way to help it!

How exactly?

Just like Monty Python’s meaning of life, it’s nothing very special: by eating better and staying away from (actual and metaphorical) toxins, by controlling your environment, and exercising and meditating more regularly.

What does this mean in practice?

Let’s find out!

#1) Diet

What you eat influences your brain and, consequently, your performance, more than any other factor you can actively control.

The main idea is to make your hormones fire properly.

And you’ll never do that with a fat-rich high-sugar diet!

Two foods that slow the rate of neurogenesis are sugars and oxidized (damaged) fats. When oxidized fats get into your bloodstream, they cause inflammation. That inflammation slows your ability to make precious ATP, chews up the insides of your blood vessels, inhibits blood flow to the brain, and slows neurogenesis to a crawl. A high-sugar diet slows your rate of neurogenesis by increasing the amount of insulin in the bloodstream. Too much insulin degrades every organ in the body.

So, opt for low-sugar fruits – blueberries and cranberries, grapes and pomegranates. Buy them fresh and buy them organic. Also – don’t forget your broccoli and other dark vegetables!

Acetylcholine is the long magic word if you want to get a good night sleep (and bonus: hold off Alzheimer).

In addition, gamma-aminobutyric acid (or GABA if you want to circumvent the tongue-twister) is the main neuro-transmitting regulator in your body – so you need it if you want to combat stress and negative emotions!

Good news: you can find them both in few different types of food!

The most important ones: beef, lamb, pork, kidney, liver, salmon, egg yolks.

Once again, buy your food only from vendors you trust – and see if you can get your meat and eggs from free-range and pasture-fed animals.

If you want to maximize your brain potential – try to eat your meals within six to eight hours.

You’ve heard that right!

Fasting for 16 to 18 hours a day boosts your brain energy because your body stops taking it from glucose and starts taking it from the stored ketones in your body.

This results in a state of ketosis, which, in turn, increases your brain power by almost a third (28%).

Dr. Veech explained that humans are the only animals that go into ketosis when we fast because we have such large brains to support. Ketosis protects our big brains from oxidative stress and allows us to survive. Without ketones, we would die in six days without food, but with them we can survive much longer.

Now that you know what you should eat and when you should eat it, it’s time that you learn what you should never consume – no-excuses-style!

First of all, trans fats.

Do we even need to say that?

Potato chips, fried and grilled foods, margarine – these are all big no-nos, and you should never even think about consuming them if you want to stay healthy and give your body and your brain some kind of a chance.

Also, avoid milk and other dairy products, as well as gluten.

Finally, don’t drink alcohol or use artificial sweeteners.

#2) The Environment

No matter how healthy your diet is, if you don’t spend some time examining and controlling your environment, your brain may be harmed by its toxins, and you may let all good dietary effects go to waste.

So, one of the first things you should do: check your building for mold. More than half of US building have it.

Also, make sure your building doesn’t have any leaks since it’s very dangerous to work in a water-damaged building.

Finally, check for toxic metals. They can be everywhere: around your building and in your food, in your medicines and in your water.

Next, be sure to get more sunlight. Artificial lights – especially the one from technological devices and LEDs hurts your brain and your body, severely damaging the quality of your sleep.

So, cover all of your LEDs. Buy red ones – since they can offset the “blue light” which has apparently taken control of the environment and our lives.

Finally, use all the oxygen you can get.

Your body needs it; your brain needs it!

So, stay away from environments with stale air – even if that means staying away from your gym.

After all, exercising outside is always better!

Which brings us to –

#3) Sleeping, Exercising and Meditation

Sleeping is underrated.

Sleeping well can make an enormous difference in your life.

Which means – don’t sacrifice the peace and quiet of your sleep for the new episode of “Game of Thrones.” You’ll watch it tomorrow: get some rest in a dark room, away from all technology.

If you still have problems, meditate: it’s one of the greatest favors you can ever do to your brain and our body.

Nothing reduces stress more than meditation.

The same holds true for regular exercise.

The reason why you’re feeling better and smarter after it is because exercising has numerous mental and physical health benefits.

So, start today!

Key Lessons from “Head Strong”

1.      Improve Your Diet: It Will Make You Smarter
2.      Control Your Environment
3.      Sleep Better, Meditate, and Exercise

Improve Your Diet: It Will Make You Smarter

The title may sound like a clickbait – but it isn’t.

It’s actually true – what you eat influences the performance of your brain more than anything else you do.

So, start fighting your forgetfulness, tiredness, inability to focus, and mood swings – on your table.

Eat organic food – mostly low-sugar fruits and vegetables, and free-range, pasture-fed meat and eggs. Eat salmon, almonds, cashews.

Don’t let trans fats into your body and don’t drink alcohol. Also, remove gluten and stay away from GMO or mold-infested food (in other words: check your cereals and coffee carefully).

Finally, eat far less sugar than you’re eating now.

No matter how much sugar you consume – it’s too much.

Control Your Environment

In addition to controlling your diet, you must learn to control your environment as well.

This means, among other things, checking your building for things such as mold, water leaks, and toxic metals – these are all around you and they are effectively poisoning you on a daily basis.

In addition, it also means staying away from LEDs and technology as often as possible.

Blue light hurts you in a much more literal way than you can imagine.

Sleep Better, Meditate, and Exercise

Blue light also impairs your circadian rhythms and your sleep habits.

And sleeping well is one of the most important things you should do.

Meditating may help you achieve it.

Exercising regularly has the added boost of improving your physical health, in addition to boosting your brain power: Exercise not only helps you become fitter; it also encourages the survival of your fittest mitochondria.

Sleeping, meditating, exercising – that’s the holy trinity of health and intelligence.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Head Strong Quotes”

Your brain runs the operating system for your entire life, and it’s time for a major upgrade. Click To Tweet

By working with your mitochondria instead of against them, you can improve your sleep, get more out of your meditation and see greater results from your workouts in less time. Click To Tweet

Normal is your nemesis: It’s considered ‘normal’ to grow increasingly tired and foggy as you age, until one day you wake up with dementia, unable to remember the things that matter most. Click To Tweet

You do thousands of things every day that affect the way your brain creates energy. Choosing to do even just a few of them better will lead to powerful change. Click To Tweet

Your grandparents didn’t have UV-filtering glass, didn’t wear sunglasses much as kids and didn’t wear sunscreen, and they had less skin cancer and better mitochondria than we do now. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

If you’ve read “The Bulletproof Diet,” you’ll probably find most of “Head Strong” repetitive and redundant. But, that only means that most of Dave Asprey’s advices are on the spot.

In fact, if you haven’t read “The Bulletproof Diet,” “Head Strong” may be an even better start: it’s more engaging, more all-encompassing, and there’s less promotion of Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee.

And it should get you the same results in less time!

So, win-win-win-win.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

What Did Leonardo da Vinci Invent?

What Did Leonardo da Vinci Invent

Who Was Leonardo da Vinci?

Look up the word “polymath” in the Dictionary, and you’ll end up reading a biography of Leonardo da Vinci!

Don’t believe us?

Here’s what Wikipedia says a “polymath” means:

A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much,” Latin: homo universalis, “universal man”) is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas—such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.

And here are the first two sentences of Wikipedia’s article on Leonardo da Vinci:

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian Renaissance polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of paleontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time.

So, to answer your question:

“Who was Leonardo da Vinci?”

He was the original polymath, the archetype of the Renaissance man, a guy so smart and capable that his resume would have probably given you an inferiority complex just by the sheer number of pages.

Speaking of which –

Leonardo da Vinci: An Exceptional CV

We know you know him as the painter of the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” – two of the greatest paintings ever sketched by a man’s hand – but, in the case of Leonardo, that is basically the same as saying that LeBron James is an average streetballer.

In other words, painting masterpieces was merely one small aspect of what Leonardo was good at.

Case in point:

In 1482, when he was 30 years old and jobless, he penned his own CV and sent it to Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, in the hope that it will get him a gig or two.

It’s merely 11 points long, but it will make your head spin and your confidence vaporize in thin air.

The letter says, in no immodest terms, that its author is capable of – in the original order –

1. building indestructible – extremely light and strong – and easily carriable (what?!) bridges;
2. taking the water out of the trenches when a place is besieged;
3. modeling machines which will easily destroy other places;
4. creating storm-mimicking mortars;
5. building indestructible vessels;
6. devising noiseless mines;
7. inventing safe and unattackable chariots;
8. creating big guns of any type already in existence;
9. contriving “catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvelous efficacy and not in common use.”

So, basically, if there’s a war and you have Leonardo on your side, it’s not much more different than finding out about the “iddqd” and “idkfa” cheat codes and using them both at the same time in “Doom.”

With da Vinci, you end up having all the weapons and being basically indestructible.

Wait… wasn’t Leonardo the guy who painted Mona Lisa?

Didn’t he know how to paint before he was 30?

If so – why doesn’t he mention that in his CV?

Oh, yeah – we forgot that: he mentions his peace-time qualities in the last two points of his resume, as if in passing:

10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

The point?

Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists in history, was architect and sculptor and painter only when there was not much to do around.

And when there was – well he was inventing the hell out of everything.

Here are the top 5 Leonardo da Vinci inventions, in the order of “awesome” to “downright godlike”!

What Did Leonardo da Vinci Invent: Top 5 Leonardo da Vinci Inventions

#5. Self-Propelled Cart

self propelled cartOr, to put it in one word – a car.

Leonardo was often thinking about things people would only start thinking about in the 20th century. To make this even more fascinating: in this case, he was probably just imagining a device for theatrical use.

And what he came up with was a cart able to move without being pushed by anyone!

Which makes us think: if someone had asked Leonardo back in the 15th century to do his homework, would Leonardo write him a doctoral dissertation instead?

We forgot to mention: no one knew what the painting on the left was until about two decades ago when Italy’s Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence developed a working model based on that image.

And it actually worked!

#4. Robotic Knight

robotic knightYou read that right!

What you’re looking on the left is a 2002 version of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century idea of what a robotic knight may look like.

Unsurprisingly, the prototype – created by NASA’s roboticist Mark Rosheim – was able to both walk and wave.

And that’s not even the fascinating part:

Mark Rosheim commented how da Vinci’s design featured not one unnecessary part!

So – both futuristic and efficient.

#3. Helicopter (and Other Flying Machines)

helicopterOne of the things Leonardo da Vinci was most interested in when it came to inventions was flying.

So, he spent a lot of time looking at birds and analyzing their flight. About 1505 he even composed a short treatise called “Codex on the Flight of Birds.”

And he did many different sketches of flying machines, whether ornithopters or helicopters.

Watch here modern scientists testing them one by one:

Now, most of Da Vinci’s flying machines didn’t work.

But next to the image on the left (called the aerial screw), he jotted down this observation:

If this instrument made with a screw be well made – that is to say, made of linen of which the pores are stopped up with starch and be turned swiftly, the said screw will make its spiral in the air, and it will rise high.

#2. Parachute

parachutePeople were still unable to even fathom a concept such as a flying human, and da Vinci was already working out a device designed for a safe landing.

And unlike the flying machines which needed some fine-tuning to work, Leonardo’s pyramidal parachute would have worked the way it was sketched just perfectly.

Making Leonardo the official inventor of the parachute!

That was set in stone in July 2000 when Adrian Nicholas successfully tested a modern model of Leonardo’s half a millennium old design.

But, just in case, his Swiss colleague Olivier Vietti-Teppa verified the findings eight years later.

#1. Tank

tankWhen Leonardo was saying that he’s capable of building indestructible vehicles, he wasn’t you claiming that you know Mandarin Chinese on your CV because, well, who does to check that?

Oh, no – Leonardo was dead serious!

In other words, he had devised in his mind the precursor to the modern tank, and that’s his version of it on the left.

It could move in any direction and fire from a number of circularly placed light cannons.

However, it had to be powered by the crew of eight men.

Now, Leonardo didn’t have much time to play around with his designs – you know being busy with, well, absolutely everything.

But, people note that if he had, he would have certainly realized that he could combine #5 and #1, changing the history of warfare in a way we can’t even imagine!

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Leonardo da Vinci Quotes”

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. Click To Tweet A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light. Click To Tweet Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. Click To Tweet Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in. Click To Tweet It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. Click To Tweet

When Did Leonardo da Vinci Die?

Now, unfortunately, Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t immortal – though, we bet that he was working on something of this sort somewhere in his notebooks; prepare to find out about it in a century or so.

Even more tragically, he died in 1519, at barely 67 years of age, having left behind him the work of about four highly talented centenarians.

According to Helen Gardner, he was a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination” with a “mind and personality [which] seem to us superhuman.”

“There had never been another man born in the world who knew as much as Leonardo,” said Benvenuto Cellini, a great sculptor, some 20 years after Leonardo died.

Five centuries later, we add: and probably there never will be.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Many Lives, Many Masters PDF Summary

Many Lives Many Masters PDFThe True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives

What if you have lived many times before, you just don’t remember it?

What if you can access these memories through psychotherapy and you can cure yourself of all your existing sorrows and phobias?

Who Should Read “Many Lives, Many Masters”? And Why?

“Many Lives, Many Masters” is a book that documents psychiatrist Brian Weiss’s journey of being a complete non-believer in supernatural occurrences, to a total believer in reincarnation and traveling back in past lives.

We recommend this book to everyone interested in past lives, in psychology, or is just in need of fresh and exciting experience in their lives.

About Brian Weiss

Brian WeissDr. Brian Weiss is a psychologist, bestselling author, and a speaker on many workshops and seminars. He currently holds his own practice in Miami.

“Many Lives Many Masters PDF Summary”

Be aware: what follows is a true story.

Doctor Weiss, the author and the narrator of the book is a classically trained doctor, following the traditional concepts of medicine.

Having a history of top university education, and has never in his life believed in reincarnation, channeling, and parapsychology.

I mean, what kind of a scientific doctor would believe such stuff?

Well, you are in for a surprise.

His story goes like this:

He is married, with children and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, what else if not conservative psychotherapeutic techniques.

He becomes Chief of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, and during his posting, he meets Catherine.

Catherine is a beautiful twenty-seven-year-old woman, with a really messed up psychological health.

She is well educated (in fact she worked at the same hospital as Weiss as a lab technician), but she is against conventual therapy, which Weiss suggests for healing her anxiety, depression and severe phobias.

Catherine has an exciting story.

During her visit to a particular art museum, along with a man she is dating, she has a somewhat weird experience.

She hears the guide lecturing the group on Egyptian history, but she intuitively knows that he is wrong about specific points, and she corrects him.

But, this is not only her imagination: it turns out that all of the corrections are correct.

Catherine has never been particularly knowledgeable about history: instead, this knowledge comes to her as a memory of her past life.

So, she decides to undergo hypnosis.

Weiss thinks that through hypnosis he can understand what is going on and as a result, he can help her cure her panic attacks.

During the sessions, he finds a few childhood traumas, but working on them does not help Catherine in any way.

On the contrary – her panic attacks are worse than ever.

The next session, Weiss tries to get her even further back to her early childhood.

However, instead of doing what she is asked to do, she starts talking about walking around in a marketplace during the middle of the 19th century.

In her memory, in her story, she is not Catherine, but an eighteen-year-old girl named Aronda, who lives in a village far from water and streams, which gathers melting snow and uses it as drinkable water.

Weiss is confused. During his practice, he has never encountered a similar case, and he has no diagnosis for what she has told him.

He knows that she is not acting, that she is not inspired by religious beliefs since she is a Catholic and Christians do not believe in reincarnation.

Most importantly of all, he knows that she is not under the influence of any drugs.

The rest of the book Weiss talks about Catherine’s various lives. They are filled up with so much detail, and rich cultural and geographical knowledge that it is impossible that they are wrong.

Catherine changes genders, age, nationality, but she always meets people from her current life who has also reincarnated and is always an ordinary person.

Understanding her past life stories makes Weiss recognize that some of the anxieties and phobias in her current experience are caused by the traumas and violence she has encountered in her previous life.

A particularly interesting part in all of his experience was the moment her past life seized to exist. In this space, Catherine became quote philosophical and knew things she could not have known as a person.

This is the speaker or speakers that Weiss calls “Master Spirits” and believes are higher consciousness. Exactly these “spirits” instructed him not to tell Catherine about his discoveries since it might undermine the success.

In any case, after a few sessions, she was cured and could function normally.

Weiss tried the same approach with several different people, and it always worked, although he believes it is not an approach that will surely work with any kind of person.

Key Lessons from “Many Lives, Many Masters”

1.      There Is Not Much We Know About Our Existence
2.      Sometimes You Have To Look Deeper to Understand
3.      The Same Approach Does Not Work The Same For Everyone

There Is Not Much We Know About Our Existence

Although Dr. Weiss was a traditional psychiatrist and could not be further away from spirituality, he encountered a situation that questioned his believed and pushed him to think more about our existence.

In reality, there is not much we know about ourselves and the world we live in so we should be open to possibilities.

Sometimes You Have To Look Deeper to Understand

At times you have to look further at specific issues so you can understand its causes. The roots of some problems are not always visible, and you need to look carefully in order to find them.

The Same Approach Does Not Work The Same For Everyone

The same approach to a specific thing does not work the same for everyone that involves him or herself in it.

It is all individual, and it does not mean that if it were beneficial for one person, it would be beneficial for the other as well.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Many Lives, Many Masters Quotes”

Forgive the past. It is over. Learn from it and let go. People are constantly changing and growing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person in the past. See that person now. Your relationship is always alive… Click To Tweet Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never… Click To Tweet If you rely exclusively on the advice of others, you may make terrible mistakes. Your heart knows what you need. Other people have other agendas. Click To Tweet For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans. Click To Tweet The reward is in doing, but doing without expecting anything...doing unselfishly. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Many Lives, Many Masters” is an interesting book that documents one man’s journey from nonbelief to becoming a total believer.

Reincarnation has always been such a big topic in this world, and now there is even a book that discusses it in depth.

So what are you waiting for?    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Focal Point PDF Summary – Brian Tracy

Focal Point PDFA Proven System to Simplify Your Life, Double Your Productivity and Achieve All Your Goals

If you are like most people, you are overburdening yourself with tasks that do not bring you significant results.

It is time that you change that.

Who Should Read “Focal Point”? And Why?

“Focal Point” is a book that teaches readers about the significance of focus and choosing one’s activities carefully.

Not everything you do in your life brings you closer to your goal, and if you want to live up to your true potential, it is important that you realize what these activities are and eliminate them from your life.

We recommend this book to all readers that feel like they are working hard, but not getting any results, as well as to those who want to simplify their professional life and make some more time for actual living.

About Brian Tracy

Brian TracyBrian Tracy is a writer, a speaker and a consultant with vast experience in business, economics, and psychology.

“Focal Point PDF Summary”

Let us tell you a story.

Once upon a time (well not that long ago actually) a particular nuclear power plant faces some technical problems.

These problems reduced the efficiency of the operation and the energy generation of the plant.

Naturally, everyone was worried.

The scientists and engineers working on the plant tried to figure out what the problem was, but without much success.

Finally, severely worried, the top management of the plant decided to outsource the problem to one of the top consultants on the topic in the country.

The expert came to the plant and walked around scribbling and taking down notes in his notebook.

By the end of the second day he had found the source of the problem: he climbed up a ladder and with a black marker x-ed one of the gauges on the plant.

After he left, the workers on the plant followed his recommendation to fix the part he marked, and in no time the plant was back to functioning in its full capacity.

A few days later the plant manager got the bill from the consultant. He asked for $ 10,000 for his services.

What? Just for placing one simple X? He must be crazy.

That is exactly what the manager thought, and he asked for the consultant to break down his price, believing it is illogical.

Soon he got the reply.

“For placing “X” on the gauge: $1.00. For knowing where to place the “X”: $9,999.”

It is a fun story, isn’t it?

But, it is much more than just fun – it teaches you to the most important concept to reaching success in your work and your life: knowing where to place the X.

Pinpointing the problems that undermine your voyage to achieving your full potential is everything!

It does not matter what aspect of life we are talking about. In each situation, you are doing things that are slowing you down or keeping you back from achieving your goals.

In order to do anything in life, you have to be clear about what you want and where you want to be. Only then you can focus your efforts and energy to achieve that.

By visualizing the end goal clearly, you will be able to much more easily determine a set of steps that will get you there.

And even more importantly, you will be able to recognize the things you do and do not bring you any actual benefit and eliminate them from your experience.

When it comes to reaching your goals, you have to find your focal point.

You can focus your energy much better if you add more things that take you toward your goal and simplify and eliminate the rest.

Just think about your current life and ask yourself which things can be simplified, or even eliminated. That way you will be able to work the same amount of time, or even less, and double and even triple your results.

Of course, in order to be able to have more time for yourself you need to learn how to leverage. In other words, success can be only achieved if you look at it as a collective endeavor.

It is impossible for you to know everything and to have all the needed skills for a certain thing.

So, you have to learn how you can use other people’s time, money, skills, knowledge, and ideas in a way that can help you reach your goals.

And, let’s not forget the most crucial point of success: you have to take responsibility for your life and your actions.

What sets apart truly successful people from all the rest is their sense of personal responsibility.


Because when you are pointing the finger at other people or external circumstances, you are not only avoiding responsibility but you are also giving away your power and control over your life.

And only when you are in control, you can get where you want to be, and you can stop waiting for things to happen, and go and do them yourself.

Key Lessons from “Focal Point”

1.      The Four Steps to a Focused Life
2.      Double Your Results and Free Up Your Time
3.      The Seven Rs of Simplification

The Four Steps to a Focused Life

There are four ways you can approach leading a more focused life. You can do more of particular things and do less of others.

You can start doing entirely new things that you have not been doing so far. And lastly, you can eliminate some things from your experience altogether.

Double Your Results and Free Up Your Time

It is possible that you do less work and have better results.

First, you need to identify which tasks and everyday actions contribute to your results the most.

Then, focus on these tasks and delegate the ones that do not affect your productivity as much.

Stop spending all your time working, and take a day off, on which you will focus solely on your personal life and yourself.

When you become comfortable with taking one day off, do not stop there! Instead, expand it, take two days, and then maybe three.

Opt for coming to a point when you take a three-day vacation every two or three months.

And lastly, do not forget to assess your activities regularly, in order not to fall into the trap of doing things that do not contribute to your results again.

The Seven Rs of Simplification

You can simplify your life by utilizing the seven Rs: rethinking, reevaluating, reorganizing, restructuring, reinventing, reengineering, and regaining control.

Like this summary? We’d Like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“Focal Point Quotes”

The acceptance of personal responsibility is what separates the superior person from the average person. Click To Tweet

Today you are paid for accomplishments, not activities. You are paid for outcomes rather than for inputs, or the number of hours you work. Click To Tweet Just as the focused energy in a laser beam cuts through steel, your ability to choose the most vital element of any situation will enable you to perform at extraordinary levels in any endeavor. Click To Tweet For most people, money means freedom, one of the highest of human values. Click To Tweet All you need is the desire to change, the decision to take action, the discipline to practice the new behaviors you have chosen, and the determination to persist until you get the results you want. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Focal Point” is a book with a simple premise, that will make you rethink how you do things and show you the right path to achieving greatness.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

How We Got to Now Summary

How We Got to Now SummarySix Innovations That Made the Modern World

Do you want to learn how Chinese women abort their baby girls today because the Titanic sank in 1912? Or how the bikini trend owes its existence to the Chicago sewer system of the 1860s? Or, say, how mirrors started the Renaissance?

Then you will enjoy Steven Johnson’s “How We Got to Now.”

Who Should Read “How We Got to Now”? And Why?

If you’ve ever wondered how big ideas are born, then you’ve probably come across Steven Johnson’s popular TED Talk. If you liked it – then you’ll love this book.

In fact, anyone curious about innovation and related topics will love this book. The links it continually makes are so mindboggling and implausible that you are bound to be left guessing until the very end. When we predict an inevitable “Wow.”

About Steven Johnson

Steven JohnsonSteven Johnson is a bestselling American author whose books mainly focus on the intersections between different human endeavors, especially in science and technology.

A contributing editor to “Wired,” he has also founded three now-defunct websites you may know: “FEED” (one of the earliest online magazines), (a popular internet forum), and (acquired by AOL in 2011).

Johnson has written nine books, and most of them have received rave reviews. “

Entertainment Weekly” included his take on the 1854 cholera outbreak in London, “The Ghost Map,” among its top 10 non-fiction books of 2006. Four years later, “The Economist” named “Where Good Ideas Come From” one of the best books of the year.

Steven Johnson himself has received similar accolades: in 2010, “Prospect” magazine chose him as one of the “Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future.”

“How We Got to Now Summary”

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again:

Everything evolves.

However, evolution isn’t merely “the survival of the fittest.” It’s also often “the survival of the interconnected.”

You see, nothing evolves in isolation. And, consequently, symbiotic relationships are, by definition, all around us. So much so that Dorion Sagan and Lynn Margulis in “The Origins of Sex,” wrote quite aptly that “life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.”

Just take for example the problem ancient flowers might have had. Especially those that were living in areas bereaved of winds. With insects their only way to reproduce, they had to develop a system by which to attract them better.

Consequently, about 150 million years ago, they evolved colors and scents! And once they did that, they didn’t have to spend too much energy to be big. They were visible enough to allow themselves to be undersized.

But, this was great for insects as well – now they were able to find pollen much more easily. So, they had a better chance to reproduce themselves as well.

But it doesn’t stop there!

Because the evolution of flowers affected one specific nectarivore – the hummingbird. Because now that the flowers got smaller, the insects had an unfair advantage over them.

So as to be able to compete, the bee hummingbird – the smallest bird on earth – evolved to dwarfism. And even better – they developed metabolism and wings which allowed them to hover the same way insects do.

Ah, evolution, the greatest show on earth!

Before you scroll back to read the subtitle of “How We Got to Now” once again – no, this isn’t a book about the evolution of the natural world. It is about the evolution of human societies.

And the unsung heroes who made it possible.

Steven Johnson uses the story above to explain his central premise.

And to name it – appropriately – the Hummingbird Effect.

You already understand what it is intuitively.

Namely, that one simple innovation may open the doors to an entirely new world and launch a hundred more changes, most of them utterly unexpected.

Sometimes, making the connection between the last and the first of them may seem far-fetched; but, even so, it gives the right perspective.

And if you have an hour or so, you can have Steven Johnson explain to you his theory and few chains of unexpected connections to you in detail here:

Of course, if you have six hours, you can watch the six-part BBC series, “How We Got to Now,” which is, obviously, based on this book.

As for us – we’ll use our “Key Lessons” section to retell you the book, and, consequently, the series.

So, spoiler alert!

Key Lessons from “How We Got to Now”

1.      You Would Have Known Less About Yourself If It Wasn’t for Glass
2.      The Future of Families Goes Back to the Discovery of Frozen Fish
3.      There Are More Chinese Baby Boys than Girls Because of the Titanic
4.      Fashion Changed in the 1960s Because Chicago Was Raised in the 1860s
5.      The Railway Network Transformed the Idea of “Being on Time”
6.      Light Bulbs Saved the Whales and, in Time, Transformed the Slums

You Would Have Known Less About Yourself If It Wasn’t for Glass

Glass is so ubiquitous nowadays that you don’t even stop to think how the world would have looked without it.

Steven Johnson has:

“A world without glass would strike at the foundation of modern progress: the extended lifespans that come from understanding the cell, the virus, and the bacterium; the genetic knowledge of what makes us human; the astronomer’s knowledge of our place in the universe. No material on Earth mattered more to those conceptual breakthroughs than glass.”

You see, glass mirrors – as you know them today – didn’t exist before the 1400s. Consequently, the idea of the self-portrait didn’t exist either. And mirrors gave artists another advantage: they were now able to study perspective better.

In other words, the Renaissance owes a lot to glass and mirrors. And the Renaissance, coincidentally, was the first period of history when people became self-reflective.

Fast forward, and you have lenses and glasses – which made it possible for some people to read even deep into their old age. And for others to build telescopes and microscopes and see the invisible world all around us.

The Future of Families Goes Back to the Discovery of Frozen Fish

Clarence Frank Birdseye is not a name you hear very often. Chances are – you don’t even know who he is. And yet – soon enough, the human societies may move in a previously unforeseen direction because of his invention.

You see, Birdseye is the father of the modern frozen food industry. He discovered fast freezing while ice fishing with the Inuit.

Now, we use the same method to preserve human eggs and semen, which makes it possible for people to plan for a family even when biologically they can’t have one.

Strange, ha?

There Are More Chinese Baby Boys than Girls Because of the Titanic

Talking about the unexpected, right?

You all know the story of the “Titanic,” right? How could you not – you’ve heard it millions of times and watched at least two or three films and documentaries about it.

Neither of them mentioned Reginald Fessenden, i.e., the Canadian who was inspired by the sinking of the Titanic to invent the sonar.

Imitating the echolocatory practices of some marine animals (whales, dolphins), the sonar would have helped the Titanic locate the iceberg before hitting it.

And it also helps modern mothers to see how their babies are doing before they are even born.

However, in China, where there was a strict one-child policy until three years ago, this resulted in a 118:100 ratio between boys and girls. Meaning: people were using the ultrasound to practice sex-selective abortions.

Fashion Changed in the 1960s Because Chicago Was Raised (Literally!) in the 1860s

People tend to forget that until about a century and a half ago, every glass of water was a game of Russian roulette. The water wasn’t clean – and people died merely by drinking polluted water.

So, after six percent of Chicago’s population died from cholera in 1854, an engineer by the name of Ellis S. Chesbrough made a plan to install a citywide sewerage system, the first of its kind in the world.

His solution?

To physically raise the city on hydraulic jacks!

We’re not joking: this actually happened!

A century later, people were finally able to bathe in city rivers. And the bikini became “the atom bomb of fashion.”

The Railway Network Transformed the Idea of “Being on Time”

It may be unimaginable nowadays, but up to the middle of the 19th century, there was no way you can go from coast to coast and orient yourself in time with a single clock.

That’s because most cities had a different time, which they adjusted locally. Ten or twenty minutes between neighboring cities was not an issue back when there was no industry, working hours, or international companies.

However, once rail transport and telecommunications conquered America, “being on time” became both essential and unattainable concept.

So, William F. Allen lobbied exhaustively for a standardization. And after hundreds and hundreds of letters, he finally made it.

On Sunday, November 18, 1883 – “The Day of Two Noons” – each railroad station clock in the United States was reset and standard-time noon was reached within each of the newly devised five time zones.

A year later, the world followed.

And now – you can be somewhere “on time.”

Light Bulbs Saved the Whales and, in Time, Transformed the Slums

Before the light bulb was invented – by, basically, everybody in the world – people used candles. And these were made from wax found in the skulls of sperm whales.

Do you really have to know the rest of the story?

Fortunately, the light bulb didn’t need whales to function. And even better – it led to inventions such as flash photography. This helped Jacob Riis – a muckraker – take some photographs of the impoverished parts of the United States, specifically the Five Points neighborhood in New York.

And soon enough, the government bought the area, and instead of a neighborhood, there was a park there already by the end of the 19th century.

Scientists say that this may have saved New York from an epidemics of cholera.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

How We Got to Now Quotes

Most discoveries become imaginable at a very specific moment in history, after which point multiple people start to imagine them. Click To Tweet Innovations usually begin life with an attempt to solve a specific problem, but once they get into circulation, they end up triggering other changes that would have been extremely difficult to predict. Click To Tweet The march of technology expands the space of possibility around us, but how we explore that space is up to us. Click To Tweet Humans had proven to be unusually good at learning to recognize visual patterns; we internalize our alphabets so well we don’t even have to think about reading once we’ve learned how to do it. Click To Tweet The larger question is, as virologist Jonas Salk once asked, ‘Are we being good ancestors?’ Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How We Got to Now” is a vintage Steven Johnson. Beautifully written, it reads like a chain of interconnected stories with unexpected twists. “The New York Times Book Review” said it best:

“You’re apt to find yourself exhilarated… Johnson is not composing an etiology of particular inventions but doing something broader and more imaginative… a graceful and compelling book.”    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

How to Create a Mind Summary

How to Create a Mind SummaryThe Secret of Human Thought Revealed

Humans are capable of doing so many things computers will never be, right?

Show me a computer capable of thinking, writing symphonies, loving, etc. – and I’ll show you a flying pig.

Don’t put your mouth where your money is, says Ray Kurzweil. Because you will need to breed a whole new race of pigs in a decade or so.

How to Create a Mind” explains why – and how – computers will start writing symphonies.

Who Should Read “How to Create a Mind”? And Why?

Ray Kurzweil’s predictions comprise the wettest of futurists’ dreams. And even though “How to Create a Mind” doesn’t state anything new of this sort, every futurist and curious SF thinker has already bought this book by now.

The rest should read it to find what all the fuss is about. Because even if you know nothing about AI and neuroscience, this may be a good time to start learning about it.

At least if you believe Ray Kurzweil and this book.

About Ray Kurzweil

Ray KurzweilRay Kurzweil is a prize-winning scientist, writer, and futurist.

A winner of MIT’s “Inventor of the Year” prize in 1988, Carnegie Mellon’s top science Dickson Prize six years later and “National Medal of Technology and Innovation” in 1999, Kurzweil has so far received at least 21 honorary doctorates, and special honors from three different U.S. presidents.

He has invented numerous things, ranging from the first omni-font OCR (optical character recognition) to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, from the first flatband scanner to the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer.

So, you could say that he’s partially responsible for the Siris, Alexas, and Cortanas you talk to on a daily basis.

Unsurprisingly, in 2002, Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He has authored numerous articles and books, including “The Singularity Is Near.”

“How to Create a Mind Summary”

Westworld’s second season premiered last night on HBO.

And we felt that there was no better moment to provide you with a summary of a book titled “How to Create a Mind.”

Especially if it is brought to you by a man who has not only been described by “Forbes” as “the ultimate thinking machine,” but who also has an entire Wikipedia article listing his predictions about the future.

And there’s more where that came from!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in unraveling the secret of human thought with the one and only Ray Kurzweil, aka the guy who gave humanity flatbad scanners, optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading machines, and text-to-speech synthesizers!

In a nutshell – someone who definitely knows more than most about how our brain may function, based on his work with artificial brains.

And is there a better way to start a book on thoughts other than with few thought experiments?

Let’s try them out.

First, the simplest: recite the alphabet.

Piece of cake, right?

OK, now recite it backward.

Doesn’t feel as easy, does it?

In fact, chances are, you’re incapable of reciting the alphabet backward no matter how much you try. Even though, if you think about it, you should have no problem: you know all the letters, and you’ve used them thousands and thousands of times.

And, most importantly, you just recited them the other way around!

So, what’s the problem?

We’ll get to that in a second.

But, before, try with us another thought experiment. This time, try to visualize a person you’ve seen only once or twice in your whole life. If you can’t think of any, try thinking about your short trip to the local store this morning.

Can you envisage even one single person of the few you passed by?

No, you can’t.

Kurzweil thinks that these thought experiments reveal something much more than the fact that, essentially, your memory sucks.

Namely, that everybody’s memory sucks in the same way. And that this should give us a hint on how our brain is actually doing its job.

You thought that only computers follow specific algorithms?

Guess again: you do too!

So much so that, in fact, human consciousness pioneer Benjamin Libet has proposed that even your free will may be an illusion!

Kurzweil concurs.

Since, according to him, these experiments show that your brain is also merely – OK, in strictly relative terms – doing hierarchical statistical analysis.

And by brain, we actually mean your neocortex, which, according to Kurzweil is where the magic actually happens.

We all know that the neocortex is the most advanced part of our brains and is what makes us so different from the rest of the animal world.

Now, according to Kurzweil, this is because the human neocortex contains about 300 million hierarchically arranged general pattern recognizers. And, as the thought experiments we explained above prove, these pattern recognizers aren’t interested in sounds, images, videos, or smells.

The only thing they are interested in is patterns.

That’s why you can’t recite the alphabet backward – it should be easy if your brain remembered information and data. But if your brain remembers patterns, reciting the alphabet back or playing a song from the middle is the same as starting to read a book from page 147.

That’s why you can’t remember people you’ve only seen once or twice in your life as well. In fact, police profilers intuitively know this, so they stimulate the memory of witnesses by showing them different types of eyes, brows, or mouths.

Because, as Marcel Proust taught us, there’s a particular type of memory, involuntary memory, which is triggered once an external stimulus hits the right note of the pattern.

You know what we’re talking about!

You can’t remember a song even though someone is singing the middle part of it. But, then someone sings the right sequence and the middle section falls neatly into place!

Finally, pattern recognition is why all of the memory techniques memory champions advise us to use are pattern-related. And even more – hierarchically ordered.

Now, if your brain works this way – i.e., as if an automat – shouldn’t computer scientists be capable of creating an artificial mind?

Yes, they should.

And in Kurzweil’s opinion – using hidden Markov models and genetic algorithms – they inevitably will by 2029.

Why shouldn’t they?

Intel has already devised a way to trick the limitations of Moore’s law by inventing 3D processors. Japan’s supercomputers are already capable of running 1016 calculations per second – which is just as much as a digital neocortex will need to function.

Finally, the data it should store – around 20 billion bytes (300 million patterns * 72 bytes) amounts to no more than 20 GB, i.e., the size of your USB.

Because, as it has been proven over and over again in the past – whether in science or art – it’s not the amount of data that’s important; it’s the actual and potential interconnections inside it.

So, brace for it – Kurzweil claims that AI humanoids indistinguishable by brain power from humans will become a reality in less than 12 years.

We guess the remaining question at this point is: should you believe Kurzweil?

Well, remember the list with predictions we mentioned at the beginning of this summary? It was made back in 1989. And in October 2010, twenty years later, Kurzweil published a PDF titled “How My Predictions Are Faring.”

In 147 pages, the document lists as many predictions. 12 of them are deemed to be “essentially correct,” 17 “partially correct” and 3 – “wrong.”

As for the rest 115?

Let us write this in all caps because it’s that important:


Ladies and gentlemen, set your watches: we’re about 12 years away from real-life “Westworld.”

For better or for worse, the countdown commences.

Key Lessons from “How to Create a Mind”

1.      Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind
2.      Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?
3.      The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind

How do we think?

Do we think through data, logic, images, sounds, smells?

Neither, says Ray Kurzweil: we think only and exclusively through patterns.

Our neocortex contains about 300 million general pattern recognition circuits which hierarchically structure our memory and experiences.

In other words, if we translate this into practical example (say, how we read), the process looks something like this.

Namely, some of these recognizers are low-level and see only straight and diagonal lines. But, they transmit this information to the higher echelons which are then capable of recognizing letters. These pass on the message to the word-level recognizers, etc. etc.

The information moves back and forth and, based on previous patterns, in time, the recognizers learn to predict the info ahead. That’s how speech recognition works, and that’s why sometimes you see transcribed YouTube captions revealing words before you hear them.

That is your brain as well.

And yes – it gets a bit strange from here on.

Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?

You see, back in 1980, philosopher John Searle made the distinction between weak AI and strong AI based on a simple experiment.

Say you make a program capable of taking Chinese characters as inputs, analyzing them profoundly and giving the expected outcome. And say this program is so convincing that even a Chinese can’t see anything wrong with it and, thus, it passes the Turing test.

The question is: does the program really understands Chinese?

Searle argued against this, by claiming that if he is locked in a room with the machine’s in-programmed manual, and receives the same inputs under the door, he should be able to give the same answers back by merely following the same instructions the machine does.

However, he doesn’t speak a word of Chinese.

Kurzweil says: OK, that may be true.

But what if your brain works the same way?

Let’s not forget that Watson destroyed the best humans in Jeopardy!

In Jeopardy!

The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

It’s time you stopped thinking about machines in terms of programs – unless you start thinking about yourself in the very same way.

In other words, our brains are nothing less – or more – than a pattern recognizing structures. However, this is such a powerful method to acquire new information that it has got us – humans – to a place where we are capable of creating other creatures similar to us.

Because once we perfect a brain capable of recognizing patterns (and we’re already there: think speech recognition), we will essentially create a machine capable of teaching itself. And since a machine’s neocortex can be improved, in time, we will be able to develop machines which will be vastly superior to us.

That’s right: we’re talking about a new species.

Homo deus.

Like this summary? We’d like to invite you to download our free 12 min app, for more amazing summaries and audiobooks.

“How to Create a Mind Quotes”

In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them. (via John von Neumann) Click To Tweet We are a pattern that changes slowly but has stability and continuity, even though the stuff constituting the pattern changes quickly. Click To Tweet The evolution of animal behavior does constitute a learning process, but it is learning by the species, not by the individual, and the fruits of this learning process are encoded in DNA. Click To Tweet Human beings have only a weak ability to process logic, but a very deep core capability of recognizing patterns. To do logical thinking, we need to use the neocortex, which is basically a large pattern recognizer. Click To Tweet Philosophy is a kind of halfway house for questions that have not yet yielded to the scientific method. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Create a Mind” may be uneven and repetitive at times, but, even so, it’s exceptional. Some have deemed its subtitle a bit overpromising, but to others, the book actually manages to give us the most complete theory on how we may think.

Now, if Kurzweil is right about that, then creating an artificial mind is not far ahead. And if that is true, then you reading this book should become a reality in the following weeks.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: