John Cleese's recommended books from the Headcast video series
NB: these links are to the UK store - the US book store is here.
Practically every contemporary mainstream scientist presumes that all aspects of mind are generated by brain activity. We demonstrate the inadequacy of this picture by assembling evidence for a variety of empirical phenomena which it cannot explain. We further show that an alternative picture developed by F. W. H. Myers and William James successfully accommodates these phenomena, ratifies the common sense view of ourselves as causally effective conscious agents, and is fully compatible with contemporary physics and neuroscience.
(Review) Richard Tarnas has written an amazingly lucid, comprehensive and analytic account of the development of the way in which thinking in the West has evolved over millennia. Tarnas identifies brilliantly the bifurcations and break-points in the thinking processes and the ideas espoused by the Western Mind. This text is not a cook-book, rather it is an educational privilege to read Tarnas' thinking and analysis.
World of Cheese
Why are we more likely to fall in love when we feel in danger? Why would an experienced pilot disregard his training and the rules of the aviation industry, leading to the deadliest airline crash in history? Why do we find it near-impossible to re-evaluate our first impressions of a person or situation, even when the evidence shows we were wrong? Discover the answers in "Sway". We all believe we are rational beings, yet the truth is that we're much more prone to irrational behaviour than we realise or like to admit. In this compelling book, Ori and Rom Brafman reveal why. Looking at irrational behaviour in fields as diverse as medicine, archaeology and the legal system, they chart the psychological undercurrents that influence even our most basic decisions. In doing so they draw on the latest research in social psychology and behavioural economics to reveal the irresistible forces that sway us all. "Sway" is a fascinating insight into the way we all behave and will change the way you view the world.
Despite its apparent materiality, the universe is actually a kind of 3-D projection and is ultimately no more real than a hologram, a 3-D image projected in space and made with the aid of a laser. Using this model, a world-renowned physicist and a Nobel prize winning neurophysiologist has developed a new description of reality. It encompasses not only reality as we know it, including hitherto unexplained phenomena of physics, but is capable of explaining such occurrences as telepathy, paranormal and out-of-the-body experiences, "lucid" dreaming and even mystical and religious traditions such as cosmic unity and miraculous healings. In part one, the author explains in simple prose the theory behind a holograph and its traditional applications to science. In part two, he shows the panoramic way in which the holographic model makes sense of the entire range of mystical, spiritual and psychic experience. Finally, in part three, he explores the implications for other universes beyond our own.
Henri Matisse was one of the most important and beloved artists of the twentieth century, rivalled only by his friend – and competitor – Pablo Picasso. Hilary Spurling’s The Unknown Matisse and Matisse the Master were together heralded as the definitive biography of the artist, and Matisse the Master went on to win the Whitbread Book of the Year award in 2005. In this abridged, one-volume edition, Hilary Spurling reveals the origins of Matisse’s astonishing talent, provides a unique insight into his life and work, and, by documenting the difficult path he took alone, clearly places him at the front rank of those who made art modern.
The only thing you really need to navigate London.