Here's just the book for all you people who've been lying awake nights for years trying to answer that question: What is the Nature of Reality? Paul Watzlawick has a solution. ""There is no absolute reality but only subjective and often contradictory conceptions of reality,"" and that is why you've been so confused for so long. Watzlawick, a student of philosophy, language and psychiatry, explains herein the mechanisms of communication and why they so often (you've noticed?) go wrong. Why, he's even discovered a benefit to be gained from confusion: it helps you shake off complacency. Makes you more alert. He not only explains how human beings communicate with each other via spoken, written, sign and body language, but also discusses the latest developments in our attempt to teach language to other primates, to understand what dolphins and whales do with their superior brains, and to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Plus such related topics as translation in diplomacy, ""disinformation"" in expionage, how to outwit a ransom demand--or make a threat stick, an explanation of ""ESP"" and other ""psychic powers."" Watzlawick is a superb popularizer who couches his scientific data in anecdotes, paradoxes, games, conundrums, jokes and stories. We haven't been so simultaneously entertained and intrigued in many, many books.