Those with a thing for physics and an openness to Eastern philosophy will appreciate the vigor and the clarity of Hart’s...




Former exploration geophysicist and adventurer Hart explains how our consciousness participates in the creation of reality and the elements it draws on to fuel its vision.

A number of extraordinary personal experiences—a near-death tumble off the North Face of Everest; episodes of precognition and telekinesis, each an undeniably transcendental event—set Hart to pondering one of the oldest chestnuts of all: What is reality and how do we understand it as such? Circumstances found him in distant outposts, and he was sharp enough when there to discuss with local graybeards the events that befell him, tapping into Sherpa insights about the lower and upper selves and the power of the void, or listening to a yogi in India say that we have “a second body, a mental body composed of nothing but energy.” Much of what he learns rings bells in his scientific mind, and he seeks a common ground. This sends him to quantum mechanics, waves and particles, vortices of energy fields, the non-local universe, and the concept of “phaselock,” in which wave functions are a source of information to guide self-organizing systems. The physics here can be as dense as dark matter, but Hart handles the subject with aplomb for such rarified theory. Gradually, he pulls the strands together: the suggestion of parallel universes from which “the observer selects one aspect of the wave function to detect,” screening perceptions but sharing a commonality of experience since it is drawn from a hidden field of shared information, a single entity of phaselocked quantum waves, a quantum field of endless potentiality. This is rich stuff, with the ego, free will, the void, particle theory, neuroscience, and much more comfortably sharing the same couch.

Those with a thing for physics and an openness to Eastern philosophy will appreciate the vigor and the clarity of Hart’s ideas about how we simulate reality, create time, and shape the world with our thoughts.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7434-7725-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Paraview/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.


A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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