Olivia Cruse, September 6, 2011 (view all comments by Olivia Cruse)
The author meditates, floats, lucid dreams, hides out in a cabin to alter his sleep cycle for a month, and then recounts his experiences in warmly humorous detail. Books about consciousness tend to be either numbingly technical or too loose with science for my taste, but this one is just right. Whimsical without being silly, detailed without being tedious, this trip into the mind is one enjoyable vacation.
dafoster, January 19, 2008 (view all comments by dafoster)
A very enjoyable tour through some varieties of experience - hypnagogic - between waking and sleeping, the slow wave of sleep, the Watch, the REM dream, lucid dreaming, the hypnopompic - between sleeping and waking, the trance, the daydream, the SMR (sensorimotor rhythm), the Zone, the pure conscious event, and the parasomnias. The author's humor makes the book light-hearted but not at all lightweight, as he earnestly tries to understand the various states.
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The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness
0 stars -
Random House -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Warren, a Canadian science journalist, combines the rigorous self-experimentation of Steven Johnson's Mind Wide Open with the wacky self-experimentation of A.J. Jacobs's The Know-It-All in this entertaining field guide to the varying levels of mental awareness. Beginning with the mild hallucinogenic state that comes just before true sleep, he tries to hone his skills at lucid dreaming, subjects himself to hypnosis and joins a Buddhist meditation retreat, among other adventures. Along the way, he begins to realize that 'dreaming and waking are equivalent states,' and that we can learn how to induce the subtle gradations of consciousness within ourselves. This could come off as New Age psychobabble, but Warren is well versed in the scientific literature, and he provides detailed accounts of his own research. (During one three-week period, for example, he goes to bed at sundown to recreate a period of wakefulness before returning to sleep that used to be common before electric light reconfigured our sleep schedules.) His self-mocking attitude toward his inability to achieve instant nirvana, along with a steady stream of cartoon illustrations, ensures that his ideas remain accessible. More important than the theories, though, may be the basic tools — and the visionary spirit — that Warren hands off to those interested in hacking their own minds. B&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A sprawling and occasionally goofy examination of a shockingly little understood aspect of our lives."
by Library Journal,
"This entertaining book, complete with Warren's own black-and-white, cartoon-like drawings, manages to convey a good deal about the science of cognition in an easy-to-absorb narrative."
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