Sam Harris’ Next Book: Lying

Sam Harris has just announced that his next book will be released in September. It’s called Lying:

It’s not available for pre-order yet, but I’ll let you know when it is! This will be his 4th book.

Bonus points to anyone who can accurately predict what it’ll be about.

***Update***: Harris mentions on Twitter that this will be an ebook (Read: No hard copies).

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Andrew B.

    Knowingly communicating falsehoods or withholding relevant details when asked.  Bam!

  • Annaig

    Lying for Jesus?

  • Sesoron

    Is that a caddisfly?

    • http://reedbraden.com Reed Braden

      Ha!

  • donK

    If a book can be judged by it’s cover it won’t be about knots.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Yeah, assuming it is supposed to be some kind of clinch knot, it could have used a few more twists before the bitter end was tucked back through.

  • NewEnglandBob

    It must be all about religion and the priests, rabbis, ministers and other trolls who practice it.

  • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie Treis

    That looks like the cover to a Malcolm Gladwell book.

    Lying: Why Fishing Stories Explain Everything in one Giant Theory I Just Made Up

  • Rieux

    Hunky vampires?

  • Johannsone

    fished in …

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Could that be a “sky hook” with an artificial lure? 

  • Slow_blind_driveway

    It’s either about the Big One that got away or Religion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tabitha-Eddington/564341436 Tabitha Eddington

    I have a feeling it will be “Fishing Stories” as a metaphor for how some of these ridiculous myths get started.  But that’s just a wild guess.

  • Brian Lynchehaun

    Hopefully this is significantly better than the dross that was The Moral Landscape.

    • http://reedbraden.com Reed Braden

      I don’t get why everyone hates on The Moral Landscape.  I thought it was an excellent book!

      • Anonymous

        one of the best I have ever read.

      • Brian Lynchehaun

        Because it was a book on 1st year Ethics written by someone who had slept through most of the classes.

        A) he didn’t write anything new, yet he wrote as if it was all his.
        B) he repeatedly claimed he wasn’t writing about consequentialist ethics, yet his arguments about ethics were all consequentialist arguments.
        C) he basically spat on all the philosophers who came before by disregarding their work in several places.

        One example of his egregious bullshit: on page 101, Harris claims that “The problem is that no account of causality leaves room for free will”.

        Harris’s buddy, Daniel Dennett, must be surprised to hear that as Dennett wrote a whole damn book on the topic: Freedom Evolves. Fun fact: Harris cites Freedom Evolves in his Bibliography! So either Harris is a liar, citing a book that he hasn’t read, or he’s a liar because Dennett’s account of causality *does* leave room for free will.

        Blackford has an excellent review of the myriad of problems with The Moral Landscape: http://jetpress.org/v21/blackford3.htm

        • GaffiGubbi

          Dennett’s solution to the free will problem is basically to redefine the term free will to mean practically free and informed decisionmaking. He is a compatibilist and Harris apparently isn’t, so if Harris uses the term free will the way libertarians and determinists do (that there should be some really “free” part of the brain that does the willing in order for it to be free will, instead of “free in every practical way”), then he’s correct. No account of causality leaves room for free will, when it’s used in its original meaning.

          I’ll admit that compatibilism is a nicer theory that puts this stupid metaphysical conundrum to rest if we just accept its premises, but Harris is hardly a liar for using the term free will the way his intellectual opponents (mainly Christian apologists) do.

          • Brian Lynchehaun

            A) You don’t appear to have read “Freedom Evolves”. Dennett’s solution is not any version of compatibilism, but an outright rejection of the terms, a rejection of the idea that ‘determinism entails inevitability’.

            B) Harris doesn’t argue that there is no *successful* account of causality that leaves room for free will, but that there is “no account of causality that leaves room for free will”. In only talking about Dennett, I’m throwing Harris a bone: I’m assuming that he’s ignorant of the vast body of literature on this very topic. The fact that he cites Dennett, however, means that he is *not* ignorant of at least one “account of causality that leaves room for free will”.

            You can debate whether or not it’s successful, or whether it’s some form of compatabilism (or any other label you care to apply): all of that is irrelevant to Harris’s point. He’s claiming such an account doesn’t exist when he has either read it, or is pretending to have read it.

            That others may disagree with Dennett’s approach is, again, irrelevant. 

    • Nick Poole

      I liked it too, it wasn’t mind-blowing if you were already familiar with the concept but it was everything he needed to make his case all written down in one place… I’d say that makes for a decent book

  • Anonymous

    Seems silly to go through the process of mocking up a book cover for an ebook. You know, the hard-back look, I mean.

    • JJ

      visual ads work better than verbal ones

    • Anonymous

      In addition to JJ’s point, it’s worth noting that eBooks actually still have a cover page as well. Actual eReaders of course show these as black-and-white, but they can be made to appear in colour on devices capable of it (cell phones, for instance).

      • Anonymous

        I have an ebook reader so I know there’s a cover page that looks like the cover of the hard-back book. I’m just surprised someone would mock up a cover that looks like it’s wrapped around a book for a book that won’t be sold anything other than electronically :)

  • http://reedbraden.com Reed Braden

    Bonus points to anyone who can accurately predict what it’ll be about.

    Uh… Lying?

  • Tinkergr

    My knee-jerk thought was politics. That could be because of the Alan Alda video recently posted or it could be because I always assume politicians are lying and since they usually claim to be Christian…

  • Chris Slaby

    Blerg! I’m pretty sure he mentioned this e-book in one of the recent videos on his website where he answered questions from readers. I guess I’ll have to take a look at that again…

  • Anonymous

    Harun Yahya’s wonderful examples of godly-created insects?

  • G-bird

    Why only an e-book? Why?? Talk about alienating those who can’t afford shiny readers or even want to afford shiny stuff. Jeez, I’m a techy librarian by trade but still love a good traditional book!

    • The other Tom

      You have access to a computer. Download the free Kindle software from Amazon and read the book, or use their browser-based reader and dont even install anything.

    • The other Tom

      You have access to a computer. Download the free Kindle software from Amazon and read the book, or use their browser-based reader and dont even install anything.

      • Laurence

        Some people have trouble reading books on computer screens.

        • Anonymous

          I do not own an e reader and have no desire of getting one. There is no way I can read an entire book on a computer screen. I guess I will be looking for excerpts once it is published.

          • Erasure16

            Miss Beara, I suggest you purchase an e-Reader. There is no reason not to have one.  You can continue to purchase hardcover books, but it is much faster and cheaper for Mr. Harris to get his ideas out to his readers using the electronic format.  Sign of the times my dear, not an indictment of “book” medium.

        • Corin

          Then print the thing and read it. 

  • Anonymous

    From Sam’s twitter :

    “Writing about the ethics of lying: What are the most damaging lies ever told (in history, current events, literature, or film)?”

  • Anonymous

    From Sam’s twitter:

    Writing about the ethics of lying: What are the most damaging lies ever told (in history, current events, literature, or film)?

  • Beefaice

    :/ E-books suck.

  • Tom

    Perhaps the book will touch upon this, which Sam wrote in 2009:
    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-edge-annual-question-2009/

  • The Captain

    Booooooooooooooooooo E-book!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the Xtians can match e-books with f-books – Faith implanted in brains, directly from god:
     
    no pages,
    phony sages

    no kindles
    ancient jingles 

    no nooks,
    implanted in kooks

    no truth from Dr. Harris,
    tales of bananas that embarrass

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the Xtians can match e-books with f-books – Faith implanted in brains, directly from god:
     
    no pages,
    phony sages

    no kindles
    ancient jingles 

    no nooks,
    implanted in kooks

    no truth from Dr. Harris,
    tales of bananas that embarrass

  • Chris Slaby

    Ah-ha! I think I’ve found it. On Sam Harris’ website, on the second video (Ask Sam Harris Anything #2), at 4 minutes and 42 seconds he begins to address a question about free will. He goes on to mention that he’s been getting so much attention about his thoughts on free will that he’s thinking about combining and expanding some blog posts and making an e-book. So this might be it. Link to the video: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/ask-sam-harris-anything-2/

    • Aaron Grauer

      Chris got it right. I watched that video and he mentioned putting together an eBook about free will.

      • Beyond Belief

        …and yet, the title is “Lying”  and not “Free Will”… WTF?

        • Rhok

          The lies we tell ourselves. Most of which inadvertant.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    The proliferation of printing presses in the 18th-century were to pamphlets, like “Common Sense,” what e-books are to small essays of wisdom today.

    Do not be afraid of the e-book. The medium is not the message.

  • Anonymous

    I love e-books. It’s the only way I can read. I don’t have an e-reader (would love one though), I just use my Blackberry. The text is the same size as a book-12pt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-A-Anderson/100000016895400 John A. Anderson

    How do you know there won’t be a hardback? He could be lying.
    At any rate, I will predict, with some confidence, that the book will address the issue of not telling the truth.

  • Gs4000

    No religion can grow based upon real facts, IMHO. So all sorts of outright lies or exaggerations come into existence to attract converts.

  • Gs4000

    No religion can grow based upon real facts, IMHO. So all sorts of outright lies or exaggerations come into existence to attract converts.

  • http://twitter.com/ashwinthecatwin Bridget A.

    The E-book may be easier for most to obtain, however, what about his audience who are visually impaired? Thats why audio books are so important. I hope he brings this essay out in audio at least! As for the title “Lying” and I am hearing it is more about free will I am looking forward to it. Dr. Harris’s perception on certain topics I find fascinating and a breath of fresh air…


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