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The Self Delusion: The Surprising Science of How We Are Connected and Why That Matters

Tom Oliver

3 Reviews

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Social issues & processes, Popular science, Life sciences: general issues, Human biology

An explosive popular science book that brings to life the overwhelming evidence contradicting the perception we have of ourselves as independent beings

'A thought-provoking and worthwhile read' THE TIMES

'A timely, challenging book' GUARDIAN

'[A] rich, intriguing book' NATURE


- Most of our 37 trillion cells have such a short lifespan that we are essentially made anew every few weeks
- The molecules forming our bodies have been component parts of countless other organisms, from ancient plants to dinosaurs
- The bacteria, fungi and viruses that make up our bodies influence our moods and even manipulate our behaviour
- Every word and every touch we receive from other people transforms the neural networks in our brain and changes our sense of self

THE SELF DELUSION is an explosive, powerful and inspiring book that brings together overwhelming evidence against the illusion we have of ourselves as independent beings - and explains how understanding our many connections may be the key to a better future.

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Praise for The Self Delusion: The Surprising Science of How We Are Connected and Why That Matters

  • Consciousness is one of the greatest of scientific mysteries . . . Fascinating - MAIL ON SUNDAY

  • The idea of the self as a relatively closed system is a delusion that has often conferred advantage, but is now a dangerous trap. Moving through difficult science with valuable clarity, Oliver tells us why . . . [a] timely, challenging book - GUARDIAN

  • Ambitious . . . it has several important messages, many of which need to be more widely understood . . . a thought-provoking and worthwhile read - THE TIMES

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Tom Oliver

TOM OLIVER is a Professor at the University of Reading, leading their Ecology and Evolution research group. He is a prominent systems thinker, advising both the UK government and the European Environment Agency. He is a frequent contributor to broadcast media and regularly gives talks on environmental science to general audiences. He has published more than seventy scientific papers in world-leading interdisciplinary journals and won two first-place prizes for essays communicating science to a broader audience. THE SELF DELUSION is his first book.

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