Book Recommendations

Below are the books that I have read and interviewed the writers on, and that I recommend you read too. I try to read about a book a week on either consciousness, artificial intelligence or biohacking. It’s a lot of content, but it’s extremely interesting to me.  Have any book recommendations for me or my audience? I would love any recommendations and/or introductions to writers you think I should have on my show. 🙂

The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology

The next frontier in technology is inside our own bodies.

Synthetic biology will revolutionize how we define family, how we identify disease and treat aging, where we make our homes, and how we nourish ourselves. This fast-growing field—which uses computers to modify or rewrite genetic code—has created revolutionary, groundbreaking solutions such as the mRNA COVID vaccines, IVF, and lab-grown hamburger that tastes like the real thing.  It gives us options to deal with existential threats: climate change, food insecurity, and access to fuel.

But there are significant risks.

Who should decide how to engineer living organisms? Whether engineered organisms should be planted, farmed, and released into the wild? Should there be limits to human enhancements? What cyber-biological risks are looming? Could a future biological war, using engineered organisms, cause a mass extinction event? 

Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel’s riveting examination of synthetic biology and the bioeconomy provide the background for thinking through the upcoming risks and moral dilemmas posed by redesigning life, as well as the vast opportunities waiting for us on the horizon.

Check out the interview here. 

Healing Adaptogens

Boost your body’s internal ability to defend, perform, and restore with this guide to the 21 most common adaptogens and their healing properties from the team behind Four Sigmatic. Are you suffering from chronic fatigue, anxiety, digestive, or autoimmune issues? Or are you seeking a simple way to bring whole-body health into your life with a food that is easy to integrate into your everyday routine with no muss, no fuss? Welcome to the world of adaptogens: nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse superfoods that have been clinically proven to help your body:

   defend your immunity and gut health,
   perform through your cardiovascular and respiratory systems,
    and restore balance through your neuroendocrine system.

By definition, adaptogens are nontoxic, nonspecific (meaning they build adaptive energy rather than exerting a specific effect), and normalizing (meaning there’s a balancing bidirectional effect on physiological function). Tero Isokauppila, founder of Four Sigmatic, and registered herbalist Danielle Ryan Broida guide you through the scientific mechanisms and health benefits of the 21 most powerful species of adaptogens, from ashwagandha to chaga to turmeric. Complete with client case studies and a shopping guide, Healing Adaptogens will educate, inform, inspire, and delight, giving you the tools you need to elevate your daily routine with adaptogens.

Check out the interview here. 

Zombies in Western Culture

Why has the zombie become such a pervasive figure in twenty-first-century popular culture? John Vervaeke, Christopher Mastropietro and Filip Miscevic seek to answer this question by arguing that particular aspects of the zombie, common to a variety of media forms, reflect a crisis in modern Western culture.  

The authors examine the essential features of the zombie, including mindlessness, ugliness and homelessness, and argue that these reflect the outlook of the contemporary West and its attendant zeitgeists of anxiety, alienation, disconnection and disenfranchisement. They trace the relationship between zombies and the theme of secular apocalypse, demonstrating that the zombie draws its power from being a perversion of the Christian mythos of death and resurrection. Symbolic of a lost Christian worldview, the zombie represents a world that can no longer explain itself, nor provide us with instructions for how to live within it.

The concept of  ‘domicide’ or the destruction of home is developed to describe the modern crisis of meaning that the zombie both represents and reflects. This is illustrated using case studies including the relocation of the Anishinaabe of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, and the upheaval of population displacement in the Hellenistic period. Finally, the authors invoke and reformulate symbols of the four horseman of the apocalypse as rhetorical analogues to frame those aspects of contemporary collapse that elucidate the horror of the zombie.

Zombies in Western Culture: A Twenty-First Century Crisis is required reading for anyone interested in the phenomenon of zombies in contemporary culture. It will also be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience including students and scholars of culture studies, semiotics, philosophy, religious studies, eschatology, anthropology, Jungian studies, and sociology.   

Check out the interview here. 

Evil Robots, Killer Computers, and Other Myths

Are AI robots and computers really going to take over the world?

Longtime artificial intelligence (AI) researcher and investor Steve Shwartz has grown frustrated with the fear-inducing hype around AI in popular culture and media. Yes, today’s AI systems are miracles of modern engineering, but no, humans do not have to fear robots seizing control or taking over all our jobs.
In this exploration of the fascinating and ever-changing landscape of artificial intelligence, Dr. Shwartz explains how AI works in simple terms. After reading this captivating book, you will understand

the inner workings of today’s amazing AI technologies, including facial recognition, self-driving cars, machine translation, chatbots, deepfakes, and many others;
why today’s artificial intelligence technology cannot evolve into the AI of science fiction lore;
the crucial areas where we will need to adopt new laws and policies in order to counter threats to our safety and personal freedoms resulting from the use of AI.
So although we don’t have to worry about evil robots rising to power and turning us into pets—and we probably never will—artificial intelligence is here to stay, and we must learn to separate fact from fiction and embrace how this amazing technology enhances our world.

Check out the interview here.