Regular price: £19.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

Sam Harris has discovered that most people, from secular scientists to religious fundamentalists, agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, science’s failure to address questions of meaning and morality has become the primary justification for religious faith. The underlying claim is that while science is the best authority on the workings of the physical universe, religion is the best authority on meaning, values, morality, and leading a good life. Sam Harris shows us that this is not only untrue; it cannot possibly be true.

Bringing a fresh, secular perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong, and good and evil, Harris shows that we know enough about the human brain and how it reacts to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false – and comes at increasing cost to humanity.

Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of the cultural war between science and religion, Harris delivers an explosive argument about the future of science, and about the real basis of human relationships.

©2011 Sam Harris (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    281
  • 4 Stars
    87
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    231
  • 4 Stars
    38
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    214
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking, perhaps a little antagonistic

The central (and highly thought provoking) proposition behind this audio book is that as a race we should seek to give primacy in decisions about human morality and values to neuroscience and the scientific method. The assertion is that by doing this, as opposed to following the dogma of organised religions and other irrational beliefs, we will be creating a better society.

Whilst this is not an "easy" listen, the author does an admirable job of dealing with the science, logic, philosophy in order to make his case, whilst technically the recording and the reading are very good. I found listening to it a deeply engrossing, thought provoking and enjoyable experience and will certainly listen to it again in the near future.


So why four stars.


Well I think the authors assertion is almost certainly correct; we would be much better of removing religion from the equation. However for my money I think the book could have communicated this more effectively to a wider audience, if it had focused more on its own ideas and rather less on a sustained sniping at organised religion and its excesses. (The downside of this negativity is that there is unfortunately likely to be more people put off reading and understanding the excellent ideas in the book than will be attracted to it).


In summary, an excellent thought provoking listen, possibly flawed in a counter productive antagonistism towards religion and its adherents, otherwise very highly recommended.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse - Brilliant

Having been overawed by the the works of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, I have now very much enjoyed my introduction to Sam Harris, the third of the four so-called "Horsemen" whose works I have now begun to consume (the fourth being Daniel Dennett). Speaking from his expertise in neurology and philosophy, Harris makes a powerful argument in favour of the existence of an objective standard for determining good and evil. His argument is illustrated by the moral landscape, in which there are peaks of human flourishing and valleys of human suffering. It follows that as a society and individuals ascend the peaks. Crucial to Harris' argument is the idea that science is the only way to determine good and evil in this context; and religion must be left behind.

Whilst I am not yet convinced by his argument that good and evil can be objectively determined, the case he makes is persuasive. He presents his evidence in detail and he considers the contrary arguments of others and thoroughly rebuts them. Along the way his argument is furnished with fascinating scientific case studies, and a good dollop of lambasting of the suffering caused by religion.

His narration of the audio-book is clear and engaging. I'm glad to have heard him present his argument in his own voice. This is an unmissable six hour lecture in science and morality.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book

An excellent book, very listenable, packed with the kinds of scientific details and statistical observations that make Harris so popular. I'm not (as yet) sure whether I agree with Harris' central thesis, there's some complex ideas in the book that request and require some detailed, analytical thinking that are not always the priority of a first hearing, but - gladly - it's short enough to allow for multiple readings without any major innconveniance.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

SH is not quite up to the task

I was a bit disappointed. This is a great subject, but I don't feel SH has the historical and intellectual firepower to do it justice (Steven Pinker should take it on). SH thesis is that science should take on moral philosophy and not leave it as a 'separate domain' (NOMA). Well, in France we have been living for a couple of centuries under a social contract with a moral code worked out through logic (rather than revelation) and enforced by police (for antisocial behaviour) and tax collectors (for redistributive charity), so SH seems a little behind the game. He does not properly recognise the key problem of 'ought', but assumes it from his 'axioms' - that consciousness exists and conscious beings suffer. He says, 'We know we should eat less, but often we fail' and, 'We know we should be good, but often we fail.' This is not analogous. Nor does he manage to draw out any startling conclusions from his axiomatic system e.g. that imposing confiscatory taxes on (saved) wealth is wrong, or what proportion of our income we 'should' redistribute. So, I was challenged by no new ideas.
PS: poor old SH also reads in a rather monotonic voice (and says 'human beans' like the BFG) - he should have employed a professional reader to give more expression to his content. That might have helped.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jim
  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 06-02-13

Amazing, amazing, amazing!

Regardless of whether you find yourself in total agreement with Sam Harris at the end of the audiobook, I am willing to stake any reputation I may have garnered on the promise of it's having a profound impact on the way you think. There is simply no justification for not engaging with The Moral Landscape. I would also point out that generally the skills of being a truly unique philosopher and being strong with analogies are close to mutually exclusive, however Mr Harris hits the proverbial nail on the head. A glorious, seismic work.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stuart
  • St Albans, United Kingdom
  • 14-02-12

The ideas were new (to me) and optimistic

Many people (including myself, prior to listening to this book) think that either your moral opinions come from some dogmatic ancient book (the Bible etc) or else they are completely arbitrary ("moral relativism").
In this book Sam Harris puts forward an alternative that I find to be a helpful way out of this seeming dichotomy.
If you liked 'The God Delusion' then I think you'll like this.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marc
  • Elvanfoot, United Kingdom
  • 14-11-11

Controversial, maybe wrong, but important

There are many statements that Harris makes in this book that I ended up disagreeing with and hence I do not agree with his conclusions. But to date, I have not read a better discussion of how we should define what is moral and I feel indebted to Harris for having provided the discourse that allowed me to refine my own views.
I should point out that my disagreement has been strengthened when reading further on the science that Harris is referring to. In my view, like many Neurologists today, I think that the conclusions that are made from the existing experiments are far too broad given the limited scope of what we can really measure.
Having said that, Harris is excellent where he shows how screwed up the public discourse on morality really is and he is offering a valid "arena" in which we could have a meaningful discussion about how we should define morality within society.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • Borehamwood, United Kingdom
  • 10-07-11

Interesting

An interesting concept is raised in this book but Sam Harris fails to give me much enthusiasm for it. He also speaks very quickly and uses a lot of jargon which can make it difficult to follow unless you have studied this topic before.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

bravo Sam

Sam Harris makes a compelling argument for human morality, reason and the foundations of our ethical understanding of the human experience. Well read, well structured and original.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Buy, listen and spread this very important book

Excellently written, read and thought out theory for a new understanding of how we work out how to live as humans. Essential reading for any human.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 14-08-12

The most important thinker of our time

If you could sum up The Moral Landscape in three words, what would they be?

Probably the most elucidating book ever. The very idea that science can contribute to and has something to say about morality is eye-opening. I recommended this book for my brother who just entered medical school. Harris's arguments are overwhelmingly persuasive and if, God forbid ;), he died today, his contribution to society would have equalled 50,000 lifetimes of ordinary men. Bravo, Mr. Harris. I'm still speechless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • B. Catalina Pfa
  • 09-04-12

Science is the closest thing to finding what moral

Where does The Moral Landscape rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's one of the top books I've listened, and will enjoy repeating the experience again.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Realizing that we have more power, knowledge and vision now to discover and understand fundamental truths about our lives, such as morality, values and spirituality. We're underestimating ourselves and let people from 3000 years ago decide what's wrong and right for us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-04-18

Does not refute Humeian is/ought distinction

Waste of time, doesn't attempt define "wellbeing" while claiming it's the only worthwhile moral value.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin Hellen Schei
  • 22-02-18

Good!

Interesting! Worth to listen to. Could give you a new perspective on morality and life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-17

FANTASTIC. We, humans, have a long way to go.

Read this book and se how far from perfection we are. We are still very primitive an so preprogrammed by evolution. And most people are not aware of this and therefore the madness Continues.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Petr Kubat
  • 09-09-17

Weird structure

I like Sam's Waking up podcast so I am quite used to Sam's arguments and his reasoning. And I tend to agree with most of his arguments in general. So I wanted to read this book to have some structured view on this one topic. But this is not it. I found this book to be quite unstructured. Sam spends time arguing his opponents, other ideas or religion, rather than explaining his point of view extensively. Overall I had different expectations and thus I was partly disappointed. But on the other hand I wouldn't say that the book itself is bad. I just like different structure better. Author narrates the book himself which I always like the best. However sometimes the narration was quite quick and also Sam assumes listener/reader already has basic knowledge of philosophy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 12-01-17

the book that changed my life

a wonderful refutation of moral relativism, and the belief that there is a bright line between science and philosophy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • André
  • 05-08-16

The most important book I've encountered!

The Moral Landscape, written by Sam Harris, offers context on subjects which are often ignored in daily society. The landscape he presents explores the peaks and valleys of the psychology behind human understanding and interaction, exposing fields of thought which may otherwise have been occluded.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • SleazyC69
  • 20-01-16

Excellent

Another beautiful demonstration by Harris that intellectual honesty is the foundation of progress. Truly enlightening.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gustav
  • 09-07-15

A philosophical position delivered with great simplicity and scientific accuracy

This is an important book. Read it if you want to unpack a challenge to beliefs that are widespread. As always with Harris, his message is delivered in a fashion that is precisely as hard hitting as the facts allow.