For the holidays, I thought that I would share with you three books that are the most meaningful books I have ever read in my life.
"Past". I first read this book 24 years ago in high school. It was recommended to me by an amazingly talented teacher and it single-handedly transformed the way I look at the world. It won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category after it was published in 1979. The author, Douglas Hoftstadter is quite simply a genius and is currently the College Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science Distinguished Professor with Indiana University's Cognitive Science Program. I have read it 5 times in my life, each time peeling back more layers of the onion and extracting more of its exquisite meaning. It is the best book I have ever read, hands down, but a challenging read – you may want to save it for last out of the three.
"Present". This is an amazing collection of stories and commentary that will really turn your head upside down and challenge what you think about consciousness, the possibility of other forms of consciousness, how you think, and why you think it. I recommend that you read this book first, to whet your appetite for Douglas Hofstadter's writing.
"Future". Ray Kurzweil's view of the near future is also my view, and he backs up his theories with facts. Ray does a great job of laying his fantastic predictions out for the near future. What he is predicting will take place is simply mind blowing and earth shattering. I recommend that you read this book second out of the three.