1 out of 4 stars
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“If you find my arguments troubling, I sincerely encourage you to challenge them.” This is what Anthony Simola writes at the beginning of his book The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement. “There will undoubtedly be hysterical outcries criticizing my work, and I have made a firm commitment to ignoring them,” he writes at the end.
In the first edition that was published in 2015, Simola acknowledges he is a computer programmer and student of electrical engineering. The length of his book suits a doctoral dissertation, but the contents resemble an unusually lengthy undergraduate essay. I wonder from where he has compiled the interdisciplinary content that embraces medicine, technology, philosophy, psychology, and religion. The title itself has been borrowed from a book by Isaac Asimov.
Only a very senior professional with multidisciplinary qualifications at the postgraduate level as well as decades of experience could release authoritative statements on the diverse subjects. I’m certain that would include at least thirty pages of a well-chosen bibliography to prove the authenticity of the research. This book contains only five pages of a bibliography which seems to be of undergraduate level. There are endnotes for every chapter, but they are not numbered. This is unacceptable in scholarly circles. In today’s digital world with its information overload, book readers need to be very discerning. They need to identify the source of the author’s knowledge. It is a reviewer’s task to critically analyze and offer an honest opinion.
The Roving Mind is divided into three sections. The first part deals with intelligence and how it can be improved through nutrition, nootropics, etc. The next part provides examples of various thinkers on the subject along with practical advice by the author. These include teachings of eastern religions on brahmacharya, etc. The last part deals with the future of cognitive enhancement, including some discussion on psychopharmacology. As already mentioned, it refers to an extensive range of disciplines dealing with body, mind, and spirit. I have concrete reasons to believe the author is neither qualified nor experienced to give an expert opinion on any of these subjects. I would not bother describing the contents in more detail. I was enraged reading about his advice regarding a keto diet. I disliked it the most. Medical specialists are known to prescribe it in rare cases. This is inevitably started under expert supervision. Negligence can cause a coma and even death.
I have cited only one example of the risks posed by this book although there are many other points that captured my attention. Common sense tells me he has decades to go before he can teach these subjects. However, I liked the topic selected by the writer. It is relevant and fascinating. It allows the scope of genuine research by experts in various disciplines. Indeed, cognitive enhancement or growing in intelligence is needed in this world. The book seems to be professionally edited because I did not find any spelling or grammatical error. I appreciate the author for the choice of the topic. The contents have obviously been compiled from unknown sources and may appeal to uncritical readers. Nevertheless, I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars and do not recommend it for reading.
The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement
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