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Praise for Books by Robert Ornstein


The Brain, Mind, and Consciousness


God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called “God”

This book is the culmination of, the capstone to Robert Ornstein’s brilliant, ground-breaking half century of research into the dimensions, capacities, and purposes of human consciousness. Deeply thoughtful and wide-ranging in scope, his final book goes well beyond the “left-brain, right-brain” work for which he originally became famous, this time bringing the often-confusing and divisive subject of spirituality into a clear and useful 21st-century focus, presenting it as a matter of perception, not belief. Using rigorous, rational, scientific analysis – always his greatest strength – Ornstein shows that the spiritual impulse is innate, a human ability that from the Ice Age forward has been essential to problem solving. As a final part of his legacy, he lays out how this capacity to reach beyond the everyday can, cleared of cobwebs and seen afresh, play a role and be part of preparing humanity to confront today’s staggering global problems. A rewarding and fascinating book.”  — Tony Hiss, author of Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth

“Staggering in scope and breadth, God 4.0 is the culmination of Ornstein’s work on the psychology of consciousness. Connecting the latest research from archeology, religious history, psychology and brain science, the authors extend a timely invitation to explore a latent, intuitive faculty we all share – one that can moves us beyond belief, faith, and doctrine to a wider perception of who we are and who we could become.” — David D. Sobel, MD, MPH, Stanford University School of Medicine

“God 4.0 can make you rethink what God, religion, consciousness, and the human experience of them are. What if God were not a disembodied spirit? What if God were an altered state of consciousness? … Our experience of God is seen as an inborn network of the human brain, a second system of cognition and connection which can be accessed and help us today. This landmark book shines new light on things we thought we understood.”  Charles Swencionis, Associate Professor of Psychology, Yeshiva University

“God 4.0 is a visionary fusion of true spirituality and neuroscience. Both authors forcefully argue for “consciousness evolution” which is a shift away from self-centeredness that releases enhanced perceptual capabilities. This shift can profoundly influence epigenetic expression, health, and perhaps even influence the epigenetic inheritance of future generations.   Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, Author of Change Your Genes, Change Your Life

“God 4.0 is a stunning tour de force of erudition, deftly summarizing forty thousand years of the human search for
spiritual transcendence – via the painted caves of the Ice Age shamans, the Neolithic megaliths and Mesopotamian
ziggurats, and the soaring Medieval cathedrals and mosques.  The second half of the book turns inward to describe
the structures and processes of the human brain that foster transcendence, and the factors that interfere with
it.  Robert and Sally Ornstein make an ideal team for this collaboration, Sally a painter and publisher of children’s
books, and Robert a psychologist and neuroscientist. The result is a brilliant guided expedition through reams of
archeological and neurological research, with the authors highlighting in easily understood language the important
discoveries and developments in our perennial quest for meaning and purpose.Lisa Alther, novelist and author of four New York Times best sellers

Psychology of Consciousness 

“A fine, fine book, lucid, unsmug, amazingly comprehensive. Reading [it] I felt over and over again that this was the book I had been waiting for.” The New Yorker

“An original and explosive book. It starts out by making psychology, the science of the mind, what’s it actually is—as exciting and suspenseful as a good mystery story.”George B. Leonard

“Should be read by all students of the mind”Andrew Weil, M.D. author of Spontaneous Healing

“The Psychology of Consciousness . ..a fine text to introduce students to the new ideas that are transforming the study of the mind.” Psychology Today

The Evolution of Consciousness

“One of those rare books this is so profoundly exciting they raise the hairs on the back of your neck.” James Burke, author of The Day the Universe Changed, and Connections

“Every few years one comes across a book that will change one’s thinking forever, and this is one such book.” —Stuart Whitwell, Booklist

“Instructive and entertaining … If your reading experience mirrors mine, you will learn a lot about the brain and how we think. You will also be entertained, challenged, occasionally annoyed, but never bored.”Richard M. Restak, The Washington Times.  

Multimind: A New Way of Looking at Human Behavior

“If there is one book to read on the nature of the human mind, this is it!” —Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

“… Ornstein presents, in a most enchanting style, provocative insights into the human mind.” Donald C. Johanson, author of Lucy

“Ornstein has always been on the frontier of new, speculative thinking about the workings of the mind … No narrow specialist, he uses literature, myth and poetry, not to mention jokes, to illustrate his ideas… Ornstein can describe these ideas so that people without scientific training can grasp them . . . not only informative but entertaining as well.” Doris Lessing, British novelist and writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“Bob Ornstein’s tour de cortex is smashing—battering barriers between domains of knowledge that have traditionally been isolated because they have been viewed by scholars as unrelated.” Philip Zimbardo,  Emeritus Professor, Stanford University, Founder of The Heroic Imagination Project

“Ornstein is one of the more original thinkers in the fields of neurology and psychology. He has also the advantage of being gifted with the ability to expound difficult ideas simply, as many of the most significant gurus do by means of parables … This is a beautifully written, amusing and provocative book.”  —The Guardian

The Right Mind

“I have always admired Robert Ornstein’s ability to explain difficult scientific ideas to ordinary people. This book summarizes and elucidates the enormous amount of work that has gone on in this field during the last 20 years since the author was involved with left-brain right-brain research.”Doris Lessing, British novelist and writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“Ornstein’s revisitation of the brain laterality research is astonishing so much complex evidence brought to life with such a clear, inviting style. This book gives the cutting-edge picture of how the brain works with provocative insights, exciting applications, and glimpses into the future. It will change how you think about the brain. It is in the first rank of books on the brain, and it is also hard to put down. Ornstein at his best!”Claude M. Steele, author Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, Stanford University.

“Ornstein takes us on a magical mystery tour through a fascinating mix of evidence from experimental psychology, clinical observation, and even illusionary biology. Certainly, the most intelligently written, readable account of this topic I have come across.” Gordon Claridge, University of Oxford

The Mind Field

“Works with cool logic and scientific skepticism to point up the potential of intuitional, inductive, and holistic modes of thought, while separating out the voguish chaff.” The New York Times 

“For genuine enquirers this book is a must!”Doris Lessing British novelist and writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

MindReal: How the Mind Creates it’s Own Virtual Reality

“An excellent read for those who have read Ornstein … for those who haven’t, an excellent introduction to his work.”Charlie Swencionis, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Roots of the Self

“[Ornstein] uses practical examples, humor and nontechnical language to interpret current findings in psychology … His chapter on race and culture should be required reading for anyone needing evidence that intelligence and achievement are not genetically determined by skin color or ethnic background” San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“A most arresting look at the ‘self’ by one of the most witty and original psychologists writing today.”Booklist

“Presenting a new personality theory grounded in the latest research on child development, genetics and brain organization, Ornstein challenges many popular assumptions in a brilliant, exciting, conversationally written synthesis.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Beautifully written … Not self-help but a help to understanding the self … [Ornstein’s] insights are startling, original and certain to change how we think about ourselves and others.”Paul Eckman, University of California San Francisco, author of Telling Lies and Unmasking the Face.

The Amazing Brain

“The clarity they offer is enhanced by the wonderfully detailed illustrations of David MacCaulay that take us to the surreal landscape of the interior of the brain.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Fascinating study of the human brain.  While the text is accessible . . . it is the illustrations that separate  this book from others.” Library Journal

Meditation and Modern Psychology

“This book is thoroughly worth buying and reading – with a pencil. We desperately need what the book is talking about and showing to be a real possibility. We can no longer ignore the impressive testimony to the nature of consciousness that is coming from a convergence of the mentalities of the east and the west. The freeing of consciousness is the most urgent need about time.”Sebastian Moore, The Critic

“This book is the first scientific treatment of meditation that is really good. If you are a meditator and want your worldview expanded, this will help. If you’re a scientist and want your worldview expanded this, will do it.”Charles T. Tart, The Last Whole Earth Catalog


Our Future


New World, New Mind

“It’s a rare book that changes people’s lives, rarest still is a book that changes the world. In New World New Mind Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich not only have the audacity to attempt both things, but they offer just enough visionary rethinking and nuts and bolts research to carry it off.”San Francisco Chronicle

“If we don’t act on this information, our grandchildren may never forgive us.”Dan Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Vital Lies

“A brilliant book … we have to learn to think differently… this new way of thinking should begin in schools, colleges, and be taught on popular TV programs. There is still time to save ourselves if we listen to authors like these.”Doris Lessing, British novelist and writer, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“Should become required reading for all those who want to know where humanity has come from and the changes we now need to make to face our future.”Donald C. Johansen, author of “Lucy”

“We shall have to bring mind and the world together, with proper respect and understanding of both. If we are to maintain any hope of human salvation on a beautiful planet. This book by two great humanists, one an expert on mind one on the natural world, points the way. Let us all, read and act.” Stephen Jay Gould, Harvard University, author of The Mismeasure of Man and Panda’s Thumb.

The Axemaker’s Gift: A Double-Edged History of Human Culture

“The book is a triumph. I don’t think there’s been anything like it in its combination of erudition of the highest order and of penetrating forward thinking of similar quality.”Robert Cialdini, author of Influence

“… comprises millions of years of human history into an exciting page turner. Familiar events emerge from the narrative with sparkling freshness, interpreted by the authors’ keen intelligence and vast knowledge of human behavior. It is a book that defines some of the central issues of our times.”Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow

“This account of the development of human culture is a genuine tour de force. Burke and Ornstein’s description of the emergence of writing—enabling the manipulation and modeling of the world in radical new ways— is an especially brilliant synthesis.”San Francisco Chronicle

“This fascinating new book tells a gripping story about how we humans have used our minds throughout history in a way that is led to both our biggest successes and our biggest problems.”Thomas W Malone, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Humanity on a Tightrope

“… a blueprint for our survival in this globalized world. We got away with attitudes of ‘us versus them’ in the past, we can no longer get away with those attitudes today.”  —Jared Diamond, UCLA, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of best-selling books including Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse

“In this superb book, Ehrlich and Ornstein explore the evolutionary biology brain science anthropology and psychology of how a ‘them’ can become an ‘us,’ how we can expand our sense of empathy, family, and relatedness. But the book is more than merely a masterful and readable review of the subject. It is also a clarion call about what will happen if we don’t get better at turning ‘them’ into ‘us.’ This is a deeply important book.” Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers and A Primate’s Memoir

“Ehrlich and Ornstein , not for the first time, have cut to the heart of the problem we face. And do not for a moment think it can’t be done… we can work globally, but we’ve got to think through precisely the problems outlined here.”Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Marking a life on a Tough New Planet


Mind and Health Books


The Healing Brain

“The Healing Brain is a gem. The authors have managed to synthesize, summarize, and clearly communicate a broad body of knowledge … into a coherent description of how the brain affects our health and well-being. It is a treasure trove of information and insights into an area of vital importance to us all.”Philip R. Lee, M.D., University of California School of Medicine

“Entertainingly written and authoritative. A superb, comprehensive, balanced review of how the brain guards the health.”Jerome D. Frank, M.D. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

“This is a very readable, thoughtful, creative book. It brings together a vast amount of information … in a new way that I have never seen before. This is a brilliant tour de force that will be a major force in setting a new direction for research in the years ahead.”S. Leonard Syme, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Healthy Pleasures

“Reading it is one of life’s healthier pleasures.” —The New York Times

“In emphasizing the importance of pleasing rather than punishing ourselves Ornstein and Sobel encourage us to think of the basic elements of our existence — food, drink, rest, work, sunrises and sunsets, too — in a refreshingly affectionate light.”Los Angeles Times Book Review   

The Mind & Body Health Handbook

“… has sound, sensible advice. This is a book physicians and mental health providers should recommend to their patients. It will help them avoid getting sick, manage themselves better when they are sick, and help them use our health care system for what it has to offer.”C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former U.S. Surgeon General

Until now, people haven’t been provided with an owner’s manual. Mind & Body Health Handbook is a very clear, accessible, and useful guide to the human mind and body. Before you spend any more time trying to figure out how to program your VCR, learn how to program yourself by reading this book. You can learn how to enjoy more and suffer less.” —David Spiegel, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine.