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The Soul

A History of the Human Mind

Penguin Random House 2024

In The Soul: A History of the Human Mind I embark on a journey that has never been attempted: to restore the idea of the soul to the human story and to show how belief in, and beliefs arising from, the soul/mind have animated and driven our history.

Almost everyone thinks they have one, but nobody knows what it is.

For thousands of years the soul was an ‘organ’, an entity, something that was part of all of us, that survived the death of the body and ventured to the underworld, or to heaven or hell.

The soul could be saved, condemned, tortured, bought.

And then, mysteriously, the ‘soul’ disappeared. The Enlightenment called it the ‘mind’. And today, neuroscientists demonstrate that the mind is the creation of the brain.

The ‘religious soul’ lives on, in the minds of the faithful, while the secular ‘soul’ means whatever you want it to mean.

The strange, subjective nature of our minds continues to bewilder neuroscientists and frustrate institutional religions. What differentiates our minds? Why is my truth, your lies? My good, your evil? What is the source of those beliefs? And why do people seek to impose their beliefs on others, sometimes lovingly, often violently?

The Soul is much more than a mesmerizing narrative and uniquely accessible way of explaining our story. It transforms our understanding of how history works. It persuasively demonstrates that the beliefs of the soul/mind are the engines of human history.

Writing The Soul has changed my life; reading it may change yours.


Never had the world contended with a mind prepared to eliminate so many in the name of a belief. ... Never had a country pursued with such typhonic force the obliteration of an entire ‘class’.


Out July 30, 2024. Reviews to come.

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