A treasure hunt for the mysteries of mind and brain

I’ve published a couple of free ebooks recently: Explore your blind spot shows you how to reveal the gap we all have in our visual experience of the world, and discusses what it means about consciousness that this gap is kept hidden from us most of the time. Control Your Dreams, co-written with Cathryn Bardsley and illustrated beautifully by Harriet Cameron, tells you how to have lucid dreams, those dreams where you realise you are dreaming and can take control over reality.

Both books are written as treasure hunts – travel guides, but for exploring inner space. When you start reading you will be told about the journey ahead, what you’ll need and how long it will take. Next we tell you about the treasure – some surprising or interesting feature of the mind and brain which is the core experience of the book. We tell you how to generate this experience for yourself, and the things to look out for, and what that experience might mean for our understanding of ourselves. We finish with “travellers’ tales”, which are reports from others who’ve experimented with the phenomenon and links to the scientific literature on the topic.

The core of psychology is experiences. Psychologists think about those experiences, turn them into theories, and try to settle arguments between themselves by generating new experiences – in the form of experiments. But the joy of psychological science is that everybody has access to the raw material. The books are a way of sharing that, an attempt to give away the raw material of psychological science, packaged as experiences for the reader.

The books are creative commons licensed, which means you download them, copy them, even modify them if you want to produced an improved version, and both are fully referenced so you can check up on any claims made in them. Science is naturally an open-source phenomenon, so it feels good to be doing some open source science writing.

Link: Explore Your Blindspot by Tom Stafford
Link: Control Your Dreams by Tom Stafford & Cathryn Bardsley, Illustrated by Harriet Cameron

Update 22 Jan: It looks like people are having problems downloading Control Your Dreams. This is something to do with the Smashwords site. Hopefully the issue will be fixed soon

Update 24 Jan: Fixed

11 Comments

  1. Posted January 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Tom, this is really exciting! Congratulations on the new books.

    You mention that both books are free and CC licensed, but the Smashwords website only offers the first for free. For Control your Dreams I am asked to pay. Is there an alternative download location where I can download the Kindle version for free?

  2. tomstafford
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s available on a pay what you want basis, so feel free to pay $0.00!

  3. Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Tried $0.00 and even more generous prices, but no luck getting beyond the checkout phase. Smashwords sounds like a good idea. Shame that their site doesn’t actually work.

  4. tomstafford
    Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I think you might not be alone. I can see from the smashwords site stats that hundred of the first book have been downloaded since I published this blog post, but *none* for the control your dreams book. I guess they’ve broken their site somehow – hopefully they’ll fix it soon

  5. Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Until then we’ll all have to settle for the same old out-of-control dreams :)

  6. Posted January 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    That’s interesting, because on my desktop is sitting a copy of the Control Your Dreams book, and a day or so ago I got an email from them reminding me I hadn’t reviewed it yet.

    Also, if this page had a “like” or “+1″ I’d totally mash it because +1 to open-source science writing!

  7. Peer Stritzinger
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    When I look on iBook Store only “Explore Your Blindspot” is shown, can’t find “Control Your Dreams” there.

  8. tomstafford
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Control Your Dreams is still pending approval for distribution through iBook, amazon and Barnes & Noble. Hopefully it will be there soon. In the meantime you can get it off smashwords (or at least should be able to get it off them…see above)

  9. Victoria
    Posted January 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh, good, the problem with downloading “Control Your Dreams” has been noted. I had really wanted to read it (having been an active lucid dreamer for years) but couldn’t access it.

  10. KC
    Posted February 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Just stumbled across your site, after finishing recording last nights dreams. I am currently reading LaBerge’s exploring the world of lucid dreaming, so your ebook I’m sure will be right up my alley as soon as I can access it… Looking forward to reading the blinds pot as well which I have just downloaded.

    Thanks

  11. F10
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    It seems that apparently a download of “Control Your Dreams” doesn’t work again…


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