Making Sense with Sam Harris

All Genres #175Science #5

Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the mind, society, current events, moral philosophy, religion, and rationality—with an overarching focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Sam is also the creator of the Waking Up app. Combining Sam’s decades of mindfulness practice, profound wisdom from varied philosophical and contemplative traditions, and a commitment to a secular, scientific worldview, Waking Up is a resource for anyone interested in living a more examined, fulfilling life—and a new operating system for the mind. Waking Up offers free subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford one, and donates a minimum of 10% of profits to the most effective charities around the world. To learn more, please go to Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • George in Holland
    Musings of a Mediocre Mind
    Harris presents himself as a rationalist, but he frequently engages in motivated reasoning.
  • Walnuts1973
    Strident and Judgmental
    I appreciate Harris’s dive into the mind, though find it a sign of weakness that he continuously plugs AI and that he never interviewed John Searle. The biggest disappointment is his caricature of Islam. Although he claims “intimate knowledge “ of the Koran, blah blah blah. He has obviously not held any meaningful relationships w Muslims, nor does he understand enough to respect their beliefs - but equates the entire religious culture with violence. His equating anti Zionism ( a belief akin to hid and manifest destiny) w Anti semetism stems from anger and rigidity. It’s amazing to me that someone who has done so much good his Meditation app is ultimately STRIDENT AND JUDGMENTAL. It brings to mind what my Buddhist teacher in Nepal I. 1995 said to me “meditation will help you but it el t mane you a better person necessarily “.
  • PenelopeinLA
    Pretend intellectualism
    Sam Harris masquerades as a thoughtful intellectual but clearly perpetuates his own and others’ dearly held biases and prejudices. The anti-Zionism is anti-semitism episode is such an example. It is rife with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias, and fails to interrogate its own pro-Israel tribalism in the slightest.
  • Nattytiii
    Biased and dangerous
    More fuel to the fire of one-sided conversations. Such a disgrace.
  • Norwich42
    As of July 2 2024
    Oh, man. Too bad about your podcast -- timing may not be everything, but it's a lot. Evidently not your concern.
  • Sstein02
    More than 1/2 of all Israeli Jews are from Arab countries, Iran or Turkey. They were expelled from Arab countries and immigrated to Israel where they were magically transformed into “white settler colonialists.”
  • Sholom R
    Please Sam
    Can you please have on Dr mordechai Kedar, he’s an expert on Arab culture, and Islam,speaks fluent Arabic, you and the listeners will really enjoy it! Thanks
  • aroskere
    Sam selectively applies his own ethos
    I am a long-time listener and reader. This review applies to the whole tenure of the podcast. Sam Harris helps listeners find clarity. I always draw a conclusion on a topic after listening to a given episode. But my conclusion often differs from Sam’s. His most engaging episodes rigorously test conventional angles on the human mind, culture, politics, technology, science. His least interesting episodes present a lower bar and usher people directly over it.
  • SLoomis78
    Oh God, please no
    Smug Bill Maher again, aging like cheap wine
  • Hagn-daz
    Thoughtful and provokes more thought
    I started listening to Sam Harris when I heard him on Bill Maher show. I’ve been listening to him since October up and on and every time I pick up his episode it’s extremely thought-provoking. And today soundbites it’s hard to hear a holistic story. Sam does a good job of really looking at the story from all angles. Not the fake equivalency of this side versus that side, but of historical future in and out of the situation.
  • ACH226
    Bridge Too Far
    Sam, using Sebastian Junger’s near-death experience to ply listeners for subscriptions is a bridge too far. Good intellectual ideas are not the property of one person.
  • Wally H. Dog
    Give it a shot with several episodes
    The high rating on this podcast gave me hope that would be a place for intelligent discourse with engagement arguments on both sides to the extent they are reasonable. What a disappointment. This is just one of dozens of similar podcasts in which the host has a fixed opinion and demonizes the other side without engaging with the evidence that contradicts his point of view. It is one polemic after another, usually crafted exactly as one might expect from the the far right. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone finds this pseudo-intellectual podcast compelling.
  • brokenmend
    Subscriber no more..
    I used to appreciate the even keeled discussion (even when i didn’t agree), but the quality of the logic and well balancedness has been deteriorating since covid and now has gone totally off the rails. The Israel/Palestine rants are alarming :: all student protestors are antisemites and hamas supporters?! All Palestinians are hamas?! At first I thought: this has to be hyperbole…but later realized that the hate and prejudice have taken over… Sam, please take care and do better!
  • Omar Hdez.
    Subscriber for years no more
    As the title says, i’ve been a subscriber of Sam’s making sense podcast for years. He brought knowledgeable insights about biases, and rationale pits that anyone is susceptible to, even the most trained and self aware mind. But of course, this show has become unlistenable after Sam seemingly forgot everything he’s talked about in his past shows, and just dove head first into blatant propaganda and dehumanizing rhetoric. His thinking is so incredibly black and white right now, that he is doubling down each time with each episode, he refuses to listen to the opposition, or any discourse. You would think that he’d recognize his position on things by the sheer amount of invitations to guest host right wing podcasts and shows. He got lost in the sauce, and at this point, I think he realizes there’s no redemption or backing down, because he’d lose all credibility if he were to retract any of his previous stance or opinions. He is a prisoner of his own podcast show, and his institutionalized beliefs. I do hope he can see, with time, how damaging his impact was, to real civilian lives, who suffered due to his platform, and his harmful rhetoric.
  • Zakaria_Iran
    About episode on Hamas and college students,
    Sam harris, at the most part, described the situation accurately and I agree with him. I am Iranian and I lived the most of my life in Iran under aIslamic regime and by the way, I am well educated and informed about Islam, Islamists ideology, and Middle East.
  • October 13 2023
    Campus protests
    Sam I have relatedd to your podcast about campus protests five times. I cannot thank you enough for verbalizing exactly what my heart aches over. I couldn’t find the words, but you have for me. I have forwarded this podcast on to so many friends and colleagues. I hope your message is heard far and wide. The world needs to know.
  • drfreckledfox
    Moral intelligence?
    The “accidental killing of aid workers”?! This is insanity. “War” is fighting between two states, which is not what is currently happening in Gaza. This is lunacy, maybe stop touching this topic if you can’t be unbiased. Your critical thinking and so called journalism on this subject is seriously lacking. *update, someone else commented “Sam Harris is not making sense” and I think that’s best description for this podcast I’ve now unfollowed.
  • Jpdelicious
    I’m out
    Sam, I was a subscriber and I am out. This latest rant was so typically one sided and selective in factual reference. To categorically dismiss leftists, college students, universities, Gazans, Muslims, and Islam, while selectively ignoring the atrocities of the west and Christianity, has gone too far for me. This is at best a pro Israel hatred filled rant, wrapped in a high brow, right wing, anti-woke wrapper. Your other content is generally positive and well researched, but I can no longer listen to this holier than thou baloney.
  • MoPhD17
    Go Sam!
    Clear, concise, well-spoken, and incredibly interesting. I’m a fan!
  • manomintis
    Clearly one of the most intelligent authors ever.
  • devil zilla
    Sam is not making sense.
  • hagarwave
    Israel - Hamas war explained with the utmost moral clarity
    Sam Harris has done an amazing job in providing clear and informative answers and information about n the war between Israel and Hamas. It is a must listen if you have any opinion and are unclear on the subject.
  • atrnh
    At a time like this, for your clear thinking and communication. Thank you, Sam Harris!
  • lukerob
    Urban Warfare 2.0
    To do this podcast with a guest who answered the question “What Did The IDF Do Wrong” and he answered “journalism” as the sole criticism without pushback from you is so disingenuous it hurts as a long-time listener. How could you let him walk all over you when this is happening? You could have challenged him for needed criticism. Who will have the courage to challenge the IDF to have some form of responsibility?
  • TinaDangelo
    He pompously glosses over Palestinian deaths and yet will detail the horrors of an Israeli death. He will gloss over Israeli atrocities and will hyperbolize the Palestinian wrongdoings. He doesn’t even for balance dare to present the Palestinian or anti-zionist point of view, even when offered by highly articulate and educated Jews. It’s grotesque & disappointing. I’ll take Ezra Klein & Gabor/Daniel Mate for a more enlightened, self-aware, and less biased discussion. Sam lacks nuance & flexibility of mind on this subject, indeed lacks courage to consider different views/realities, & in the end serves as just another mouthpiece for Israel. He will stereotype all palestinians based on hamas but won’t assume all israelis as as extremist as the Jewish “settlers.” For someone who touts awareness, he simply cannot see his implicit bias and the bubble he is in.
  • Heartandbile
    Moral clarity
    Thank you, Sam, for excoriating moral clarity in a time of willful ignorance, extreme naïveté and sheer malice. Thank you for defending Israel and reality itself against the onslaught of lies and anti-Semitic smears that the western left gleefully launders for Islamist jihadists through the media, UN, activism masquerading as “human rights” agencies and pseudo-academia, with devastating effect. Don’t always agree with Sam on every topic but appreciate the mental tonic of discussions that wrestle hard with ideas and themes swallowed too often by too many on unquestioned premises and assumptions. Wish there were more voices out there like him.
  • MaDeE!
    Look up John Spencer
    So I love that you introduced John Spencer as an “expert on modern warfare” but fail the mention the fact that he is a full Zionist, personally interviewed Netanyahu, AND actively contributes content to a Pro-Israeli organization. Your show is called Making Sense, but all you did was blatantly withhold critical BIASED information about your guest while holding him up as an “expert.” You’re right, he is an expert… in supporting Israel. That doesn’t make much sense to me. If you wanted an intelligent, fact based take on the war you absolutely failed. This is blatant propaganda presented as a rational, fact based conversation. You should be embarrassed.
  • wennemar
    The Voice of Reason
    Sam’s perspective is the voice of reason making sense!
  • MrsBiggs
    Less Crazy
    Sam brings logic and perspective to a world gone completely mad. ❤️
  • Tibbytoe
    Trump Derangement Syndrome
    I never voted for Trump, but Sam’s insensate fixation and angst against him is so overboard it clearly demonstrates the Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well in Sam’s intellect. I never thought Sam’s intellectual composure would be so weakened by Trump. It’s humorous to witness but I’ve lost respect for Sam and his voice of reason.
  • meangenebravo
    Used to be a fan and supporter 😥
    I've bought Harris' books and used to support him as a patron on his website. His intellect and eloquence connected with me. It is sad and alarming to see how obviously wrong he is about the atrocities in Gaza. Perhaps his anti-religion rhetoric was a harbinger all along, or maybe he lost his moral compass somewhere along the way. But his embrace of nihilist Zionist warmongers was not something I saw coming. Please pull your head out of your butt, Sam. We need smart people like you to focus on improving the world.
  • BlocSeekr
    Closer to Bill Mahr than Dawkins
    Sam’s atheism is nothing more than a shield to hide behind his prejudice. An outright embarrassment with nothing to offer atheism or free society. Claims to want to end suffering yet sides with capitalists and transphobes. Nice to see the mask is fully off. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time.
  • varqa
    Great on some, mediocre on others
    Sam Harris is a great listen and deep thinker on many topics, but his obsession with Islam and jihadism, which he continually conflates, detracts from way too many of his other very informed and interesting opinions.
  • Marcus517
    Rare insight with an occasional burp
    9/10 of what I hear on other podcasts is obvious; this is not. I don’t listen as much because the full versions are expensive and 2/3rds of the episodes aren’t of interest. I also think he gets a bit deranged about Trump (who I think is a jerk) and far too woo in some areas like the nature of reality, but I just don’t listen to those. But the depth of insight is amazing. His latest on Knowledge Work was just brilliant. The ones on SBF, nuclear proliferation and others made me think a different way. Even the shortened free versions are just better than almost all the other podcasts I listen to. And unlike Malcolm Gladwell, he never seems to just mail it in. I really should just pay for the full versions, but I listen to so many podcasts, it sets an expensive precedent at a time when I’m trying to cut back on subscriptions. I should comment on the negative reviews. My guess is these come from people who disagree with him on highly polarized issues like Israel. They’re not on the quality of the program.
  • Starred_Night
    Six months of war
    While normally this podcast is a source of insight, your assessment of Israel's annihilation of the aid workers was premature at least. If not an assassination, it reads more of a society who has forgotten anything except retaliation. It's like an abused child growing up to become an abuser. Everyone loses. Your short-sightedness surprised me. Keep an open mind- like you teach us to do. The team had established a “deconfliction” plan ahead of time with Israeli forces, so the military would know when they would travel and what route they would take. They also wore GPS trackers to make certain their location was clear. The first missile struck one of the armored cars as it drove along the coastal road. Aid workers fled the damaged vehicle for the other armored vehicle. minutes later, the second vehicle was hit and yet people injured and alive moved to this third vehicle until it too was struck.
  • JZhukovsky
    Unbiased, thoughtful analysis
    Think you Sam and for your thoughtful and analytical podcast. I will subscribe.
  • RapaciousRapscallion
    Overly simplistic takes on important matters
    Harris has lost the script and is now making sweeping statements about important current events which are devoid of any historical context and/or outright false. It’s hard to take him seriously as an arbiter of logic and reason when he lacks such qualities in his commentary on current events.
  • moazmatar
    Anti-Palestinian racism
    The speaker is clearly an apologist for israeli apartheid regime. Spewing anti-Palestine hatred along with rabid hatred of islam in general. It’s quite amazing how could an atheist support a religious ethinonationalist society?! Could be a tribal thing !!
  • Cristinas Itunes
    The misinformation paired with the racist views of the host are disgusting. He completely and utterly lacks any humanity. In addition to the fact he fails to go through the effort to research history and only focuses on post Oct 7th and nothing prior.
  • ercanijo
    Islamophobia is ok genocide is not
    I have always defended the rationality of Sam Harris. He has been a magnificent and lucid critic of religion. I feel like he has lost his north. He is not seeing the obvious genocide Israel is doing. He is blinded by tribal perceptions. I understand, he is a Jew; but Israel is literally perpetrating a racist genocide to gain more land. It is disgusting an Harris is blind to it.
  • JD1295223
    William MacAskill
    This was very painful to listen to. Two intelligent, successful men making excuses for the actions of SBF for 90 minutes is just intolerable. So tone deaf and really sad. I’ve been a listener to Sam (Harris) for many years and I’ve disagreed with him on many things throughout those years, but this gross exercise is making me want to cancel my membership…
  • Textdgh
    Arrogant and Damaged
    I certainly am no Trump fan and wish the Republicans would have chosen differently, but Harris is absolutely unhinged about Trump and is not introspective whatsoever as he thinks he has it all figured out. What a damaged man.
  • dbsbsvdb
    I only came here to listen to this man embarras himself all over again by inviting Rory Stewart back and, boy, did it deliver! You’re an intellectual lightweight, Sam. It’s ok. Many people are.
  • sdkitergirl
    Bret Stephens
    That was a wonderful episode. I hope he comes on again. Thank you.
  • DrSuave
    Completely lost it..
    Two stars as earlier this used to be good.. but now, just bigotry and opinionated views.. Either a lot of monologue or badgering guests with his ideas.. worst now if getting a guest back to apologize to Sam.
  • ergeneman
    I used to love this podcast. Until it went to Mr.Harris’s head and he started thinking he can take on politics and international events. It was sad to hear the nakedness of his biases to say the least. All that contemplation and to end up here?
  • PabloViquez
    I was a fan and I knew that Sam has strong opinions on Islam. However now he has an anti-Islam episode every other day and it’s just unbearable.
  • jdelara
    What a sloppy thinker
    I subscribed and listened to several episodes. The more I listen, the more I realize that what appears to be intelligent conversation is actually masking Sam’s very sloppy thinking.
  • PhyllisWhitedick
    Was a fan until the episode with Zeihan despite being a big fan of Peter’s work. Demonizing the right while completely failing to acknowledge the oversights, missteps, and failures of the left/current administration is idiotic and only furthers divisive thinking. The Left wants to destroy the institutions of the right as much as the Right wants to abolish the left. The moral compass has disappeared for each side. If there was ever such a thing. Maybe stay away from politics, Sam. Love quite a bit of your content but, as someone who attempts not to align too much with the right or left, your commentary is too far left.
  • PT Barnum
    Speaking of idiots…
    … We have Tucker Carlson. With that missive I just renewed mymembership.
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