The Brain is Wider Than the Sky
By Bryan Appleyard
A brand-new book from the award-winning SUNDAY TIMES journalist Brian Appleyard.Simplicity has become a brand and a cult. People want simple lives and simple solutions. And now our technology wants us to be simpler, to be 'machine readable'. From telephone call trees that simplify us into a series of 'options' to social networks that reduce us to our purchases and preferences, we are deluged with propaganda urging us to abandon our irreducibly complex selves. At the same time, scientists tell us we are 'simply' the products of evolution, nothing more than our genes. Brain scanners have inspired neuroscientists to claim they are close to cracking the problem of the human mind. 'Human equivalent' computers are being designed that, we are told, will do our thinking for us. Humans are being simplified out of existence. It is time, says Bryan Appleyard, to resist, and to reclaim the full depth of human experience. We are, he argues, naturally complex creatures, we are only ever at home in complexity. Through art and literature we see ourselves in ways that machines never can. He makes an impassioned plea for the voices of art to be heard before those of the technocrats. Part memoir, part reportage, part cultural analysis, THE BRAIN IS WIDER THAN THE SKY is a dire warning about what we may become and a lyrical evocation of what humans can be. For the brain is indeed wider than the sky.
By Geoffrey Cousins
Set in the boardrooms, yachts and waterfront mansions of Australia's most decadent city, The Butcherbird is a boisterous thriller about corruption and excess in the corporate world.Jack Beaumont, architect turned property developer, is as surprised as the next person when he is approached by insurance tycoon Mac Biddulph to become the new CEO of HOA, the largest home-insurer in Australia. Seduced at first by the lure of power, Jack soon finds that beneath the glamorous facade of the Sydney business elite lies a convoluted network of corruption. Out of his depth and pursued by piranhas in a fish tank full of money, Jack must unravel the elusive threads or become ensnared himself.Geoffrey Cousins has called upon his own insider experience at the highest levels of Australian business to conjure a darkly comic suspense-filled tale of intrigue peopled by a tantalizingly familiar cast of A-list sharks.