Step aside, Plato

I have been promising a book on Free Will for about a year, maybe more, so I think in good conscience I should give a progress report.

I haven’t yet decided whether the book will be on the free will—determinism debate (and thus be largely polemical) or will be a positive book explaining free will to the minds ready to seize the idea and improve their own lives.

If it’s the first, the title that seems to me the best marketing copy is:

  • The Free Will Book

If it’s the second, I have several leading candidates:

  • Control Your Mind, Control Your Life
  • Full Focus
  • To Think or not to Think, That Is the Question . . . of Free Will
  • The Fully Focused Life

(I favor the first of these.)

But more interesting, I think, is that I found a way to make the writing more pleasant. In fact downright enjoyable. I’m casting it, mainly or wholly, as a dialogue. (Which means I’m leaning to the polemical book.)

I have two characters, a man and a woman. They are identified only as “He” and “She.” The woman is the one with all the right answers. The man is well intentioned but has absorbed all the bromides of the culture. But he is refreshingly honest.

There’s an overlay of potential romance coloring their discussion. I’ll give you the opening “set up”:

He liked talking with her.


She never failed to startle him with a fresh perspective that challenged his comfortable assumptions. On so many topics, she would crush the safely conventional slogans he would float out. He liked that.


She cut through his verbiage. She gave no quarter, brooked no compromise. “If it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” she would always say. He liked that.


It didn’t hurt that while delivering the thrust home, she would show a slight smile, as if they were co-conspirators in some subversive scheme. Which, in a way, they were.


They had no agenda, but no matter what sparked the discussion, things always seemed to go back to the deepest questions—to philosophy. Today, a discussion beginning with the issue of Affirmative Action moved quickly to the issue of individualism vs. collectivism, and from there to one of the deepest and most consequential of all topics: free will.