One can't help but wonder just how much of the author's experience of observing some academia people habitually enhancing themselves on *all kinds of smart drugs, not gonna give the names here* went into developing this story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xsvi..., https://www.dw.com/en/oxford-academic..., https://www.independent.co.uk/news/ed..., etc etc, sounds like a true to life chemical paraphernalia epidemics's marching out there) Do people burnout after those trashy drugs (supposedly helping them supposedly battle the supposedly nasty ADD/ADHD)? Yes, people die from MDT, they do die from all sorts of things... lots of potentials have been left untouched in here. Instead of exploring all that intellectual goodness we got a clear view at the cardboard cutouts of Russian mafia. What kind of drug trials are performed this way? The idea that the author, maybe unintentionally, got across is that no matter how much potential people have, they inevitably waste it. Become the new Leibnitz, surpass Da Vinchi, develop the new energy sources, save our lovely, gentle Gaia from the industrial footprint, (YES, I'm a treehugger, deal with it!) put our civilization in balance with the nature, discover new pulsars / planets / stars, untangle the secrets of the universe, build the star drive to space travel in luxury at leisure, reach the distant stars, find new habitable planets for us to live on and ways to reach them and to build our homesteads elsewhere, learn to harness the energy of the black holes for the better of humanity ... In each place I went to, it only took me a few minutes to start up a conversation with someone and then a few more after that to attract a circle of listeners around me these people apparently fascinated by what I had to say, as I talked about politics, history, baseball, music, anything that found its way into the conversation. (c) meets a bunch of random people, kills Donatella, finishes a book consisting mostly of pictures, learns Italian and Japanese, learns some music (doesn't become too good at it), learns some finance stuff (which isn't too complicated or fancy anyway), does some day trading, Q: serious news consumption(c), gets into debt with a loan shark (which is totally a braindead thing, besides, he should have repaid that stuff right away, not waited for God knows what). I'm really not so sure any of these do require a lot (if any) of mental enhancement The most beneficiary effect (in my view) was that the protagonist stopped wanking (metaforically speaking) and thinking about time being lost and started getting busy using it. This effect could have potentially been achieved via meditation, mind discipline and good psychotherapy, all drug free. (c) Q: I became acutely focused on everything around me on minute changes in the light, on the traffic crawling by to my left, on people coming at me from the other direction and then flitting past. Q: I took a few notes, but when I heard the explanations I realized that in a general way I did understand these terms, and that furthermore, just by thinking about this stuff, a large store of knowledge was being unlocked in my brain, knowledge that I had probably accumulated unconsciously over the years. Q: I tried to analyse what this was, and could only conclude that maybe a combination of my being enthusiastic and non-judgemental noncompetitive might have struck some kind of a chord in people, especially in people who were stressed out and on their guard all the time. I could pack in so many things between now and the end of next week, say, that it actually felt as if the end of next week might never come.
The structure is where the book fails. The interaction between the different elements is nearly nonexistent, causing the story to jumble back and forth between these elements with no regard for structure or grace.
Don't expect the same story arc or ending as you find in a Hollywood movie named "Limitless." All that said, I enjoyed the movie and the book for different reasons. Nothing is unearned." I thought this was going to end up being the central thesis of the movie, but of course, being Hollywood, it isn't.
When I don't feel a big drive to finish a book I know without a lot of examination that it's not four stars, but here's the breakdown anyway. Imagine you're writing a book and the character happens to be a mechanic, so you spent a few days shadowing one. Awesome, your writing is more likely to feel real and won't shame yourself if a legitimate mechanic picks up your book. If I wanted to know long, endless, long, endless, and long details about the subject I'd buy "How To Be A ___________ For Dummies." The story was interesting, although I never really got a feel for who Eddie was because the drug was constantly changing his personality and interests.
I thought the book went into the social impact of the drug much better than the movie did. The book offers an elegant solution: a pill that can turn anyone into a super-intelligent version of themselves (though as it notes, the drug works better if you have some intelligence to begin with). Sort of like the Nietzhian super-man who is unable to feel remorse or guilt for his actions, allowing him to stay focused on a self-centered trajectory of improvement. It reminded me a little bit of Ellison's "American Psycho" - both books have the same setting of corporate NYC, both discuss the trappings of wealth and the idea of the billionare as an untouchable demigod, both deal with a protagonist who becomes unable to feel remorse for his actions.
I decided to pick this book up because I saw the movie trailer and thought it looked really good. I don't have anything against European authors, it was just that the story was based on Americans in New York, and the dialogue did not match up.
(While not a sociopath, though, it IS pretty clear that the drugs suppress Eddie's conscience and moral compass - and I'll also add that the author does a great job showing this fact rather than ever telling us about it.) Definitely worth a read, but the movie is probably more fun due to Bradley Cooper's presence.
In the book, you'll notice that these certain things include: decluttering, diet, not smoking, exercise, reading, language learning, communication, culture appreciation, instruction from experts, and curiosity followed by research. The book and movies impact on me has more to do with approaching the state of limitlessness than about what I would do if someone like Vernon offered me this pill.
The book does a reasonable job of exploring the practical complications of the question "If I am my mind, and chemistry changes my mind, am I still me?"; the movie explores the question, "What happens if I find a pill that makes me full of win?". I'm no luddite; I'm just saying the book and the movie inhabit opposite ends of a spectrum.