Then I Am Myself the World

What Consciousness Is and How to Expand It


By Christof Koch

Formats and Prices




$39.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $30.00 $39.00 CAD
  2. ebook $19.99 $25.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 7, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

"Deeply personal and infinitely digestible, Then I Am Myself the World is a remarkable must-read for anyone interested in knowing their mind.”―Judson Brewer MD, PhD, New York Times–bestselling author of Unwinding Anxiety

The world’s leading investigator of consciousness argues that by understanding what consciousness does—cause change in the world—we can understand its origins and its future 

In Then I Am Myself the World, Christof Koch explores the only thing we directly experience: consciousness. At the book’s heart is integrated-information theory, the idea that the essence of consciousness is the ability to exert causal power over itself, to be an agent of change. Koch investigates the physical origins of consciousness in the brain and how this knowledge can be used to measure consciousness in natural and artificial systems.    
Enabled by such tools, Koch reveals when and where consciousness exists, and uses that knowledge to confront major social and scientific questions: When does a fetus first become self-aware? Can psychedelic and mystical experiences transform lives? What happens to consciousness in near-death experiences? Why will generative AI ultimately be able to do the very thing we can do, yet never feel any of it? And do our experiences reveal a single, objective reality?    
This is an essential book for anyone who seeks to understand ourselves and the future we are creating.

  • "A wonderful book."
    Sam Harris, Making Sense with Sam Harris
  • “a fun introduction to a number of debates… Mr. Koch’s book provokes questions… and counterarguments, but that’s what gives it life.” 
    The Wall Street Journal
  • “Easily the most current, thorough, and helpful exploration of consciousness available. Koch’s light, simple, yet authoritative writing style will appeal to general audiences as well as scientists and researchers. An essential, highly recommended purchase.”
    Library Journal
  • “magisterial… charming, sometimes beautiful, and almost always illuminating”
    Science Magazine
  • “an impressive and sometimes exuberant work, showcasing decades of [Koch’s] research”
    New Scientist
  • “undeniably compelling… a smoothly written must-read for anyone interested in a detailed introduction to the relationship between the brain, consciousness, and transformative experiences”
    Ars Technica
  • “Expertly weaving in personal experience with science that few, if any, can speak more authoritatively about, Koch leads us on an amazing journey of consciousness—from birth to death. Deeply personal and infinitely digestible, Then I Am Myself the World is a remarkable must read for anyone interested in knowing their mind.”
    Judson Brewer MD, PhD, New York Times–bestselling author of Unwinding Anxiety
  • “Koch’s latest book brilliantly navigates the intricate landscape of our mind and our brain, offering insightful perspectives on the nature of conscious experiences, both ordinary as well as extraordinary ones.”
    Hartmut Neven, founder and lead of Google’s quantum AI lab
  • Then I Am Myself the World is the new record of note for the scientific understanding of consciousness. This is an elegant tableau, a travelogue of subjective experience grounded in the latest neuroscience and philosophy traversing religion, science, and a life dedicated to the biggest questions. Filled with crystalline prose, lucid explanation, and revelatory honesty, this book will continue to be read centuries from now.”
    Patrick House, author of Nineteen Ways of Looking at Consciousness
  • “What would happen if a hardcore neuroscientist, with encyclopedic knowledge and four decades of experience in his field, were personally confronted with transformative mystical experiences carrying inevitable metaphysical implications? What would happen if the neuroscientist in question were open-minded, humble, but remained rigorously grounded in reason, evidence, and his hard-earned understanding of how consciousness relates to brain structures and function? What would he, the most preeminent professional of his generation, make of his extraordinary experiences? And what if, in addition, the neuroscientist was a modern renaissance man versed in physics, philosophy, the arts, the classics, and could pluck irresistibly evocative metaphors from the Western literary and artistic canon as if leisurely picking apples in early fall? This is what you will find in this treasured book, a whirlwind ride of insight after insight—so many they can’t possibly be all documented in footnotes—that will surprise and delight you from the get-go. ‘Primacy goes to consciousness, not to the objective world,’ he boldly states already on page two, in a prelude of things to come. ‘Everything else follows from there, including the realist assumption of the existence of objects, out ‘there,’ independent of my experiencing them.’ The book embodies the ever-evolving wisdom of a man whose intellectual prowess is only matched by his intellectual honesty. And this man, in the seventh decade of his scintillatingly productive life, has a lifetime of learning to share with you.”
    Bernardo Kastrup, executive director, Essentia Foundation
  • “Koch’s first book was entitled The Quest for Consciousness. And such has been Koch’s life, an adventurer’s pursuit of a distant goal, undeterred by the prevailing winds. The reader will learn where this quest has led and, like the author, will be enriched by it. Koch, one of the most accomplished scientists of our time, a mind singularly open to learning and changing, here opens his soul, revealing his vast, scintillating appreciation of nature in all its forms. It is a touching, profound book. Which is as it should be, since consciousness touches everything and is everything we touch.”
    Giulio Tononi, University of Wisconsin-Madison

On Sale
May 7, 2024
Page Count
288 pages
Basic Books

Christof Koch

About the Author

Christof Koch is a neuroscientist at the Allen Institute and at the Tiny Blue Dot Foundation, the former president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and a former professor at the California Institute of Technology. Author of four previous titles, Koch writes regularly for a range of media, including Scientific American. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. 

Learn more about this author