Thx! I read the whole thread as well (after posting).
Here are some worthwhile books on this topic: (all links are Amazon)
For abiogenesis and the origins of life:
Stuart Kauffman - Investigations
Evolutionary underpinnings of human mind and society:
Steven Pinker - The Blank Slate (a must read for anyone)
Steven Pinker - How the Mind Works
Ignore history at your own peril:
Milton Mayer - They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933 - 1945
If you want to see what else I've read, you can browse my shelfari page. I love getting reading recommendations this way.