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This is a fabulous piece of writing from one of the worlds most enlightened polymaths. It's an uplifting journey of reason and human progress. Highly recommended.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
buy it. read it. make notes.
Throw the good facts at people when they're sad at the world.
Then listen to it again!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
We live in an age of doom and gloom. All the news we hear seems to be bad. Everything seems to be turning to shit. Americans were so disenchanted with this state of decline that they elected Donald Trump. The British were so disillusioned that they voted for Brexit. We have global warming, overpopulation, pollution. What is happening? How did things get so bad?
They didn’t. Stephen Pinker’s latest book is an optimistic look at the state of the World today. Like other feel-good books I’ve read & reviewed (‘The Rational Optimist’,’ Abundance’, and Pinker’s own ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’), this book tries to convince the listener that things aren’t really as bad as they seem – and it succeeds.
His method in this book is statistical. Basically, for each different aspect of World life that he examines, he provides evidence of progress by using graphs to show that things have become massively better over time.
Now, it’s awkward to look at graphs when you are out in the woods on your bike, but fortunately this isn’t necessary, because they are all well-described in the audio narrative and are pretty straightforward. Of course, if you want to check them out later, there is an accompanying pdf.
Looking at a whole screed of indices of human well-being and progress, Pinker shows us that on a global scale things have moved and are still moving in a very positive direction: Life expectancy, child mortality, poverty, war, road safety, human rights, civil rights, literacy etc etc. are all getting better over time, and in the process he also explains why it is that we are often not aware, or fail to fully notice, these encouraging trends.
Because all these observations are supported by hard statistics, it is very easy to be convinced. He also makes the point that there is no place for complacency. All the gains we have made have been the result of hard work. We face challenges that require continued hard work and ingenuity, and we need to commit ourselves to this in order to continue our progress.
This is a very refreshing and uplifting look at our World and is well worth a listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
As I progressed through this book, deep seated ideas, beliefs inclined towards more pessimistic view of our future were challenged one by one. The light of facts and what could they mean to my understanding of the world, it’s past, present and future continuum transformed fabric of my hopes, expectations, relationship with this world in a peaceful manner!!