New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?
Klosterman visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past. Kinetically slingshotting through a broad spectrum of objective and subjective problems, But What If We’re Wrong? is built on interviews with a variety of creative thinkers—George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin, and Richard Linklater, among others—interwoven with the type of high-wire humor and nontraditional analysis only Klosterman would dare to attempt. It’s a seemingly impossible achievement: a book about the things we cannot know, explained as if we did. It’s about how we live now, once “now” has become “then.”
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In this heady, entertaining book, Chuck Klosterman attempts to figure out why our predictions about the future tend toward the wildly incorrect. But What If We’re Wrong? is a deeply rewarding exercise in stretching your brain. Klosterman is funny, snarky, irreverent, and authentically curious, peppering his philosophical explorations with lively side conversations he’s having with the likes of novelist Junot Díaz and filmmaker Richard Linklater.
Klosterman (I Wear the Black Hat) conducts a series of intriguing thought experiments in this delightful new book about how we conceive of the future. He begins with a conundrum virtually all writers contemplate at some point: why do some writers achieve literary immortality while others are totally forgotten? From there, he works through similar questions with respect to rock music and then shifts to wondering which of our established scientific principles might be replaced in the centuries to come. This is pop philosophy, but Klosterman takes it seriously enough to bring in heavyweight experts such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and George Saunders. Klosterman also considers the long-term viability of the NFL and team sports in general. He asks, supposing that the ancient Egyptians had TV, which of their TV shows would interest us most the Egyptian Breaking Bad? He argues that we'd want the most realistic portrait of society possible, and that level of realism is only achieved unintentionally. As usual, Klosterman's trademark humor and unique curiosity propel the reader through the book. He remains one of the most insightful critics of pop culture writing today and this is his most thought-provoking and memorable book yet.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Small town columnist
A book that pondered, probed and posed what people way into the future would think of how we make our ways through life today. A great book and in the end, I too am not afraid of the future. I just hope that it isn't exactly like yesterday.
Very interesting book. Makes you truly think about the future, along with the present.
But what if we're wrong
The author fleshes out a number of concepts that suggest past and present "reality" are questionable and future reality is hardly something to probe reasonably, other than to write this book about it. Still, he ventures a position of "probably" occasionally, and I'm most interested in how his assessment of the Obama presidency will turn out. But then again, he's off the hook because there is no end to ever-changing perspectives...especially his own.