INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR
"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates
If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.
Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.
With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
Customer ReviewsSee All
My 2018 was full of great books, decent movies, annoying news-feeds, fun lab experiments and lots of fun traveling. I am hardly a fan of social philosophy as a genre, but recently finished two books those can loosely be put under that classification.
To me, the mere fact that Enlightenment Now (-by Pinker), is not as well-known and talked-about as Sapiens (-by Harari) is a proof of human kind's bias towards flamboyant intellectual gymnastics than reasoned, pragmatic analysis. While Sapiens was a thoroughly enjoyable read from literary point of view, in terms of philosophy Harari come out as a colossal charlatan at times (probably because the book was only meant to be a 101 beginners' course lectures). Pinker's Enlightenment Now, on the other hand, is phenomenally cohesive. He presents a laser-sharp autopsy of the history of human beings with and without science and reason. An absolute gem of a read; an essential for times to come and today.
I concur Mr Pinker!
Research based optimism
One cannot quibble with data, facts, evidence and research. Dr. Pinker presents these in this important book about how we are indeed living in enlightened times, despite the tragic and terrifying school shootings, etc. Though there are a couple times when this book is a difficult read, the scholarly approach of this book is imperative. One cannot help but feel uplifted about how humanity is progressing. The various media paint a mostly pessimistic view of our race by focusing on the negative. Dr. Pinker helps us see past the negativity. The research based charts and graphs are pretty amazing. We are not going to hell in a hand basket.