Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Version: Unabridged
Author: Steven Pinker
Narrator: Arthur Morey
Genres: Science & Technology, Psychology, Social Science
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Published In: February 2018
# of Units: 16 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

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.

Reviews (2)

Written by Richard B. on April 6th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is yet another important masterpiece by Pinker, but not quite perfect. He talks extensively throughout the book about Tronald Dump and what caused him, but he never actually figured it out. He neglects to recognize that the primary reason Dump beat Hillary was because she was widely hated by both progressives and conservatards, and she was hated, not just because of her obnoxiously ignorant personality, but because she represented Neo-liberalism to an extreme degree, and was openly sponsored by Wall Street executives and the millionaire / billionaire class of which she is a leading member. Pinker might want to read Chomsky's thesis on Hillary's loss before he professes to us, the working class, about it. Sadly Pinker is a bit of a Neo-liberal himself. Ironically he professes throughout the book on the problems of cognitive bias but can't recognize his own political bias in regards to the needs and wants of the working class. He correctly labels Dump a demagogue but also says he's a populist but never recognizes that Bernie was the actual populist in that election whereas Dump was a fake populist, and there is a huge distinction between the two which is never mentioned. I have other minor disagreements with Pinker in this book and his previous book as well, but even still I consider both very important works by Pinker that need to be read.

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Written by James D. on July 27th, 2019

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Plain language. Straightforward writer. Easily takes complex issues and deconstructs them in a manner so that a 13 year old could understand.

Author Details

Author Details

Pinker, Steven

One of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World Today," Steven Pinker is the author of seven books, including How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate both Pulitzer Prize finalists and winners of the William James Book Award. He is an award-winning researcher and teacher, and a frequent contributor to Time and the New York Times.