Progress

By Johan Norberg,

Book cover of Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future

Book description

A Book of the Year for The Economist and the Observer

Our world seems to be collapsing. The daily news cycle reports the deterioration: divisive politics across the Western world, racism, poverty, war, inequality, hunger. While politicians, journalists and activists from all sides talk about the damage done, Johan Norberg…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Progress as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is great because Norberg is calm, methodical, rational, and optimistic: we have come a long way, we live in the best of times, and let’s get on with it. I love the modern as I’ve said, and appreciate historians who understand that, from a material perspective at least (health, wealth, freedom, and security), most people today are in the top 99.999999 percentile of all the humans who have ever lived.

I so admire (and share) Norberg’s belief in our brilliance and problem-solving skills and admire, too, his arguments which are complex but easy to follow. Modernity gives us…

From Nicholas' list on to understand (and survive) modernity.

Talking about the future always depresses my students. They think life has become steadily worse over the past century and they see no evidence of a course correction. Norberg presents evidence to show that this is wrong. In terms of poverty, life expectancy, violence, literacy, and freedom, life has become better. He also explores why we think the opposite. Now this all may be the calm before the storm, but to fashion a better world we must know it for what it is today. 

From Robert's list on optimistic view of the future.

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