This is in effect an update of Harvard Psychology professor Steven Pinker's earlier book The Better Angels of Our Nature. It is mercifully briefer than that tome, but with the same basic message that, away from the news headlines, things are continuing to improve.
A well composed and researched narrative of human progress. Pinker has defined human progress in a meaningful way and selected a number of objective measures to track it over time. He has analysed the contribution of enlightenment ideals to progress in a way that is easy to follow and a pleasure to read. Highly recommend.
How do we know the graphs and statistics provided in this work can be trusted. Democracy is being undermined and so much else. It is hard to believe we can be as relaxed and comfortable about global concerns as the author is.
Very well written with extensive sources and references. I really liked Pinker's writing style and importantly was challenged with new ideas based on evidence. Essential reading for anyone who thinks they know the state of the world.
The book picks up where Better Angels left off, and is immensely persuasive. He describes so many ways, and provides a mountain of evidence, that humanity is trending to a more peaceful, secure, fair and equitable future, for everyone. Although, on the way to that future, he never says there will be no more bumps in the road. All our problems are not solved, violence is still with us and there will be many more unfortunate victims. But, the chances that each of us can lead a long and fulfilling life have never been better, and are inclined to continue improving (with some ups and downs too).
Yes, a challenging read - not the kind of book you'd read to send you to sleep. It requires an alert mind because of the density of information. But there was so much good information I didn't want to miss anything - when I found myself reading on auto-pilot I always went back. Pinker organises his arguments incredibly well, as though he'd had to field many searching questions on every point. The depth of research is mind-boggling and his strength of argument is relentless. I was trying to find core issues that perhaps he hadn't addressed or dealt with, but found very few.
One small bugbear I had was that his argument should be, and is mostly, focused on global data and trends. It doesn't help to know that country-X is a haven of humanism if the rest of the world is going the other way. But, unfortunately, in some places he switches too easily (and you have to remain alert to the switch) from international statistics to discussions of trends in the United States, without painting the equivalent international picture. But that's a small point and I'm being picky.
It's an amazing effort of analysis and argument, and an awesome read. So many topical issues put into much clearer focus than (as he argues) we will ever perceive if we take most of our information and analysis from the fast-paced news cycles that will only ever emphasise the sensational and catastrophic.