“These are turbulent times. A quick glance at the headlines is enough to set anybody on edge and–with the endless media stream that has lately become our lives–it’s hard to get away from those headlines. Worse, evolution shaped the human brain to be acutely aware of all potential dangers. As will be explored in later chapters, this dire combination has a profound impact on human perception: It literally shuts off our ability to take in good news.“
That’s the depressing but all-too-accurate first paragraph in the book Abundance, by X Prize Foundation chairman and Singularity University chairman Peter H. Diamandis, and best-selling author and journalist Steven Kotler.
The subtitle is a little more hopeful: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
I just finished this fantastic book. It was way better than I imagined. Do you worry a lot about the world? Go read Abundance!
It’s a very different book. Diamandis and Kotler are right–there is a very strong human instinct to see the negatives–the dangers, what’s incorrect, problems, etc. So it’s incredibly refreshing to read an entire book dedicated to the amazing stuff going on around the world, the stuff nobody ever talks about.
So if you have a pretty bleak outlook on the world and our future (which you probably have if you browse Facebook, watch CNN, or pretty much live in the world), do yourself a favor and read this book. It will make you happy!
It changed how I felt about the world. I don’t know if I was the most cynical person about development in the “third world.” I definitely know I was the most cynical person about the (in)humanity in our world. But after reading this book, I feel much more excited. Very relieved. It’s very eye-opening.
A few new ideas it has left me with…
– The cutting edge technological advances in this world are quickly making problems of basic living very much a thing of the past. There’s a lot more technology already available and being used for good than most of us are aware of.
– Today’s world is full of some incredibly well meaning wealthy do-gooders, who have determined to attack problems of basic living needs around the world. There are incredible programs already in place, and the structures being developed for business, education, and communication are being geared more and more towards encouraging effective charity.
– A “futuristic,” insanely cool new world isn’t that far off. Things like medical care robots and printers at home that can create any old things–those are all a lot more here already than most of us realize. And, that world isn’t necessarily as scary as everyone thinks.
– We don’t have to wait for the government to take big strides forward like we have throughout a lot of history. Simple people like you and me are taking advantage of access to resources and tools of innovation that the world has never seen before.
– Progress is pretty insanely exponential. The needs and problems around the world still seem like a heck of a lot, but it’s amazing the chain reaction that little inventions and advances here and there are having to solve hundreds and thousands more problems than they were originally intended to solve.
Chin up! Things are getting better than your TV tells you!
One thought on “Are You Worried About the State of the World? Take a Second Look…”
A very exciting book indeed! I read it a year or two ago, and while I think it’s a little overly optimistic about some things [because it underestimates the power of bad government and other examples of human fallenness] to delay technological solutions to real problems) and uncritically embraces climate alarmism (against which see, e.g., http://www.cornwallalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/A-Call-to-Truth-Prudence-and-Protection-of-the-Poor-2014-The-Case-Against-Harmful-Climate-Policies-Gets-Stronger.pdf), on the whole I think it’s very well informed and well reasoned. It’s one of those books that come along every once in a while and blow to smithereens the widespread assumptions that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. If all of us knew history a bit better–so we knew, e.g., the deplorable state of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, health (and health care), longevity, etc., of former generations–we’d be far less prone to that pessimistic thinking that seems so common to the human condition. Maybe it’s an example of ingratitude. We should all be thankful that we don’t live in the world of our grandparents–much less our great-great-great-great grandparents!