This book puts into perspective, with undeniable evidence, how the modern era is essentially the most peaceful era in all of human existence and how it came to be this way. Anyone who considers themselves as an activist for human rights will not only gain insight into what the fight is all about, but also empowerment in knowing that all efforts are not in vain, not in the least bit!
As lengthy as it is, the book stays consistently interesting and accessible to the Everyman. While there are large portions of the book that make references to scholarly material, there are no points in wish it leaves the reader behind and in the dark, and instead holds a helpful hand throughout its entirety.
Eye opening. Life changing. Perspective shifting. Philosophically vindicating. Worth every penny and every minute spent. Even more useful with multiple reads! Surely a classic in the pantheon of essential non-fiction.
I love to read about other people's lives for ideas and inspiration
This book spends a lot of time describing the gruesome methods people once used to torture and kill each other and lists uncommonly known wars and genocides, very thoroughly detailed with numbers of casualties. All this has the aim to show that things are better now, by comparison. For all the gore, it is not easy to listen to this book before falling asleep or while eating. There is not a lot of in-depth detail to explain why things have improved. It is presented as, with the increase in human intelligence, barbaric acts fall out of fashion. One example is the Salem witch trials. People became smarter and the idea that a witch was responsible for a natural phenomenon was seen as ludicrous and so the witch trials end.
For me, the most interesting part of the book was the explanation of how people go along with ideas to not rock the boat and even get approval, even when they are complicit in acts they would not do alone. Genocide is explained this way - where one population goes along with the annihilation of another, even though they do not agree that it is right. Many smaller experiments are presented to show this on smaller scales - like the shock experiment where the shocker is encouraged to press buttons of increasing voltage to shock another person who is screaming.
This book puts the news reports of school massacres, suicide bombings, drone strikes and massive military spending into a new light, by showing how far we have come.
I would like the massive amount of data re: deaths due to war, torture, capital punishment to be more animated, as a way to shake things up. Maybe use a different voice for this? it just droned on and on.
Men's testosterone levels decrease when they marry and when they have children.
In a world where people seem more and more likely to never let their children play outside by themselves or make their own way to school, in a world where people seem less and less likely to take responsibility for any part of their lives and not want to sign their names to requests they make, all this may just "seem" to be the way it is. The numbers in this book certainly show that things are only getting better, that we are more tolerant of others and more respectful of human and animal rights. Steven Pinker points out that, if 9/11 had happened in the more distance past, it would have triggered immediate retaliation and civic unrest, when in fact, the immediate response was almost completely non-violent.
Great data, shows why gun control advocates are nothing more than alarmist. The book suffers by trying to equate liberalism with intelligence and an evolved society.
This audiobook is wonderful! Not only is the book's content riveting, the performance of the reader, Arthur Morey, was superb as well. Listening to this book has given me a new perspective from which to view the progress of humanity towards a hopefully ever-brighter future.
On so levels, for so many reasons, you'll never think the same way again. Fair, unbiased, thought provoking and inspirational, you won't forget it...ever.
Always more than meets the eye.
The some of the main meanings of life
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I'm fascinated with the subject and with Steven Pinker's analysis, but I could not finish this book. The 36+ hour run time was intimidating, but I took a run at it. Pinker spent so much time describing the monsters we once were that I had to unplug from the book. It was becoming a depression trigger.
I have an abundance of respect for the author and his topic, but he could have been a wee bit more concise.
It is incredible that so much information can be gathered, scrutinized, and organized into a book so easy to read. This is top notch scientific thinking applied to one of the most important historical questions we have ever asked. keep writing, stevie, and please please please always let Arthur Morey do the reading.
Having brought the book after it was chosen by the book club for Mark Zuckerberg to read I have found it to be extremely informative. The book is very complex and so requires a little more attention than most, but after coming to grips with the many statistics and reference material I am looking forward to reading more of Stevens books. The author obviously has a good understanding and a non biased view of the subject matter and this I feel is what makes the book educational.
the media has us believing that we are in the worst of times when we are actually in the best of times and it is getting better. yes, there are pockets and areas of crime and violence, but all in all, the world has and is improving in relation to how humane we are and how intolerant we are becoming to violence and mayhem. tho the writing/info was at times, hard to hear ( descriptions of inhumanity) , I appreciated the factual presentation and delivery.
Student. Olympic Weightlifting. Lover of knowledge.
Absolutely stunning. A tour de force that will really change the way one looks at the world they are living in. The overall thesis of the decline of violence throughout human history with the exception of certain bumps - WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, Korean War - does sound valid and Dr. Pinker does a great job at presenting a wide array of support for the thesis. Dr. Pinker not only demonstrate the decline of violence in a quantitative sense, but then offers a qualitative interpretation for the understanding of why the decline of violence has occurred. A must read to better understand the progress of rationality and the motives of humans.