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Falter

Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (106 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[Oliver Wyman's] skillful, nuanced performance is enough to keep listeners from tossing their earbuds aside in despair...This isn't easy listening, but it's essential for anyone concerned about humanity's future." (AudioFile Magazine)

This program includes a foreword read by the author.

Thirty years ago, Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now, he broadens the warning: The entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out. 

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature - issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic - was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: Even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.   

Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history - and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away.  

Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms to save not only our planet, but also our humanity.

©2019 Bill McKibben (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Oliver Wyman has the difficult task of engaging listeners with this audiobook's grim tidings on climate change and pending social collapse.... Yet his skillful, nuanced performance is enough to keep listeners from tossing their earbuds aside in despair. Wyman spotlights sporadic moments of humor and hope and channels McKibben's withering rage toward the powerful few who suppress climate action in favor of personal wealth. This isn't easy listening, but it's essential for anyone concerned about humanity's future." (AudioFile Magazine)

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Civilization Is a Game We Wii Probably Lose

Bill McKibben is a great climate activist. He shows in this book that he also is a great writer. His premise is a bit odd. He states that humanity is a game The goal is to keep playing forever. To do that, to win, takes people joining together as a community. But Ayn Rand preached individualism and hatred of Government. Raegan, the Koch brothers, high-tech entrepreneurs, and now even Trump are believers in individualism, and that is causing mankind to lose the game. That mean humanity will die or be replaced.

The individualists have some control over sentient AIs, human gene manipulation, and climate change, and can cause these to have us lose the game.

McKibben starts with climate change. He presents the terrors it is doing and will increasingly do. This is very similar to what David Wallace-Wells did in his first 12 chapters of Uninhabitable Earth. McKibben does it better. He is scarier, but more readable. mostly because he puts his own personality into everything he writes. His descriptions of the AI and human gene modification fears are very thorough and very persuasive.

McKibben ends on an upbeat note. He says we can and will join together as a community, but we may be too late.

Overall, the book is very entertaining and informative, and Oliver Wyman reads it beautifully. This is e book everyone should read or listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tough words for a tough time.

Hard to listen to, occasionally myopic, but overall full of important insights and unique reads on our current moment in history. Tough to get through because of the hard truths of climate change and global capitalism, but that’s part of what makes it so salient.

Bottom line: worth the time of anyone who has the future of our planet and species (or that of the many other species our behavior endangers) in mind.

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Wow!

This book makes me want to go back to school and become and environmental scientist! It is terrifying to imagine most of these scenarios play out, thus, it is truly important that we are all made aware of the world around us. Thank you Mr. McKinnen for bring these ideas to the forefront of our conversations. I just hope we act, before it is too late...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love his books, poor reader

I dont like listenin to this reader..he sounds like lecturing uncle..wish it was the author.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Solid if a tad disappointing

the author provides a strong look at the climate challenge we face and offers several potential Solutions. unfortunately, things are so dire that the latter don't really overcome the former

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Important, Inspiring... but annoyingly narrated

This book presents a very solid argument that we humans are on the verge of committing species-level suicide, and taking out large chunks of life on Planet Earth along with us. McKibben lays the blame squarely on Ayn Rand and her followers, and makes a pretty compelling case for it. I found this book both terrifying and inspiring. However, the narrator's voice was a poor fit for the material. He sounds like those guys who do Sci Fi movie trailer voiceovers... "In a world..."! Fortunately the writing makes up for this. I would much rather have listened to McKibben himself read his excellent book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Lori Bob
  • Vallejo, CA, United States
  • 05-12-19

Great book, irritating narration

For some reason this very important book that I must listen too because my eyes have weakened with age has a narrator that just grates on my brain. I beg you to have it redone and I will buy it a second time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book!

McKibben does keep mentioning Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now” and Ayn Rand as counterpoints. While I sympathize with his disgust with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, I think that his poking at Pinker misses the point. Pinker is focusing on the value of progress as the benefit of liberal democracy, which is threatened, and that is a valid point.

Besides that, McKibben’s appeal to the best of human nature to help us see what is happening to our world and to humanity itself, and hope for a turn around from our crisis is heartfelt and inspiring.

McKibben’s last chapter is poetic and moving. I was left feeling hopeful.

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Doom and Gloom, but fun to listen to, and a call to action

Reader was good, Bill M knows his stuff, and just wants us all to appreciate what we have, and work to save it’s future. I have hope - I don’t think my generation or those after will stand for the continued system of greed and resource draining of people like the Kochs. Watch out, 1%. We’re coming with change.

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Should be required reading!

A habitable planet is a basic prerequisite for achieving any aspirations. It's no longer a safe assumption.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-24-19

Bill Wyman would have been better

Narration almost ruins the book and completely undermines the expertise behind it. Oliver Wyman is great for fictional stories about hunting monsters but is a terrible choice for real and monstrous non fiction.