More from Less

How We Learned to Create More Without Using More
Narrated by: Andrew McAfee
Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (223 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the coauthor of the New York Times best seller The Second Machine Age, a paradigm-shifting argument “full of fascinating information and provocative insights” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) - demonstrating that we are increasing prosperity while using fewer natural resources. 

Throughout history, the only way for humanity to grow was by degrading the Earth: chopping down forests, polluting the air and water, and endlessly using up resources. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, the focus has been on radically changing course: reducing our consumption, tightening our belts, and learning to share and reuse. Is that argument correct? Absolutely not. In More from Less, McAfee argues that to solve our ecological problems we should do the opposite of what a decade of conventional wisdom suggests. Rather than reduce and conserve, we should rely on the cost-consciousness built into capitalism and the streamlining miracles of technology to create a more efficient world. 

America - a large, high-tech country that accounts for about 25 percent of the global economy - is now generally using less of most resources year after year, even as its economy and population continue to grow. What’s more, the US is polluting the air and water less, emitting fewer greenhouse gases, and replenishing endangered animal populations. And, as McAfee shows, America is not alone. Other countries are also transforming themselves in fundamental ways. 

What has made this turnabout possible? One thing, primarily: the collaboration between technology and capitalism, although good governance and public awareness have also been critical. McAfee does warn of issues that haven’t been solved, like global warming, overfishing, and communities left behind as capitalism and tech progress race forward. But overall, More from Less is a revelatory and “deeply engaging” (Booklist) account of how we’ve stumbled into an unexpectedly better balance with nature - one that holds out the promise of more abundant and greener centuries ahead. 

©2019 Andrew McAfee (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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Imperfect sound quality.

Reader was somewhat more difficult to understand than other books on Audible. Minimum word count.

1 person found this helpful

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Developed countries outsource their pollution

The author completely ignores the contradicting literature showing that developed countries have not reduced their use of materials or energy but only outsourced it to developing countries. As a reader I felt misled that an academic author would not give the position that disagrees with him and try to address it. The rest of the book had a Steven Pinker "The world is getting better" feeling to it. Perhaps you like reading those kinds of books. This book had one main goal and that was to demonstrate that economic growth is possible while consuming less material resources and energy. Unfortunately, the book utterly failed in arguing for such a thesis. "Recently compiled international data reveal that when a nation’s global material footprint is taken into account – by adding up all of the biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores, and construction minerals used worldwide to create the products that the country imports – then the success story seems to evaporate. From 1990 to 2007, as GDP grew in high-income countries, so did their global material footprints. And not just by a little bit: the US, the UK, New Zealand and Australia all saw their footprints grow by more than 30% over that period; in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands they grew by over 50%. Japan’s footprint, meanwhile, grew by 14% and Germany’s by 9%: impressively lower than the rest, but still growing." [1] [1] UNEP (2016) Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity: A Report of the International Resource Panel

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Good News

Part of a broader trend towards center-left pragmatism that may just be the future of American politics. The first chapters are succinct and informative. The rest are a mixed bag. But it’s worth the price of admission.

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I love it

and it was such a good decision, that the author Andrew McAfee read the book by himself.

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Key Universally Applicable Perspective

More from Less is a keystone work for our time. The scope, pace, and gravity falls in the space of Harari, yet is able to identify the particular problems of the current age managing to avoid the cliche biases of his own day. This book is unique, critical, and enlightening in an age of darkness.

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Very informative

This is a very compelling documentation of the dematerialization of the global economy. The fact that the world is getting more output from less material input is great news for the future of the planet. The author glances over some controversial points by dismissing them as unscientific fearmongering (GMO plants and animals are treated as riskless, unmitigated goods that could not have unforeseen consequences despite the speed and breadth of their implementation) but the book is well done for what the author is trying to accomplish.

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Very educational

Great reading about a trend that makes you more optimistic about the future McAfee did a great job explaining the facts in a orginized manner.

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Heed the 4 Horsemen of the Optimist!

1) Capitalism 2) Tech Progress 3) Responsive Government 4) Public Awareness Take these ideas out into the world. I know I will.

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  • 11-05-19

Sustainability Meets Capitalism

McAfee makes a compelling argument that capitalism, human well-being and environmental stewardship aren’t all mutually exclusive, but instead essential to solving some of the most daunting problems of our time. It’s an optimistic take on the state of the world but still tied to the reality that global warming, pollution and other problems won’t solve themselves. It’s a very enjoyable read and I’d especially recommend it to anyone who thinks the world is perpetually getting worse!

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A must read for the environmentally conscious

"More from Less" is essential reading for anyone concerned about economic fairness, global warming, social isolation, and the fate of mankind. But be prepared to have your mind changed by fact, reason, history, and logic.