adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.49

Buy for $24.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

This urgent and eye-opening book makes the case that protecting humanity's future is the central challenge of our time.

If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Our species could survive for billions of years - enough time to end disease, poverty, and injustice, and to flourish in ways unimaginable today. But this vast future is at risk. With the advent of nuclear weapons, humanity entered a new age, where we face existential catastrophes - those from which we could never come back. Since then, these dangers have only multiplied, from climate change to engineered pathogens and artificial intelligence. If we do not act fast to reach a place of safety, it will soon be too late.

Drawing on over a decade of research, The Precipice explores the cutting-edge science behind the risks we face. It puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity: showing how ending these risks is among the most pressing moral issues of our time. And it points the way forward, to the actions and strategies that can safeguard humanity.

An Oxford philosopher committed to putting ideas into action, Toby Ord has advised the US National Intelligence Council, the UK Prime Minister's Office, and the World Bank on the biggest questions facing humanity. In The Precipice, he offers a startling reassessment of human history, the future we are failing to protect, and the steps we must take to ensure that our generation is not the last. 

©2020 Toby Ord (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Precipice

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    232
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    197
  • 4 Stars
    59
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    198
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The 80000hours website is better

TLDR; First of all, it should've been 3 chapters instead of 14. Second, if you like statistics and probably this book is for you. If not, just read the 80000hours website because it has better resources and you can skip the boring parts.

My reasoning for giving it 4 stars:
The author has great advice and there is no dough about it. But let's take the example of climate change.
If you take a city that is in extreme poverty, how do you transform that city into a modern one without the downsides of a modem society... so without contributing to climate change in the process. All cities, big or small, struggle with this.
If you think about it, even making solar panels (green tech) contributes a little to climate change when making the components, etc.
There are many more topics besides climate change, so you can imagine whatever example you want, even AI misalignment if you like.
But with that example in mind, my point is... I get it! Things are bad and modern society is a "work in progress" mess to say the least. We can do better on all fronts.
So, I would've loved a book that talks about solutions and the 80000hours website has super awesome advice on that for free.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good summary of long-term risks

Good overview and introduction to long-term risks facing humanity. It balances accurate summaries of the problem with optimistic and hopeful outlooks for the future, as well as things readers can do to improve the likelihood that the future is positive.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Future of hamanity

Such a wonderful thought provoking book, I am recommending it to everyone I know and don’t know - we as humans need to focus more on what actions mean for tomorrow. Toby Ord provides the science, history, and facts to steer us on a path to be better!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A necessary book/audio book

We need to know where we are heading in our 200,000 years journey. This book is the answer to our question regarding what would happen to humanity if we continue negligence in our affairs. Read it and pass it to your loved ones. Better to know and take action to save humanity. It’s a moral obligation to spread wisdom.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring, important, and well written book

Exceptional book about an issue that has an excellent case for being the most important topic of our times. I can't recommend it highly enough.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Rare Find

This is one of those rare kinds of book that will shift your perspective on how you view the world, and hopefully, shift your behavior as well. A must read for those who believe there is great purpose to be found in our lives.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Been waiting for this my whole life

Very good, realistic and hopeful. It was a great inspiration for me to actually do something about these big and very important problems.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent considerations

This book presents some very interesting considerations for the risks humanity faces but also presents the potential of humanity in the long term. I highly recommend it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written and narrated.

Toby Ord is an amazing writer and narrator! I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Existential risk and exponential opportunity

An excellent introduction. Not as in depth, but more accessible, than “global existential risks”. 5 stars.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Hauke Hillebrandt
  • Hauke Hillebrandt
  • 03-31-20

If you just read one book this year make it this.

This is an excellent book for anyone interested in philosophy, ethics, and effective altruism. very well written and carefully argued. A must read.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ahmet
  • Ahmet
  • 05-21-20

ethics, technology and our future

Loved how author structured the book. you may say "wow" while listening about very detailed thoughts and ideas about our future.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-09-21

Hope for humanity

Worth a couple of careful listens and very thought provoking. If we can survive our own stupidity we might enjoy the future. Very good and nicely narrated too.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Colin
  • Colin
  • 01-27-21

Most of this I considered a given anyway.

Risk vs impact analysis
We should focus more on global disasters but we won't because we think in the short term.

There really wasn't much I this book if you've considered these ideas before.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for G. Recchia
  • G. Recchia
  • 12-22-20

A compelling vision

A compelling read on how and why humanity can (and must) address the array of existential risks facing us today. It takes a sober look at the great challenges facing us as a species, and why we must urgently rise to meet them if we are to make it through the next several centuries (or perhaps even this century). Yet Ord's vision is ultimately one of deep optimism, one that manages to inspire not through fear, but through a hopeful vision of humankind reaching its greatest potential. I consider myself reasonably well-versed in the topics covered by this book, but even so it made me see several things in a new way. The most worthwhile book I have read in a long time.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jo Pearson
  • Jo Pearson
  • 11-09-20

A precise exploration of existential risks

A fascinating book on a heady subject. I find that authors occasionally struggle when trying to thread the needle between usefulness and accessability, but Ord has no such issues. This works' tone and flow resembles that of an extended essay, and this is a particularly masterful one. In terms of feel and clarity of thought, this book reminded me most of Enlightenment texts by the likes of Thomas Paine. Ord's language is always only as technical as it needs to be, but without ever becoming so oversimplified as to be patronising. Regarding the book's structure, approximately the first quarter of the book is concerned with setting out the exact parameters of this exploration of existential risk. The second and third quarters are concerned with the identity and likelihood of the risks themselves. The fourth quarter is concerned with what I can only describe as 'an appeal to a better future'. Perhaps it is because I am already overwhelmingly in agreement with Ord before starting this book, but this final set of chapters is much weaker and more speculative than those that preceded it, and is the only reason this book doesn't rate a perfect score from me. But overall, this is a supremely worthy text for anyone who is interested in humanity's long-term future. Listening to it gives one what you might describe as 'a heady dose of perspective', which is something we certainly need more of.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lauren Blunt
  • Lauren Blunt
  • 09-09-20

Very insightful

I would definitely recommend this book. Really eye opening and insightful. Something everyone should read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-20

The future of humanity

A thoroughly researched and well argued work, brimming with information and insights. One of its most admirable qualities is that it is, quite deliberately, not the final word on the matter.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-27-20

The book for our time

This book presents us with a calling and exquisitely argues why we should take it up. To save humanity from losing its full potential in the eras to come is the primary goal of our time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-17-20

Tour de Force!

Excellent survey of the threats to human survival and what could or should be done to counter them. And the final chapter is a lyrical inspiring clarion call as to why humanity needs s grand strategy to maximise its potential.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Luke Freeman
  • Luke Freeman
  • 03-29-20

Engaging guide to humanity's future survival

How will our species survive and thrive?

This is one of my favourite non-fiction reads to date. I love how Toby Ord leaves hype behind and uses sound reasoning to lay out the case for existential risk reduction. He has very strong arguments and a enjoyable writing style. He makes the case that existential risks are some of the the most important and neglected problems we face.

He covers major risks from nuclear and biological weapons to climate change, pandemics, artificial intelligence, asteroid impacts, and more.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jackson
  • Jackson
  • 03-09-21

facinating thesis but a touch repetitive

fascinating an important topic, thoroughly explored and well told, but the last few chapters were at times a bit repetitive. well worth a listen though and definitely worth acting on!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for alex hinchliffe
  • alex hinchliffe
  • 01-19-21

very thought provoking

Well worth the read, albeit quite repetitive. Opens up new ways of thinking about humanity and our potential. highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for jordan
  • jordan
  • 01-04-21

Best book of 2020

An important message. Clearly written. Just the right level of detail.

Changed my prior beliefs on the probability of various existential risks.

Painted a picture for how unaligned AI can be dangerous to humanities future.

Forced me to contemplate the vastness of human potential.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR R S BROOKES
  • MR R S BROOKES
  • 10-01-20

Not much factual content

I felt like it was a bit of a philosophical attempt to feel good about things without much justification. The wild sci fi speculation about the future towards the end also missed the mark for me.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-25-20

A brilliantly crafted view of our potential

This author is capable of communicating the some very complex information in the most compelling way. I am equally trepidatious and hopeful of what the future holds.