Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates "A terrific book...[Pinker] recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life." --The New York TimesThe follow-up to Pinker's groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formid...

Details Enlightenment Now

TitleEnlightenment Now
Release DateFeb 13th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, Science, Philosophy, History, Psychology, Politics

Reviews Enlightenment Now

  • David Wineberg
    You’ve never had it so good, and Steven Pinker has the stats and charts (over 70!) to prove it. Wars are fewer and less severe, homicides are down, racism is in decline, terrorism is a fading fad, democracy rules, communicable diseases and poverty are on their way out. Life expectancy is up, and police are killing fewer people, both black and white. Even the poor have refrigerators. Inequality is a requisite sign of success. So appreciate the w...
  • Gary
    When this book was not boring me it was irritating me. All of the author’s anecdotes I had read elsewhere. Science is good. I don’t need convincing. Vaccines work. Poverty is bad and is getting better throughout the world. Everyone who wants to know this stuff already knows it.Why equate Al Gore with Theodore Kaczynski (The Unabomber) as the author seems to do regarding the environment? Is Fox News really right when they said the poor can’t...
  • Trevor
    Why I won't be reading this:https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...
  • Jillian Doherty
    Ever since Bill Gates tweeted his endorsement for Pinker's Better Angels, fans have rushed to support his writing of big ideas by big thinkers!Enlightenment Now illustrates Pinker's practical yet tangible style, but is freshly positive as well. His explosive understanding toward social science and political empathy will appeal to all big thinkers and affirmative readers alike.
  • Atila Iamarino
    Tudo o que esperava e um pouco mais. O livro é uma continuação do Os Anjos Bons da Nossa Natureza: Por Que a Violência Diminuiu, onde o Pinker escreve porque a humanidade está progredindo em quase todos os sentidos, apesar de termos a impressão do contrário.Para alguém como eu, que não tem a menor bagagem filosófica, esta obra foi excelente. Pinker explica muito bem o que foi o Iluminismo (na interpretação dele) e porque o humanismo f...
  • Charles
    As with Steven Pinker’s earlier "The Better Angels of Our Nature," of which this is really an expansion and elucidation, I was frustrated by this book. On the one hand, Pinker is an able thinker and clear writer, free of much of the ideological cant and distortions of vision that today accompany most writing about society (for society is what this book is about), and he is mostly not afraid to follow his reasoning to its conclusions. His data o...
  • Ross Blocher
    Everyone should read Enlightenment Now. It seems odd to require a defense of reason, science, humanism and progress, but we suffer if we do not understand how far humanity has come by application of these principles. Steven Pinker has done us the favor of chronicling that progress, with data, in a compellingly written volume that challenges common assumptions. The news cycle and many prominent intellectuals would have us think that the world is b...
  • Alex MacMillan
    In his newest book, (Neoliberalism) Now: The Case for (Positivism), Scien(tism), (Atheism), and (Globalization), Steven Pinker seeks to cash in on the Trump election by rushing out what is mostly a rehash of material from his previous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. His method of reasoning and tone of argument seeks to preach to the choir rather than persuade the unaffiliated. Unlike his classic works, The Blank Slate and The Sense of Styl...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    I really enjoy Pinker's books. I think I have read all of them. I enjoyed this one as well despite some of my political differences with Pinker. I laud his hailing of the enlightenment. I am with him this maligned movement should get more respect than it does. I am a big believer in modernity. I agree science and reason even when done by flawed bipeds like ourselves is the best guide in our mental toolbox. Pinker recognizes that our modern politi...
  • Mark
    As in The Better Angels of our Nature, Steven Pinker shows us why we have to look beyond the news cycle and our own biases to examine the forces that have continuously improved conditions for the bulk of humanity. And Pinker provides the data to back his arguments up. There's no doubt that Pinker will be accused of being a Pollyanna, but he acknowledges that mankind has hard work ahead - including dealing with global climate change. His argument ...
  • Krista
    What is progress? You might think that the question is so subjective and culturally relative as to be forever unanswerable. In fact, it’s one of the easier questions to answer. Most people agree that life is better than death. Health is better than sickness. Sustenance is better than hunger. Abundance is better than poverty. Peace is better than war. Safety is better than danger. Freedom is better than tyranny. Equal rights are better than bigo...
  • Miles
    Steven Pinker was one of the first writers to kindle my passion for scientific thinking. When I read The Blank Slate in 2011, it exposed me to a host of intellectual disciplines that my undergraduate training in philosophy had neglected––most notably evolutionary psychology, skepticism, and the empirical foundations of human nature. Nearly a decade later, I am thrilled not only to have another opportunity to journey through Pinker’s impre...
  • Gary Moreau
    This is a magnificent book written by a brilliant author who happens to be one of the world’s foremost experts on language and the mind. (Yes, he’s a psycholinguist.) Thankfully, I fully agree with 99% of everything he says. The case for humanism and for progress has never been stronger and he makes that case clearly and strongly. The problem with reality, however, is that it always exists in context, so when it comes to graphs and statistics...
  • Ericka Clouther
    I read this because Bill Gates said we should all read it (here's his review: https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enli...). I thought this book was pretty interesting and engaging even if at times I found it unpersuasive. The concept is basically that things have gotten better throughout history (I believe this) and that they will continue to get better. Furthermore, a belief that they will get better is inspirational to people to make it so, wherea...
  • Edward Sudall
    There are more slaves than there ever has been therefore the world is worse than it ever has been. That is my parodic example of oversimple and overgeneral Pinker-logic.Wasn't it Albert Einstein that once said "not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."Actually, it was the Sociologist William Bruce Cameron. (But Einstein's celebrity authority, is like Pinker's: if he says it, it becomes more believe...
  • Edouard Stenger
    Enlightenment Now is Steven Pinker’s latest book. Pinker was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004 and his books are regularly featured in the best-selling lists. While the purpose of this book is commendable – to show with extensive use of data that we are living in the best of times – two reasons made me cringe while reading it. Firstly, the author completely misses the mark on the topic I have de...
  • Michael Austin
    Steven Pinker is a rare creature in the academic world: a liberal who is not a leftist. As a liberal he supports things like free speech, civil rights, democratic ideals, and a strong government that ensures safety, protects the environment, and redistributes some portion of income to support education, health care, infrastructure, and the reduction of poverty. As a non-leftist, he supports things like a democratic government and a capitalist eco...
  • Ryan Boissonneault
    Francis Bacon once said that “some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” This is one of the few.The main thesis of the book is that the enlightenment values of reason, science, and humanism have led to scientific and moral progress and that the embrace of these values will continue the trend. This, as opposed to counter-enlightenment values (religious faith, nationalism, tribalism, re...
  • Omar Ali
    I have not so much read the book as scanned it. For most of the book he builds a case for his basic claim that life, for most people, has improved to an amazing extent in the last 200 years and we can thank science, reason and humanism for all this progress. I assume he has to provide so much data because he knows this is an unfashionable opinion within the postmodern liberal intellectual elite and this bothers him. By listing all these facts and...
  • Michael Payton
    I originally picked up this book after reading the critical reviews by among others, John Gray. Most of the criticism leveled at Pinker in this book is centered around an alleged 'ahistoricism'. Pinker, so the claim goes, has profoundly misunderstood Hume, Kant and Mill; seeing them as advocates of a type of perfect rationality. While it's true that this is how the Enlightenment thinkers viewed rationality, it's also how Pinker views rationality....
  • 11811 (Eleven)
    Recommended to everyone who knows how to read.There was a counter argument in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago. It's worth reading if you have a subscription - https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-dark...
  • Jonathan Yu
    I see a lot of hostile commentary on this book. My opinion is that they didn’t read it as they hash the same issues that the author addresses. This book is flawed. It’s sorta long and it lags at the end but I still say it’s 5 stars because of the mindset it instills in you. They want you to sit down and solve problems - not wait for things on faith and not always be wanting to tear the structure down. The structure is working and the doomsd...
  • Abigail Lauren
    An incredibly ‘enlightening’ (excuse the pun) book, and one of the most motivational I’ve come across. It has left me with a powerful message of what it is possible to achieve through science, cooperation, policy, and sheer willpower. Enlightenment Now is filled with wonderful (and of course fully cited) facts to boot. You’ll come away with plenty of interesting ‘did you know....?’ facts to crack out at the pub!My not-so-brief summary...
  • Brian Cloutier
    Sapiens was pitched to me as a hook about all of history. That seemed a bit lofty and the book predictably fell a bit flat. What annoyed me most was that it often failed to defend the positions it espoused. Why should we stop eating meat? Because that is the morally better choice. Why? Just think of the animals!My experience with Enlightenment Now was completely the opposite. I expected a book full of line graphs explaining how the world has gott...
  • Nilesh
    Enlightenment is a book in two parts. One, which is nearly the first 90% of the book, is the less interesting, less important, but the most impactful is the one that had to be written, while the other - the last 10% on Humanism - is the one that has to be read! The two have tenuous connections, despite the author’s best efforts. Overall, the book contains much that is obvious and some unbearably blue-sky, but for its balanced tone, nuggets of i...
  • Mark Miano
    For many reasons, this is the book that I needed to read at this point in my life. You see, I'm a glass half-empty type of guy. I mean, really empty. I worry (and worry, and worry) about the state of our world, country, and society, the tribalism of our politics, the polluting of our skies and waters, and whether the future we're leaving for our kids is going to be better or a whole lot worse than the life I experienced.Thankfully, on the glowing...
  • Dan Graser
    There is no one alive who writes with the mind-sweeping clarity and breadth of knowledge that Steven Pinker possesses. Though there are other works of his that are perhaps more revolutionary (The Blank Slate) or ambitious in their singular explanatory power (How the Mind Works), it is this latest volume of his that is his most timely and all-encompassing cerebral broom.If the idea of needing to defend Enlightenment values is mysterious to you at ...