Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now

The 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 formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive sc...

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...
  • Bill Gates
    For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. Hi...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Emily May
    Steven Pinker makes a strong argument for enlightenment principles and, essentially, not giving up on the world because Donald Trump is president. We are not, contrary to popular belief, going backwards, and have in fact made astounding progress in all measurable areas, such as wealth, health, safety, education and equality.Faced with the numbers, it's hard to disagree, though I went into this fairly convinced already. We do not, by any measure, ...
  • Amir The Fat Bookworm
    This book is a sequel to Steven Pinker's other book "The Better Angels of our nature". The "The Better Angels of our nature" is a detailed comparison of violence in history. And how it reduced. The reasons for reduction and existence of these violences was covered. But "Enlightenment now" Covers other topics such as health, wealth, knowledge and many more. These two books have changed my mind about many of my core beliefs such as anarchism, nucle...
  • 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...
  • Morgan Blackledge
    If you had to chose a time to be alive, and (here’s the catch) you couldn’t pick what race, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or nationality you were. You’d be flat wrong if you chose any other time than right fuckin’ now! Skeptical? Steven Pinker would like to convince you otherwise. According to Pinker. Humans (on average) have never had it so good. And he’s got 500(+) pages and 75(+) graphs and charts that illustrate exac...
  • 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 ...
  • `Ashlula` Ayse
    Enlightening indeed! Very uplifting reading, especially for pessimists like me. He clearly points out the effect of distorted/exaggerated news, the negative bias of people, dirty politics and the lack of reason behind all the sky-is -falling attitude that seems to dominate communities.I have learned so many good facts from this book that helped me view things differently such as the global Cosmopolitanism, 8x increase in number of countries ruled...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Bakunin
    I usually wait a while to write a review of a book in order to digest all the important aspects of the work and this is certainly true in this case as well. Being somewhat of a libertarian with conservative leanings I found this book to be both illuminating as well as challenging. This book is Pinkers best attempt to defend the enlightenment; that is to say humanism, science and reason. He goes through many aspects quantitatively to prove his poi...
  • 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...
  • Ryan B
    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...
  • Ian
    Prof. Pinker points out early in this book that people have a tendency to marshal evidence that confirms their convictions whilst dismissing evidence that contradicts them. I’m as guilty of that as most people, and on the evidence of this book, my own convictions are similar to the author’s. Prof. Pinker’s book largely provides me with reinforcement for my pre-existing opinions and on that basis it’s not surprising I rate it highly. A lar...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Rafael
    Ok, it took me a while to finish this one not because something is wrong with it but because the amount of facts and info it has on it, its a beautiful tesis on the world today facts about economy, politics, religion and social behavior, humanism is the sole purpose of this book and explains it with brilliant research, this a not an easy book but is a wonderful explanation on how science works and how research and enlightenment could and is guidi...
  • Dominika
    I did not like this book.I would say that this book was middling for the majority of it. The idea of the book is that progress has already happened, and we shouldn't be as doom and gloom as we are. But for a man who emphasizes the use of data and critical thinking, he doesn't really read said data that well and some of his arguments are riddled with gaping holes. This was a book that was read at our book club (but I was the only person at that bo...
  • 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...
  • Andrii Zakharov
    There are a lot of bad reviews of Steven Pinker's new book out there, mostly arguing against some of his particular points taken out of context, putting words in his mouth, falsely attributing some agenda to him, or simply twisting his words. But reading the book attentively, one can't help but notice how much thought went into Pinker's formulations, and how careful he is with what he is saying and showing. The one detailed review I can recommend...
  • Elena
    Convincing, positive, good natured. I enjoy Pinker’s books enormously.
  • Nidhi Jakhar
    Now this was another brilliant read for 2018! After Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything, I fell into pessimism about the way our world is going but Pinker makes me hopeful about humanity as well as our Planet. I have a Humanities brain and science and reason feel like Latin to it but is it true as we grow up or as we age, our life experiences and knowledge makes our brains more versatile and dynamic? No wonder I am having a joyride with non-fic...