Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Enlightenment Now

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: 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 scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to ste...

Details Enlightenment Now

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

Reviews Enlightenment Now

  • 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...
  • 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 Beauregard Bottomley
    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...
  • 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, ...
  • David
    A few months ago, I heard Steven Pinker give a talk about this book. I must say that his speaking skill did not impress me. However, his writing skill is brilliant. This is a very important book--epic in scope, comprehensive, well thought-out and structured, incredibly well researched, and full of some very important messages.The book begins with a student's question "Why should I live?" To which Pinker answers with a profound interpretation of t...
  • 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...
  • 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 J
    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...
  • Rhys
    A paean to the status quo that can be summarized in four words: ‘don’t worry, be happy’. (Actually five words, as one is contracted). This book will no doubt earn the author a lanyard to every corporate boardroom and conservative think tank in the country.His thesis is that Enlightenment principles must be defended – but not against mindless consumerism, not against the growing disparities of wealth, not against the disruption of earth sy...
  • 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...
  • Amirography
    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...
  • Otis Chandler
    An eye-opening book. I picked this up because I saw the authors TED talk, and then Bill Gates called it the best book he's read in a decade (his review is worth reading)The book starts with a premise that many people generally have an impression that the world is full of of serious crises. "Magazine covers warn us of coming anarchies, plagues, epidemics, collapses, and so many “crises” (farm, health, retirement, welfare, energy, deficit) that...
  • Maria Espadinha
    Progress Where Are Thou?“Here's the shocking fact: The world has made fantastic progress on all indicators of human welfare. A second shocking fact: Virtually no one knows this.“Bad news are always extremely loud. Just by reading those huge headlines we’ll instantly know how sick is the world we live in!On the other hand, good news are usually silent. So silent that a good new is — most of the times — a no new. That’s why this book wa...
  • Ashlie
    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...
  • Richard
    Pinker’s latest is getting a lot of press, of course.Here are a few links:His own synopsis at the Wall Street Journal: The Enlightenment Is Working (paywall; try Googling wsj The Enlightenment Is Working and clicking through from Google, maybe into “private browsing mode”. Works sometimes.)Ezra Klein of Vox is a pretty good interviewer, and he hooked up with Pinker at his podcast. I really liked that they both name-dropped Dan Kahan's w...
  • Peter (Pete) 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • Jenna
    review to come
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Bradley
    If you're looking for a cure for the common pessimism, you might do much, much worse than to pick up this book. I've read or seen many other examples of the facts portrayed here, but Steven Pinker does a very admirable job of showing us, exactly, how much better the world is now compared to the one we had even a hundred years ago. It's not just time-saving devices or some outright reversals of ecological damage, but how lifespans, general IQ, ove...
  • Michael Sebastian
    Steven Pinker's book, Enlightment Now, has a pretty basic premise. Things have gotten better as a whole for humanity in the past century, especially compared to the conditions in which most people lived not that long ago. For some reason though, Pinker not only needs to make the case that life has gotten better, but, because most things are better, everything must be great. A good chunk of this book is spent chastising people that are trying to m...
  • Lauren
    In Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Steven Pinker spends 550+ pages attempting to disavow you of any notion of "the good ol' days".And he IS pretty convincing. He's got stats and graphs and lots of evidence to bolster his case that we live in amazing times - that progress and Enlightenment-era ideals have lead to better conditions in almost every measurable sphere. And he's right. He spends some ink and tim...
  • 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...
  • Chaunceton Bird
    Buy and read this book. Let us rid ourselves of scientific illiteracy, shed our primitive intuitions, and abolish our hopeful apocalyptic superstitions. Let this book be the spotlight that removes the shadows of ignorance from our echo-chamber brains. Crime, war, and famine rates are lower than they’ve ever been. GMOs, fertilizers, and vaccines have and continue to save billions of lives. The global standard of living has never been higher. In ...
  • Paul
    I'm a big fan of Pinker, but I can't say I really enjoyed this book. Impeccably written, as always, but I feel like some of the conclusions he draws from the data he cites are somewhat spurious.