Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker, read by Arthur Morey. Includes a bonus PDF of graphs.
Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible? If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking into chaos, hatred and irrationality. Yet, as Steven Pinker shows, if you follow the trendlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer and more prosperous - not just in the West but worldwide.
Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even realising it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress. The challenges we face today are formidable. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. This is the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2018 Steven Pinker (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Timothy Lehmann on 20-02-2018

Essential listening

I loved "Better Angels" and this is a fitting sequel. A reminder that the big picture is a good one, regardless of what Facebook and Twitter may tell us.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Luke Freeman on 26-05-2018

The last chapters are the best for those who’re already optimists

The beginning of the book is good if you’re unaware of the amount of data about how we’re living in the best of times - if you already know this (or read Better Angels of our Nature) then it’s nothing particularly new (although well done).

The section around global catastrophic risk seems a bit naïve and downplays the importance of getting these things right.

At the end he does a good job of making the case against extremism, parochialism, populism and cynicism while making the positive case for conditional optimistic humanism.

As always with Pinker it’s well-researched and chocked full of facts that you’ll wish you remember but probably won’t.

I definitely recommend it - but mostly to people who have criticisms of enlightenment thinking but are open to properly considering the view. People who may be on the edge of more parochial or polarised world views that are having one final attempt at listening to a positive moderate case should read his book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 26-02-2018

Glass half-full

We live in an age of doom and gloom. All the news we hear seems to be bad. Everything seems to be turning to shit. Americans were so disenchanted with this state of decline that they elected Donald Trump. The British were so disillusioned that they voted for Brexit. We have global warming, overpopulation, pollution. What is happening? How did things get so bad?

They didn’t. Stephen Pinker’s latest book is an optimistic look at the state of the World today. Like other feel-good books I’ve read & reviewed (‘The Rational Optimist’,’ Abundance’, and Pinker’s own ‘The Better Angels of our Nature’), this book tries to convince the listener that things aren’t really as bad as they seem – and it succeeds.

His method in this book is statistical. Basically, for each different aspect of World life that he examines, he provides evidence of progress by using graphs to show that things have become massively better over time.

Now, it’s awkward to look at graphs when you are out in the woods on your bike, but fortunately this isn’t necessary, because they are all well-described in the audio narrative and are pretty straightforward. Of course, if you want to check them out later, there is an accompanying pdf.

Looking at a whole screed of indices of human well-being and progress, Pinker shows us that on a global scale things have moved and are still moving in a very positive direction: Life expectancy, child mortality, poverty, war, road safety, human rights, civil rights, literacy etc etc. are all getting better over time, and in the process he also explains why it is that we are often not aware, or fail to fully notice, these encouraging trends.

Because all these observations are supported by hard statistics, it is very easy to be convinced. He also makes the point that there is no place for complacency. All the gains we have made have been the result of hard work. We face challenges that require continued hard work and ingenuity, and we need to commit ourselves to this in order to continue our progress.

This is a very refreshing and uplifting look at our World and is well worth a listen.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Christian Petersen on 08-05-2018

Great Content - well researched

This was an enjoyable and informative audiobook.

My only issue was with the Steven's anti-Trump bias. Some of his criticisms were indeed justified. However when discussing creeping authoritarianism and war, there was no discussion of Barrack Obama or Hilary Clinton in their roles as war mongers in Syria or Libya. Their complete disregard for congressional approval in waging war against those sovereign nations was unconstitutional. Obama too was an Authoritarian. Steven's push back against populism is understandable, though how it was represented was biased in my opinion.

He also makes the case for cosmopolitanism and open societies while addressing the inherant totalitarianism and radicalism present within Islam. It would have been interesting to hear his thoughts on how a cosmopolitan and liberal society can co-exist with people who hold antithetical beleifs, and what should be done at a state level re immigration and how to deal with people who fail to integrate.

His criticism of Nietzche was interesting.

I enjoyed listening to his arguments for secular, humanist societies built around the philosophical universalisation of morals and ethics. His information re the reduction of crime and poverty in all countries, even the poorest and the increased life span enjoyed by all people was uplifting.

Other than the above criticisms I highly reccommend this audiobook. It was enjoyable, interesting and entertaining.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By ANDREW NORRIS on 15-02-2018

A must for everyone.

This is a fabulous piece of writing from one of the worlds most enlightened polymaths. It's an uplifting journey of reason and human progress. Highly recommended.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alex D on 22-03-2018

The kind of book that makes you like humans

buy it. read it. make notes.

Throw the good facts at people when they're sad at the world.

Then listen to it again!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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