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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 on our desktop site.

© Steven Pinker 2018 (P) Penguin Audio 2018

Critics Review

  • My new favourite book of all time

    Bill Gates
  • Exhilarating, magnificent, uplifting

    Economist
  • This is the biggest story of our time. It’s about the many ways in which the world is improving, and why we don’t believe it

    Spectator
  • Pinker is right. Not just a bit right, but completely, utterly, incontrovertibly right … for most people, life is better, even if they don’t realise it

    Daily Mail
  • Awesome. The confidence with which Pinker tears through the issues that cause such deep anxiety today is compelling

    Guardian
  • A characteristically fluent, decisive and data-rich demonstration of why, given the chance to live at any point in human history, only a stone-cold idiot would choose any time other than the present

    Spectator

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