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What to expect

A landmark account of our journey from the dawn of human existence to the present – with vital lessons for our future.

What are the keys to human progress? In the last two hundred years, stunning advances in health, wealth and lifespan have fundamentally transformed the experience of being human, at least for some. But this was no accident of history. Drawing on a lifetime’s investigation, Oded Galor identifies the universal forces behind this change, and so unlocks the mystery of human development.

Galor’s breakthrough vision upends many assumptions. The game-changing revolution of recent centuries was not industrialisation but mass education; not the era of child labour but the end of it. New technology can enhance living standards – but it has done so only by reducing family size and spurring greater gender equality. Meanwhile, differing levels of diversity, stemming from patterns of human migration tens of thousands of years ago, have been as powerful in determining the fate of nations as colonialism or geography.

How did Europe soar ahead of previously more advanced civilisations such as China and the Ottoman Empire? Why have workers’ revolutions succeeded in agricultural but not industrialised nations? How have soil types affected gender relations and coast lines entrepreneurialism? Why are Bolivia’s challenges the opposite of Ethiopia’s? Is continued growth compatible with tackling the climate crisis?

Making astounding connections across continents and millennia, The Journey of Humanity answers all these questions and more in a bold and captivating narrative that reframes our understanding of human history. Its transformative and ultimately hopeful vision contains the keys not only to the thriving of our species but to our survival.

Critics Review

  • A completely brilliant and utterly original account of humanity’s transit from crude beginnings to a deeply divided planet. A vastly readable insight into why our world is as it is. A book for our epoch

    Jon Snow, former presenter of Channel 4 News
  • A masterful sweep through the human odyssey, from the origin of our species to the making of the modern world, that answers the ultimate mystery: what accounts for the staggering inequality in the wealth of nations today? Exquisite, eloquent and effortlessly erudite if you liked Sapiens, you’ll love this

    Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins
  • Astounding in scope and insight, The Journey of Humanity provides a captivating and revelatory account of the deepest currents that have shaped human history, and the keys to the betterment of our species

    Nouriel Roubini, author of Crisis Economics
  • I am in awe of Oded Galor’s attempts to explain inequality today as a consequence of such profound forces. A remarkable contribution to our understanding of this mammoth dilemma

    Jim O'Neill, author of The Growth Map
  • A wonderfully clear-sighted perspective on progress, past and future, which is essential to tackling today’s big challenges – potentially catastrophic climate change and inequality

    Diane Coyle, former Vice Chair of the BBC Trust, author of Cogs and Monsters
  • An engaging and optimistic answer to anyone who thinks that poverty and inequality will always be with us

    Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules – For Now

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