Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Books that encourage optimism

Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic, and is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and most recently, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.

At the Guardian, Pinker tagged a number of books to make you an optimist, including:
Authors who describe the remarkable decline of poverty, hunger and disease in the developing world anticipate such incredulity that they often flaunt the word “great” in their titles, such as Nobel laureate Angus Deaton’s The Great Escape and Steven Radelet’s The Great Surge. More modestly, Charles Kenny tells us how the world is Getting Better. As does Factfulness by the late TED star Hans Rosling, who liked to quiz his audiences on trends in wellbeing and show that they did worse than chimpanzees.
Read about more entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue