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July Book of the Month

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

by Steven Pinker

Reviewed by Peggy K. Potter
Director Hutchinson Memorial Library

 

In this non-fiction book author Steve Pinker, a professor of psychology at Har­vard and author of the bestselling book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” asks two ques­tions. First, is the world falling apart? Second, is the idea of progress obsolete? We are surrounded by dark, terrifying headlines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is all the tragedy true? This books claims not. And it has the statistics to prove it.

Seventy-five shocking grafts show that not just the United States is getting better, the whole world is progressing. Fewer people are starving, a lot fewer. More children are being educated, a lot more. We inhabitants of the world live longer, safer, smarter and happier than at any time in history. We are more likely to be attacked by sharks than become a victim of terrorism.

Enlightenment is the idea that “knowledge can enhance human flourish­ing.” When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear it­self,” he was so right. This book explains just how uninformed our current fears are, we are truly flourishing. Reading Pinker’s facts of how well we have done, makes us want to do even better.

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