It's Better Than It Looks

It's Better Than It Looks

Reason for Optimism in An Age of Fear

Book - 2018
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Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever?
Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more.
Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term decline, while longevity and education keep rising and economic indicators are better than in any past generation. Worldwide, malnutrition and extreme poverty are at historic lows, and the risk of dying by war or violence is the lowest in human history.
It's not a coincidence that we're confused--our perspectives on the world are blurred by the rise of social media, the machinations of politicians, and our own biases. Meanwhile, political reforms like the Clean Air Act and technological innovations like the hybridization of wheat have saved huge numbers of lives. In that optimistic spirit, Easterbrook offers specific policy reforms to address climate change, inequality, and other problems, and reminds us that there is real hope in conquering such challenges. In an age of discord and fear-mongering, It's Better Than It Looks will profoundly change your perspective on who we are, where we're headed, and what we're capable of.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, 2018
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781610397414
Characteristics: xx, 330 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 02, 2018

No visual data whatsoever. Easterbrook describes very long term trends without ever picturing them. Time series graphs that are a prerequisite given the subject are entirely absent. As an example, a single graph showing rising life span over the past century is a lot more informative than his narrative over pages of text. In the absence of any visual data or any data at all (no graphs, no tables, no list, no rankings) his book is very boring, and not so informative.

This book compares very poorly to a couple of contemporary books on very much the exact same subject. These are:
1) Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker; and
2) Abundance: The Future is better than you think: by Peter H. Diamandis.

Both authors above understand the critical importance of visual data (time series graphs). And, have used them extensively throughout their respective books. This renders their book a lot easier to read and a lot more informative. And, their text is truly supported by the data. It renders the material digestible and convincing. You can readily see the sourced visual evidence.

By comparison, Easterbrook's book comes across as an incomplete draft waiting for someone to capture the visual data and edit the text so it is convergent with the prospective visual data represented.

I would invite anyone to check all three books in a bookstore and experience firsthand the vast difference between Easterbrook and the other two authors. There is just no comparison.


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