Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.
In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.
Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online―a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.
“A riveting account... Reads like a literary thriller... Snowden pushes the reader to reflect more seriously on what every American should be asking already. What does it mean to have the data of our lives collected and stored on file, ready to be accessed―not just now, by whatever administration happens to be in office at the moment, but potentially forever?... When it comes to privacy and speech and the Constitution, his story clarifies the stakes.”
―The New York Times
“Gripping... Snowden demonstrates a knack for explaining in lucid and compelling language the inner workings of [CIA and NSA] systems and the menace he came to believe they posed.”
―The Washington Post
“Snowden eventually decided his loyalties lay not with the agencies he was working for, but the public they were set up to protect. He felt ordinary citizens were being betrayed, and he had a duty to explain how.... His account of the experiences that led him to take momentous decisions, along with the details he gives of his family background, serve as a robust defense against accusations that he is a traitor."
“Even for those of us who’ve followed the Snowden revelations closely, Permanent Record is full of surprises.... A deeply reluctant whistleblower, Snowden also emerges as a peculiarly American patriot, with roots that go back to Plymouth Rock.... As his memoir makes clear, all the techniques he exposed in 2013 remain in place. For that renewed warning―and for finally speaking for himself―he deserves our thanks.”
“Well-written... Snowden’s descriptions of the real impact of the various surveillance systems he disclosed―stripped of abstract concepts and technical jargon―are some of the most disturbing parts of the book.... Offers a useful reminder of the god-like omniscience that digital data can bestow on those with the power to collect it all.”
“Snowden’s book is straightforward, admirably so.... Having gazed through the windows of the panopticon, he experienced that rarity, a moment of vision: The world must be told these things I know. Against absurd odds, he delivered his knowledge to us. Now he proposes to explain to you, by first explaining to himself, how he became (both how he was formed, and why he chose to become) the person playing this watershed walk-on part on the recent historical stage.”
―Jonathan Lethem, The New York Review of Books
“An extraordinary book... A riveting blend of spycraft as Snowden painstakingly figures out how to confirm his suspicions without tipping off his bosses, and a brilliant ethical treatise as Snowden reveals the reasoning that took him from each step to the next... The best proof yet that Snowden is exactly what he appears to be: a gung-ho guy from a military family who believes deeply in service and the values embodied by the US constitution, who explored multiple avenues of squaring his oath to uphold those values with the corrupt and illegal practices he saw around him, and worked out a breathtakingly bold and ambitious plan to do what no one else had ever managed: to expose wrongdoing in a way that provoked sustained interest and sparked action.”
―Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
The challenging and brilliantly-argued new book from the bestselling author of The Strange Death of Europe.
In his devastating new book The Madness of Crowds, Douglas Murray examines the twenty-first century's most divisive issues: sexuality, gender, technology and race. He reveals the astonishing new culture wars playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.
We are living through a postmodern era in which the grand narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. In their place have emerged a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interests now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal--and, as Murray shows, the casualties are mounting.
Readers of all political persuasions cannot afford to ignore Murray's masterfully argued and fiercely provocative book, in which he seeks to inject some sense into the discussion around this generation's most complicated issues. He ends with an impassioned call for free speech, shared common values and sanity in an age of mass hysteria.
“Simply brilliant. Reading it to the end, I felt as though I'd just drawn my first full breath in years. At a moment of collective madness, there is nothing more refreshing--or, indeed, provocative--than sanity.” ―Sam Harris, author of five New York Times bestsellers and host of the Making Sense podcast
“Whether one agrees with him or not, Douglas Murray is one of the most important public intellectuals today.” ―Bernard-Henri Lévy
“[A] profound meditation … The Strange Death of Europe can be a warning inspiring statesmanship, not-as the author himself expects-a eulogy for the old continent.” ―The American Conservative, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Timely … Murray takes a stance that few dare to … With violence erupting in Europe and America's new anti-immigration policies, this audacious work will find its readers.” ―Kirkus Reviews, on The Strange Death of Europe
“An enthralling account of the rise of Islamism in Europe. It's beautifully written and cogently argued.” ―Christina Hoff Sommers, Politico, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Excellent and disturbing.” ―Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, on The Strange Death of Europe
“[A] powerful new book.” ―National Review, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Murray's clear and humane exposition of the seismic changes and the abject failure of political elites to face up to them gives those not willfully blind an opportunity to see.” ―American Thinker, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Fascinating, brilliant, beautifully argued and deeply disturbing.” ―Elliot Abrams, CFR.org, on The Strange Death of Europe
“A fiery, lucid, and essential polemic.” ―Commentary, on The Strange Death of Europe
“[A] startling, well-argued polemic.” ―The Federalist, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Douglas Murray has written what is probably the most important book of the last 50 years.” ―Townhall.com, on The Strange Death of Europe
“Lively … Murray's book is informed by actual reporting across the Continent, and a quality of writing that manages to be spritely and elegiac at the same time. Murray's is also a truly liberal intellect, in that he is free from the power that taboo exerts over the European problem, but he doesn't betray the slightest hint of atavism or mean-spiritedness.” ―National Review, on The Strange Death of Europe
The American way of life, built on individual liberty and limited government, is on life support.
American freedom is being gutted. Whether we are trying to run a business, practice a vocation, raise our families, cooperate with our neighbors, or follow our religious beliefs, we run afoul of the government—not because we are doing anything wrong but because the government has decided it knows better. When we object, that government can and does tell us, “Try to fight this, and we’ll ruin you.”
In this provocative book, acclaimed social scientist and bestselling author Charles Murray shows us why we can no longer hope to roll back the power of the federal government through the normal political process. The Constitution is broken in ways that cannot be fixed even by a sympathetic Supreme Court. Our legal system is increasingly lawless, unmoored from traditional ideas of “the rule of law.” The legislative process has become systemically corrupt no matter which party is in control.
But there’s good news beyond the Beltway. Technology is siphoning power from sclerotic government agencies and putting it in the hands of individuals and communities. The rediversification of American culture is making local freedom attractive to liberals as well as conservatives. People across the political spectrum are increasingly alienated from a regulatory state that nakedly serves its own interests rather than those of ordinary Americans.
The even better news is that federal government has a fatal weakness: It can get away with its thousands of laws and regulations only if the overwhelming majority of Americans voluntarily comply with them. Murray describes how civil disobedience backstopped by legal defense funds can make large portions of the 180,000-page Federal Code of Regulations unenforceable, through a targeted program that identifies regulations that arbitrarily and capriciously tell us what to do. Americans have it within their power to make the federal government an insurable hazard like hurricanes and floods, leaving us once again free to live our lives as we see fit.
By the People’s hopeful message is that rebuilding our traditional freedoms does not require electing a right-thinking Congress or president, nor does it require five right-thinking justices on the Supreme Court. It can be done by we the people, using America’s unique civil society to put government back in its proper box.
"By the People is a study in contradictions. It is simultaneously depressing and inspiring, technical and profound, infuriating and charming, but always compelling. Charles Murray plays the role of a liberty-loving Lenin asking the question, 'What is to be done?' To this end, he offers a practical guide to repairing our broken constitutional order. It is that rarest of books: a populist manifesto grounded in fact and logic." --Jonah Goldberg
"A road map to recapture true American exceptionalism. With passion, brilliance, and a keen sense of the radical essence of what America means, Murray dismisses what passes for political debate today and offers an audacious plan to restore the liberty our founders bequeathed to us." -- Edward Crane, president emeritus, Cato Institute
"Liberty without permission? Selective civil disobedience? I'm in! At first I balked, but Murray makes a convincing case that a Madison Fund might scrape away the sclerosis of the suffocating state. As usual, his original arguments expand the way I think. When law is so complex that it's indistinguishable from lawlessness, when the tax code is 4 million words long, something like systematic disobedience is badly needed." --John Stossel
In Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley's most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur's journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.
Vance uses Musk's story to explore one of the pressing questions of our time: can the nation of inventors and creators which led the modern world for a century still compete in an age of fierce global competition? He argues that Musk--one of the most unusual and striking figures in American business history--is a contemporary amalgam of legendary inventors and industrialists like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs. More than any other entrepreneur today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as the visionaries of the golden age of science-fiction fantasy.
"Ashlee Vance's new book, 'Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future,' is a tremendous look into arguably the world's most important entrepreneur. Vance paints an unforgettable picture of Musk's unique personality, insatiable drive and ability to thrive through hardship." - The Washington Post
"It is the book I have enjoyed most this year." - Tyler Cowen, famed economist and best-selling author
"The best business book I have read in years." - Don Graham, former publisher of The Washington Post
"Exhaustively reported . . . this work will likely serve as the definitive account of a man whom so far we've seen mostly through caricature. By the final pages, too, any reader will sense the need to put comparisons to Steve Jobs aside. Give Musk credit. There is no one like him." - The New York Times
"Ashlee Vance's portrait of the entrepreneur at mid-life is an essential read . . . a riveting portrait of Silicon Valley's most driven entrepreneur since Steve Jobs." - The Financial Times
"The result is a book that is smart, light on its feet and possesses a crunchy thoroughness. . . . Mr. Vance delivers a well-calibrated portrait of Mr. Musk, so that we comprehend both his friends and his enemies. It's a book with many ancillary pleasures. Mr. Vance brings us up to date on the states of green energy and space launches. He also veers away from his subject just often enough, offering profiles of the frequently brilliant people who work alongside Mr. Musk The best thing Mr. Vance does in this book, though, is tell Mr. Musk's story simply and well."- The New York Times
"Really good biographies stand out in two ways. First, they provide lots of zesty stories that haven't been told before. Beyond that, they explain all the zigzags and false clues of a prominent person's life, in a way that makes the total picture come into focus. . . it's clear that this new Musk bio delivers the goods in both respects. . . Ashlee Vance provides a wealth of insights about how this tech titan operates." - Forbes
"Vance's lively book yields all manner of fascinating insights about Musk's companies, his vision, and his personal life." - Slate
"Of the many profiles of business leaders, Vance's take on Musk is among the best. The author's objective and unbiased viewpoint captures Musk's good and bad, his achievements and failures." - The Motley Fool
"Vance left few, if any, stones unturned . . . A detailed portrait of a figure both loved and feared--sometimes by the same people at the same time." - The Space Review
"Vance's book is a masterful piece of reporting." - Vice
"Musk rivals Jobs in the same way this book rivals Isaacson's classic." - Whitney Tilson Founder, Kase Capital Management
From the Inside Flap
There are few industrialists in history who could match Elon Musk's relentless drive and ingenious vision. A modern alloy of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs, Musk is the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity, each of which has sent shock waves throughout American business and industry. More than any other executive today, Musk has dedicated his energies and his own vast fortune to inventing a future that is as rich and far-reaching as a science fiction fantasy.
In this lively, investigative account, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance offers an unprecedented look into the remarkable life and times of Silicon Valley's most audacious businessman. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family, and his friends, the book traces his journey from his difficult upbringing in South Africa to his ascent to the pinnacle of the global business world. Vance spent more than fifty hours in conversation with Musk and inter- viewed close to three hundred people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk's world-changing companies and to paint a portrait of a complex man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation--all while making plenty of enemies along the way.
In 1992, Elon Musk arrived in the United States as a ferociously driven immigrant bent on realizing his wildest dreams. Since then, Musk's roller-coaster life has brought him grave disappointments alongside massive successes. After being forced out of PayPal, fending off a life-threatening case of malaria, and dealing with the death of his infant son, Musk abandoned Silicon Valley for Los Angeles. He spent the next few years baffling his friends by blowing his entire fortune on rocket ships and electric cars. Cut to 2012, however, and Musk had mounted one of the greatest resurrections in business history: Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had enjoyed unparalleled success, and Musk's net worth soared to more than $5 billion.
At a time when many American companies are more interested in chasing easy money than in taking bold risks on radical new technology, Musk stands out as the only businessman with enough dynamism and vision to tackle--and even revolutionize--three industries at once. Vance makes the case that Musk's success heralds a return to the original ambition and invention that made America an economic and intellectual powerhouse. Elon Musk is a brilliant, penetrating examination of what Musk's career means for a technology industry undergoing dramatic change and offers a taste of what could be an incredible century ahead.
In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of "madness" along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.
Dutton argues that there are indeed "functional psychopaths" among us―different from their murderous counterparts―who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more "psychopathic" people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world's most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.
As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused―qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it's our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.
“A terrifically entertaining and chilling book.” ―William Georgiades, Slate
“The Wisdom of Psychopaths is an engaging and enlightening look at both the positive and negative sides of the personality characteristics that make up the diagnosis of psychopathy.” ―Michael Shermer, The Wall Street Journal
“[A] high-octane charge across the psychopathy continuum.” ―Kaja Perina, Psychology Today
“There's no denying it: we love our psychopaths….[and] in his entertaining new book…Dutton sheds some light on the stunning magnetism of the ethically challenged.” ―The Daily Beast
“It's hard not to like Dutton's book . . . Dutton, like [Norman] Mailer, is waging war against the bien-pensant. And I'm with him. Life would be more fun if more people cultivated their inner psychopath.” ―Ann Marlowe, Tablet
“Dutton deftly navigates through some disturbing subject matter, but his message is ultimately upbeat: Scientists may be able to learn a lot from the darker side of human nature.” ―Allison Bohac, Science News
“A convincing study . . . The admirable quality of this book is Dutton's refusal to accept easy answers in one of the more sensational fields of popular psychology.” ―Tim Adams, The Observer (UK)
“Dutton spins a solid yarn, turning what could easily have been a dry survey of psych research into entertainment.” ―Scott Olster, Fortune (CNN Money)
“The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a surprising, absorbing, and perceptive book. Kevin Dutton has amassed a great deal of knowledge about these charming, cold, fearless, emotionally indifferent people, who are so attractive in some ways and so appalling in others, and set it out in a briskly readable prose studded with gripping anecdotes. I found it altogether fascinating.” ―Philip Pullman, author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy
“Dutton tackles an elusive, important, and much neglected aspect of the mind: our personality. He presents some highly original insights and does so in a provocative and humorous style―offering practical tips along the way for both ‘normals’ and ‘sociopaths.’” ―V. S. Ramachandran, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The Tell-Tale Brain
“Dutton has written a masterful, readable, and entertaining treatise on psychopathy and its manifestations in everyday life. Some of his ideas will generate debate and controversy, but he clearly has provided a thought-provoking book for those seeking to understand the ‘psychopathic' world in which they live.” ―Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us and developer of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist
“The irrepressible Kevin Dutton has done it again! This time he has produced an irreverent romp through the bright side and dark side of the mysterious psychopath, and does a great job of mixing the scientific with the personal, offering readers an insider’s glimpse into the workings of fascinating persons―and fascinating personalities. Readers will come away both enlightened and entertained.” ―Scott O. Lilienfeld, Professor of Psychology at Emory University, President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, and coauthor of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology
“If you’ve been keeping your inner psychopath locked up in the maximum-security unit of your mind, Kevin Dutton explains why giving him some fresh air from time to time may actually do you―and, more important, the rest of us―a world of good. Just give him this book to read and make sure he’s a literate, functional psychopath.” ―Jesse Bering, author of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?
New York Times Bestseller
A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Yuval Noah Harari has some questions. Among the biggest: How did Homo sapiens (or Homo sapiens sapiens , if you’re feeling especially wise today) evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet, emerging as the lone survivor out of six distinct, competing hominid species? He also has some answers, and they’re not what you’d expect. Tackling evolutionary concepts from a historian’s perspective, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, describes human development through a framework of three not-necessarily-orthodox “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. His ideas are interesting and often amusing: Why have humans managed to build astonishingly large populations when other primate groups top out at 150 individuals? Because our talent for gossip allows us to build networks in societies too large for personal relationships between everyone, and our universally accepted “imagined realities”--such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations—keep us in line. Who cultivated whom, humans or wheat?. Wheat. Though the concepts are unusual and sometimes heavy (as is the book, literally) Harari’s deft prose and wry, subversive humor make quick work of material prone to academic tedium. He’s written a book of popular nonfiction (it was a bestseller overseas, no doubt in part because his conclusions draw controversy) landing somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of genetics, sociology, and history. Throughout, Harari returns frequently to another question: Does all this progress make us happier, our lives easier? The answer might disappoint you. --Jon Foro
“Sapiens tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language.” (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday)
“Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.” (Wall Street Journal)
“In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.” (Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty)
“Yuval Noah Harari’s celebrated Sapiens does for human evolution what Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time did for physics.… He does a superb job of outlining our slow emergence and eventual domination of the planet.” (Forbes)
“[I]nteresting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” (President Barack Obama)
“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” (Bill Gates)
“Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book.” (Sebastian Junger)
“Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.” (Washington Post)
“It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species.…It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better…. Compulsively readable and impossibly learned.” (Michael Gerson, Washington Post)
“This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year.” (Atlantic.com)
The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.
This 30th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. As relevant and influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought.
Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of
Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research.
"Dawkins first book, The Selfish Gene, was a smash hit...Best of all, Dawkins laid out this biology-some of it truly subtle-in stunningly lucid prose. (It is, in my view, the best work of popular science ever written.)"--New York Review of Books
From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business - sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath.
Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation - into the meetings, postmortems, and "Braintrust" sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture - but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, "an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible."
For nearly 20 years, Pixar has dominated the world of animation, producing such beloved films as the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, and WALL-E, which have gone on to set box-office records and garner 30 Academy Awards. The joyousness of the storytelling, the inventive plots, the emotional authenticity: In some ways, Pixar movies are an object lesson in what creativity really is. Here, in this book, Catmull reveals the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so widely admired - and so profitable.
As a young man, Ed Catmull had a dream: to make the first computer-animated movie. He nurtured that dream as a PhD student at the University of Utah, where many computer science pioneers got their start, and then forged a partnership with George Lucas that led, indirectly, to his founding Pixar with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter in 1986. Nine years later, Toy Story was released, changing animation forever. The essential ingredient in that movie's success - and in the 13 movies that followed - was the unique environment that Catmull and his colleagues built at Pixar, based on philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, such as:
- Give a good idea to a mediocre team, and they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, and they will either fix it or come up with something better.
- If you don't strive to uncover what is unseen and understand its nature, you will be ill prepared to lead.
- It's not the manager's job to prevent risks. It's the manager's job to make it safe for others to take them.
- The cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.
- A company's communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.
- Do not assume that general agreement will lead to change - it takes substantial energy to move a group, even when all are on board.
“Just might be the best business book ever written.”—Forbes
“Achieving enormous success while holding fast to the highest artistic standards is a nice trick—and Pixar, with its creative leadership and persistent commitment to innovation, has pulled it off. This book should be required reading for any manager.”—Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
“Steve Jobs—not a man inclined to hyperbole when asked about the qualities of others—once described Ed Catmull as ‘very wise,’ ‘very self-aware,’ ‘really thoughtful,’ ‘really, really smart,’ and possessing ‘quiet strength,’ all in a single interview. Any reader of Creativity, Inc., Catmull’s new book on the art of running creative companies, will have to agree. Catmull, president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, has written what just might be the most thoughtful management book ever.”—Fast Company
“It’s one thing to be creative; it’s entirely another—and much more rare—to build a great and creative culture. Over more than thirty years, Ed Catmull has developed methods to root out and destroy the barriers to creativity, to marry creativity to the pursuit of excellence, and, most impressive, to sustain a culture of disciplined creativity during setbacks and success. Pixar’s unrivaled record, and the joy its films have added to our lives, gives his method the most important validation: It works.”—Jim Collins, co-author of Built to Last and author of Good to Great
“Too often, we seek to keep the status quo working. This is a book about breaking it.”—Seth Godin
“What is the secret to making more of the good stuff? Every so often Hollywood embraces a book that it senses might provide the answer. . . . Catmull’s book is quickly becoming the latest bible for the show business crowd.”—The New York Times
“The most practical and deep book ever written by a practitioner on the topic of innovation.”—Prof. Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School
“Business gurus love to tell stories about Pixar, but this is our first chance to hear the real story from someone who lived it and led it. Everyone interested in managing innovation—or just good managing—needs to read this book.”—Chip Heath, co-author of Switch and Decisive
“A fascinating story about how some very smart people built something that profoundly changed the animation business and, along the way, popular culture . . . [Creativity, Inc.] is a well-told tale, full of detail about an interesting, intricate business. For fans of Pixar films, it’s a must-read. For fans of management books, it belongs on the ‘value added’ shelf.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Pixar uses technology only as a means to an end; its films are rooted in human concerns, not computer wizardry. The same can be said of Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull’s endearingly thoughtful explanation of how the studio he co-founded generated hits such as the Toy Story trilogy, Up and Wall-E. . . . [Catmull] uses Pixar’s triumphs and near-disasters to outline a system for managing people in creative businesses—one in which candid criticism is delivered sensitively, while individuality and autonomy are not strangled by a robotic corporate culture.”—Financial Times
“A wonderful new book . . . Unlike most books written by founders, this isn’t some myth-heavy legacy project—it’s far closer to a blueprint. Catmull takes us inside the Pixar ecosystem and shows how they build and refine excellence, in revelatory detail. . . . If you do creative work, you should read it, now.”—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
“A superb debut intended for managers in all fields of endeavor . . . He takes readers inside candid discussions and retreats at which participants, assuming the early versions of movies are bad, explore ways to improve them. Unusually rich in ideas, insights and experiences, the book celebrates the benefits of an open, nurturing work environment. An immensely readable and rewarding book that will challenge and inspire readers to make their workplaces hotbeds of creativity.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company’s films were developed and the company’s financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. . . . [Creativity, Inc.] will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work ‘in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For anyone managing anything, and particularly those trying to manage creative teams, Catmull is like a kind, smart godfather guiding us toward managing wisely, without losing our souls, and in a way that works toward greatness. Perhaps it’s all Up from there.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Many have attempted to formulate and categorize inspiration and creativity. What Ed Catmull shares instead is his astute experience that creativity isn’t strictly a well of ideas, but an alchemy of people. In Creativity, Inc. Ed reveals, with commonsense specificity and honesty, examples of how not to get in your own way and how to realize a creative coalescence of art, business, and innovation.”—George Lucas
“This is the best book ever written on what it takes to build a creative organization. It is the best because Catmull’s wisdom, modesty, and self-awareness fill every page. He shows how Pixar’s greatness results from connecting the specific little things they do (mostly things that anyone can do in any organization) to the big goal that drives everyone in the company: making films that make them feel proud of one another.”—Robert I. Sutton, Stanford professor and author of The No A**hole Rule and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence
Major New York Times bestseller
Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year
One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.
n this “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike.
Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.
“Splendidly written, sophisticated and stimulating. It may well change how you think and talk about politics, religion and human nature.”
“A landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself. . . . Haidt is looking for more than victory. He’s looking for wisdom. That’s what makes The Righteous Mind well worth reading.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“An eye-opening and deceptively ambitious best seller . . . undoubtedly one of the most talked-about books of the year.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Ingenious prose. . . . Beautifully written, Haidt’s book shines a new and creative light on moral psychology and presents a provocative message.”
“A remarkable and original synthesis of social psychology, political analysis, and moral reasoning.”
—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“Highly readable, highly insightful. . . . The principal posture in which one envisions him is that of a scrappy, voluble, discerning patriot standing between the warring factions in American politics urging each to see the other’s viewpoint, to stop demonizing, bashing, clobbering. . . . Haidt’s real contribution, in my judgment, is inviting us all to sit at the table.”
“Excellent. . . . An impressive book that should be read by anyone who has the slightest interest in how political opinions are reached.”
—The Daily Beast
“Haidt’s work feels particularly relevant now. . . . Haidt’s perspective can help us better understand our own political and religious leanings.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Jonathan Haidt is one of smartest and most creative psychologists alive, and his newest book, The Righteous Mind is a tour de force—a brave, brilliant and eloquent exploration of the most important issues of our time. It will challenge the way you think about liberals and conservatives, atheism and religion, good and evil. This is the book that everyone is going to be talking about.”
—Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University
“Haidt’s research has revolutionized the field of moral psychology. This elegantly written book has far-reaching implications for anyone interested in anthropology, politics, religion, or the many controversies that divide modern societies. If you want to know why you hold your moral beliefs and why many people disagree with you, read this book..”
—Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, Author of Zero Degrees of Empathy and The Science of Evil
“A much-needed voice of moral sanity.”
“[Haidt’s] framework for the different moral universes of liberals and conservatives struck me as a brilliant breakthrough . . . The Righteous Mind provides an invaluable road map.”
“A well-informed tour of contemporary moral psychology…A cogent rendering of a moral universe of fertile complexity and latent flexibility.”
“Haidt’s a good thing.”
“Jonathan Haidt’s absorbing The Righteous Mind should come with a warning label: ‘contents highly addictive.’ Written in a breezy and accessible style but informed by an impressively wide range of cutting-edge research in the social sciences, evolutionary biology and psychology, The Righteous Mind is about as interesting a book as you’ll pick up this year.”
—The Globe and Mail
“What makes [The Righteous Mind] so compelling is the fluid combination of erudition and entertainment, and the author’s obvious pleasure in challenging conventional wisdom. . . . [Haidt’s] core point is simple and well-made: our morality, much of it wired into brains from birth, at the same time binds us together and blinds us to different configurations of morality.”
—The Guardian (London)
“An important and timely book. . . . His ideas are controversial but they make you think.”
—Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company
“The Righteous Mind refutes the ‘New Atheists’ and shows that religion is a central part of our moral heritage. Haidt’s brilliant synthesis shows that Christians have nothing to fear and much to gain from the evolutionary paradigm.”
—Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution
“The Righteous Mind is an intellectual tour de force that brings Darwinian theorizing to the practical realm of everyday politics. The book is beautifully written, and it is truly unusual to encounter a book that makes a major theoretical contribution yet encourages one to turn its pages enthusiastically.”
—Christopher Boehm, Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California, author of Moral Origins
“As a fellow who listens to heated political debate daily, I was fascinated, enlightened, and even amused by Haidt’s brilliant insights. This penetrating yet accessible book will help readers understand the righteous minds that inhabit politics.”
—Larry Sabato, University of Virginia, author of A More Perfect Constitution
“A profound discussion of the diverse psychological roots of morality and their role in producing political conflicts. It’s not too much to hope that the book will help to reduce those conflicts.”
—Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, Author of The Geography of Thought
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues.
“Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED
How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?
Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.
“If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’”—BookPage (top pick)
An Amazon Best Book of September 2018: It’s hard to imagine having as many deep thoughts as Yuval Noah Harari. His 2015 book, Sapiens, examined the human race through the vectors of history and biology, illuminating how each has influenced our behavior and evolution. Two years later, Homo Deus took us in the opposite direction, predicting the profound changes we will undergo as technology becomes increasingly intertwined in our lives and bodies. Just a year and a half later, Harari turns his attention to more immediate concerns. Using the same tack-sharp lens as his previous books, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century addresses urgent, shape-shifting topics that will shape our present and near future, including nationalism, religion, immigration, artificial intelligence, and even the nature of Truth—in other words, everything you're not supposed to talk about at Thanksgiving. Harari is not always reassuring, and he's certainly unafraid of questions challenging widely held views on both global and personal scales, i.e. yours. His quest is not to tear holes in belief systems, but to expand conversations and strip the -isms that channel us into predictably intractable stand-offs. Calling any book "urgent" or "a must-read" is almost always hyperbolic, even shrill. But especially now, 21 Lessons fits the bill. —Jon Foro, Amazon Book Review
“The human mind wants to worry. This is not necessarily a bad thing—after all, if a bear is stalking you, worrying about it may well save your life. Although most of us don’t need to lose too much sleep over bears these days, modern life does present plenty of other reasons for concern: terrorism, climate change, the rise of A.I., encroachments on our privacy, even the apparent decline of international cooperation. In his fascinating new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the historian Yuval Noah Harari creates a useful framework for confronting these fears. While his previous best sellers, Sapiens and Homo Deus, covered the past and future respectively, his new book is all about the present. The trick for putting an end to our anxieties, he suggests, is not to stop worrying. It’s to know which things to worry about, and how much to worry about them. . . . Harari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking. . . . [Harari] has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review
“If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari, author of the critically praised Sapiens and Homo Deus, tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’ . . . Harari makes a passionate argument for reshaping our educational systems and replacing our current emphasis on quickly outdated substantive knowledge with the ‘four Cs’—critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. . . . Thoughtful readers will find 21 Lessons for the 21st Century to be a mind-expanding experience.”—BookPage (top pick)
“A sobering and tough-minded perspective on bewildering new vistas.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Magnificently combining historical, scientific, political, and philosophical perspectives, Harari . . . explores twenty-one of what he considers to be today’s ‘greatest challenges.’ Despite the title’s reference to ‘lessons,’ his tone is not prescriptive but exploratory, seeking to provoke debate without offering definitive solutions. . . . Within this broad construct, Harari discusses many pressing issues, including problems associated with liberal democracy, nationalism, immigration, and religion. This well-informed and searching book is one to be savored and widely discussed.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A highly instructive exploration of ‘current affairs and . . . the immediate future of human societies.’ Having produced an international bestseller about human origins and avoided the sophomore jinx writing about our destiny, Harari proves that he has not lost his touch, casting a brilliantly insightful eye on today’s myriad crises, from Trump to terrorism, Brexit to big data. . . . [In] twenty-one painfully astute essays, he delivers his take on where our increasingly ‘post-truth’ world is headed. Human ingenuity, which enables us to control the outside world, may soon re-engineer our insides, extend life, and guide our thoughts. Science-fiction movies get the future wrong, if only because they have happy endings. Most readers will find Harari’s narrative deliciously reasonable, including his explanation of the stories (not actually true but rational) of those who elect dictators, populists, and nationalists. His remedies for wildly disruptive technology (biotech, infotech) and its consequences (climate change, mass unemployment) ring true, provided nations act with more good sense than they have shown throughout history. Harari delivers yet another tour de force.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The instant New York Times bestseller.
A brilliant recasting of the turning points in world history, including the one we're living through, as a collision between old power hierarchies and new social networks.
“Captivating and compelling.” —The New York Times
"Niall Ferguson has again written a brilliant book...In 400 pages you will have restocked your mind. Do it." —The Wall Street Journal
“The Square and the Tower, in addition to being provocative history, may prove to be a bellwether work of the Internet Age.” —Christian Science Monitor
Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers and field marshals. It's about states, armies and corporations. It's about orders from on high. Even history "from below" is often about trade unions and workers' parties. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change?
The 21st century has been hailed as the Age of Networks. However, in The Square and the Tower, Niall Ferguson argues that networks have always been with us, from the structure of the brain to the food chain, from the family tree to freemasonry. Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. Just because conspiracy theorists like to fantasize about such networks doesn't mean they are not real.
From the cults of ancient Rome to the dynasties of the Renaissance, from the founding fathers to Facebook, The Square and the Tower tells the story of the rise, fall and rise of networks, and shows how network theory--concepts such as clustering, degrees of separation, weak ties, contagions and phase transitions--can transform our understanding of both the past and the present.
Just as The Ascent of Money put Wall Street into historical perspective, so The Square and the Tower does the same for Silicon Valley. And it offers a bold prediction about which hierarchies will withstand this latest wave of network disruption--and which will be toppled.
“Captivating and compelling. Whether describing the surprisingly ineffective 18th century network of the mysterious Illuminati that continue to be the subject of crank conspiracy theorists or the shockingly effective 20th century network of Cambridge University spies working for the Soviets, Ferguson manages both to tell a good story and provide important insight into the specific qualities that power successful networks.” —The New York Times
“Remarkably interesting . . . always surprising and always thought-provoking in the places and entities it chooses to pause and examine, everything from the Mafia to the Soviet Union of Stalin. . . . The Square and the Tower in addition to being provocative history, may prove to be a bellwether work of the Internet Age.” —Christian Science Monitor
"Niall Ferguson has again written a brilliant book. . . . His short chapters are lucid snapshots of a world history of Towers and Squares, filled with gracefully deployed learning. . . . THE SQUARE AND THE TOWER is always readable, intelligent, original. You can swallow a chapter a night before sleep and your dreams will overflow with scenes of Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, Napoleon, Kissinger. In 400 pages you will have restocked your mind. Do it." —The Wall Street Journal
“Ferguson reminds us the social network didn’t spring fully formed from the mind of Mark Zuckerberg; rather, it’s a persistent force in human affairs offering a novel lens on past and perplexing present.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"A wide-ranging and provocative tour through the history of human connectivity, pre- and post-high tech. Ferguson also ladles out illuminating doses of networking theory and analysis of the threat that growing political and economic complexity poses to established hierarchies and institutions." —Inc.com
“An engaging, provocative history of networks (and their relationships to hierarchies) from ancient times to the invention of the printing press to the pervasiveness of the personal computer. Breathtaking in its scale and scope, The Square and the Tower applies insights of network theory to (among other subjects) Portugal’s foothold in Macau, the “conquest” of the Incas, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, World War I, Stalin’s Terror, World War II, the fall of the Soviet Union, the founding of the European Union and the Great Recession of 2008-09.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“An enthralling ‘reboot’ of history from a novel perspective, spanning antiquity to the present day. . . . Like the best historians, [Ferguson] always pauses to learn from the past and anticipate the future. If only for this reason, [THE SQUARE AND THE TOWER] is well worth a read.”—Science
“[Ferguson’s] typically bold rethinking of historical currents, painted on the broadest canvas, offers many stimulating insights on the tense interplay between order, oppression, freedom, and anarchy.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Ferguson has written a provocative and intellectually challenging work that should promote consideration and debate among academics and laypersons.” —Booklist
“Renowned economic historian Ferguson draws on insights from network theory to examine disruptions across time. . . . Refreshingly evenhanded. . . . Ferguson offers a novel way of examining data . . . highly intriguing.” —Kirkus
“In his sweeping, stimulating and enlightening The Square and the Tower, noted historian Niall Ferguson draws from a wide range of sources to trace the crucial role that different kinds of human networks have played throughout history… Ferguson’s superb, thought-provoking book brings these events vividly to life and will help readers view history from a unique perspective.” —BookPage
"Niall Ferguson's The Square and the Tower brilliantly illuminates the great power struggle between networks and hierarchies that is raging around the world today. As a software engineer steeped in the theory and practice of networks, I was deeply impressed by this book's insights. Silicon Valley needed a history lesson and Ferguson has provided it." —Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates
If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.
Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.
With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
An Amazon Best Book of March 2018: Given the 24-hour news cycle to which we have grown accustomed, it’s difficult to navigate life and think that everything is peachy. But Steven Pinker has set out, first in The Better Angels of Our Nature, and now in Enlightenment Now, to illustrate that there has never been a better time to be a human being. In his new book, Pinker points out that the slow creep of progress is not as newsworthy as, say, an earthquake or an explosion. So it’s clear why we don’t always have the sense that things are getting better. But the Enlightenment—with its dedication to science, reason, humanism, and progress—has led people to live longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives. And Pinker uses charts, data, history, and a firm dedication to his cause to empirically prove that we are living in better times. It makes sense to be skeptical of a scientist arguing that that science is the answer. And his optimism won’t always jibe with your personal experience or judgement. But there’s lots to chew on here—and it’s so easy to obsess on the intrusions and negatives of technology and “advancement” that this book can serve as a kind of antidote. —Chris Schluep, the Amazon Book Review
One of The Guardian’s “Books to Buy in 2018”
"The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.”—Bill Gates
“A terrific book…[Pinker] recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
"Steven Pinker’s mind bristles with pure, crystalline intelligence, deep knowledge and human sympathy."—Richard Dawkins
“Pinker is a paragon of exactly the kind of intellectual honesty and courage we need to restore conversation and community.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
“[Enlightenment Now] is magnificent, uplifting and makes you want to rush to your laptop and close your Twitter account.”—The Economist
“[A] magisterial new book…Enlightenment Now is the most uplifting work of science I’ve ever read.”—Science Magazine
“A passionate and persuasive defense of reason and science…[and] an urgently needed reminder that progress is, to no small extent, a result of values that have served us - and can serve us - extraordinarily well.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A meticulous defense of science and objective analysis, [and] a rebuttal to the tribalism, knee-jerk partisanship and disinformation that taints our politics.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Brimming with surprising data and entertaining anecdotes.”—Financial Times
“[Pinker] makes a powerful case that the main line of history has been, since the Enlightenment, one of improvement.”—Scientific American
“Let’s stop once in a while to enjoy the view—I’m glad Pinker is pushing for this in a world that does it too rarely… It’s hard not to be convinced.”—Quartz
“Enlightenment Now is formidable.”—Financial Times
“As a demonstration of the value of reason, knowledge, and curiosity, Enlightenment Now can hardly be bettered.”—The Boston Globe
“With a wealth of knowledge, graphs and statistics, a strong grasp of history, and an engaging style of writing…Enlightenment Now provides a convincing case for gratitude.”—Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“A masterly defense of the values of modernity against ‘progressophobes’.”—Times Higher Education
“Enlightenment Now strikes a powerful blow against the contemporary mystifications being peddled by tribalists on both the left and the right.”—Reason
“Pinker presents graphs and data which deserve to be reckoned with by fair-minded people. His conclusion is provocative, as anything by Pinker is likely to be.” —Colorado Springs Gazette
“Elegantly [argues] that in various ways humanity has every reason to be optimistic over life in the twenty-first century…. A defense of progress that will provoke deep thinking and thoughtful discourse among his many fans.”—Booklist
“Pinker defends progressive ideals against contemporary critics, pundits, cantankerous philosophers, and populist politicians to demonstrate how far humanity has come since the Enlightenment…In an era of increasingly “dystopian rhetoric,” Pinker’s sober, lucid, and meticulously researched vision of human progress is heartening and important.”—Publishers Weekly
“[An] impeccably written text full of interesting tidbits from neuroscience and other disciplines…The author examines the many ways in which Enlightenment ideals have given us lives that our forebears would envy even if gloominess and pessimism are the order of the day.” —Kirkus Review
Praise for The Better Angels of Our Nature:
“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this—the most inspiring book I've ever read."—Bill Gates (May, 2017)
You've seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don't know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.
I'm a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs-as much as any one person can.
In today's culture...
1) Blogs like Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post drive the media agenda.
2) Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines.
3) Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see and watch-online and off.
Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I'm tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I'm pulling back the curtain because I don't want anyone else to get blindsided.
I'm going to explain exactly how the media really works. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
"Ryan Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results…this whiz kid is the secret weapon you've never heard of."
—Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek
“A playbook for the dark arts of exploiting the media”
—Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power
"This book will make online media giants very, very uncomfortable. "
— Drew Curtis, founder, Fark.com
“Ryan Holiday's brilliant exposé of the unreality of the Internet should be required reading for every thinker in America.”
— Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture”
“The strategies Ryan created to exploit blogs drove sales of millions of my books and made me an internationally known name.” —Tucker Max, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
“Ryan has a truly unique perspective on the seedy underbelly of digital culture.”
—Matt Mason, Director of Marketing, BitTorrent
“Behind my reputation as marketing genius there is Ryan Holiday, whom I consult often and has done more for my business than just about anyone.”
—Dov Charney, CEO and founder, American Apparel
"...an astonishing, disturbing book"
“In the world of the internet celebrity, Ryan Holiday is the smart and handsome type, like the Arthur Miller to the girl who uploads YouTube videos of herself naked and eating ice cream.”
"This is a dark book with an important warning to clients and PR people alike."
"[Like] Upton Sinclair on the blogosphere."
—Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com
Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.
Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world—including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies—now threaten to destroy it.
But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2013: Jaron Lanier's last book, You Are Not a Gadget, was an influential criticism of Web 2.0's crowd-sourced backbone. In Who Owns the Future?, Lanier is interested in how network technologies affect our culture, economy, and collective soul. Lanier is talking about pretty heady stuff--the monopolistic power of big tech companies (dubbed "Siren Servers"), the flattening of the middle class, the obscuring of humanity--but he has a gift for explaining sophisticated concepts with clarity. In fact, what separates Lanier from a lot of techno-futurists is his emphasis on the maintaining humanism and accessibility in technology. In the most ambitious part of the book, Lanier expresses what he believes to be the ideal version of the networked future--one that is built on two-way connections instead of one-way relationships, allowing content, media, and other innovations to be more easily attributed (including a system of micro-payments that lead back to its creator). Is the two-way networked vision of the internet proposed in Who Owns the Future quixotic? Even Lanier seems unsure, but his goal here is to establish a foundation for which we should strive. At one point, Lanier jokingly asks sci-fi author William Gibson to write something that doesn't depict technology as so menacing. Gibson replies, "Jaron, I tried. But it's coming out dark." Lanier is able to conjure a future that's much brighter, and hopefully in his imagination, we are moving closer to that. --Kevin Nguyen
Q&A with Jaron Lanier
Q. Years ago, in the early days of networking, you and your friends asserted that information should be free. What made you change your tune?
A. In the big picture, a great new technology that makes the world more efficient should result in waves of new opportunity. That’s what happened with, say, electricity, telephones, cars, plumbing, fertilizers, vaccinations, and many other examples. Why on earth have the early years of the network revolution been associated with recessions, austerity, jobless recoveries, and loss of social mobility? Something has clearly gone wrong.
The old ideas about information being free in the information age ended up screwing over everybody except the owners of the very biggest computers. The biggest computers turned into spying and behavior modification operations, which concentrated wealth and power.
Sharing information freely, without traditional rewards like royalties or paychecks, was supposed to create opportunities for brave, creative individuals. Instead, I have watched each successive generation of young journalists, artists, musicians, photographers, and writers face harsher and harsher odds. The perverse effect of opening up information has been that the status of a young person’s parents matters more and more, since it’s so hard to make one’s way.
Q. Throughout history, technological revolutions have caused unemployment but also brought about new types of jobs to replace the old ones. What’s different today?
A. Cars can now drive themselves, and cloud services can translate passages between languages well enough to be of practical use. But the role of people in these technologies turned out to be a surprise.
Back in the 1950s, the fantasy in the computer science world was that smart scientists would achieve machine intelligence and profound levels of automation, but that never worked. Instead, vast amounts of “big data” gathered from real people is rehashed to create automation. There are many, many real people behind the curtain.
This should be great news for the future of employment! Multitudes of people are needed in order for robots to speak, drive cars, or perform operations. The only problem is that as the information age is dawning, the ideology of bright young people and newfangled plutocrats alike holds that information should be free.
Q. Who does own the future? What’s up for grabs that will affect our future livelihoods?
A. The answer is indeed up for grabs. If we keep on doing things as we are, the answer is clear: The future will be narrowly owned by the people who run the biggest, best connected computers, which will usually be found in giant, remote cloud computing farms.
The answer I am promoting instead is that the future should be owned broadly by everyone who contributes data to the cloud, as robots and other machines animated by cloud software start to drive our vehicles, care for us when we’re sick, mine our natural resources, create the physical objects we use, and so on, as the 21st century progresses.
Right now, most people are only gaining informal benefits from advances in technology, like free internet services, while those who own the biggest computers are concentrating formal benefits to an unsustainable degree.
Q. What is a “Siren Server” and how does it function?
A. I needed a broad name for the gargantuan cloud computer services that are concentrating wealth and influence in our era. They go by so many names! There are national intelligence agencies, the famous Silicon Valley companies with nursery school names, the stealthy high finance schemes, and others.
All these schemes are quite similar. The biggest computers can predictably calculate wealth and clout on a broad, statistical level. For instance, an insurance company might use massive amounts of data to only insure people who are unlikely to get sick. The problem is that the risk and loss that can be avoided by having the biggest computer still exist. Everyone else must pay for the risk and loss that the Siren Server can avoid.
The interesting thing about the original Homeric Sirens was that they didn’t actually attack sailors. The fatal peril was that sailors volunteered to grant the sirens control of the interaction. That’s what we’re all doing with the biggest computing schemes.
Q. As a solution to the economic problems caused by digital networks, you assert that each one of us should be paid for what we do and share online. How would that work?
A. We’ve all contributed to the fortunes of big Silicon Valley schemes, big finance schemes, and all manner of other schemes which are driven by computation over a network. But our contributions were deliberately forgotten. This is partly due to the ideology of copying without a trace that my friends and I mistakenly thought would lead to a fairer world, back in the day.
The error we made was simple: Not all computers are created equal.
What is clear is that networks could remember where the value actually came from, which is from a very broad range of people. I sketch a way that universal micropayments might solve the problem, though I am not attempting to present a utopian solution. Instead I hope to deprogram people from the “open” ideal to think about networks more broadly. I am certain that once the conversation escapes the bounds of what has become an orthodoxy, better ideas will come about.
Q. Who Owns the Future seems like two books in one. Does it seem that way to you?
A. If all I wanted was sympathy and popularity, I am sure that a critique by itself—without a proposal for a solution—would have been more effective.
It’s true that the fixes put forward in Who Owns the Future are ambitious, but they are presented within an explicitly modest wrapping. I am hoping to make the world safer for diverse ideas about the future. Our times are terribly conformist. For instance, one is either “red” or “blue,” or is accepted by the “open culture” crowd or not. I seek to bust open such orthodoxies by showing that other ideas are possible. So I present an intentionally rough sketch of an alternate future that doesn’t match up with any of the present orthodoxies.
A reality-based, compassionate world is one in which criticism is okay. I dish it out, but I also lay my tender neck out before you.
Q. You’re a musician in addition to being a computer scientist. What insight has that given you?
A. In the 1990s I was signed to a big label, but as a minor artist. I had to compete in an esoteric niche market, as an experimental classical/jazz high prestige sort of artist. That world was highly competitive and professional, and inspired an intense level of effort from me.
I assumed that losing the moneyed side of the recording business would not make all that much of a difference, but I was wrong. I no longer bother to release music. The reason is that it now feels like a vanity market. Self-promotion has become the primary activity of many of my musician friends. Yuk.
When the music is heard, it’s often in the context of automatically generated streams from some cloud service, so the listener doesn’t even know it’s you. Successful music tends to be quite conformist to some pre-existing category, because that way it fits better into the automatic streaming schemes. I miss competing in the intense NYC music scene. Who keeps you honest when the world is drowning in insincere flattery?
So here I am writing books. Hello book critics!
The British Empire was the biggest empire in all history. At its peak it governed a quarter of the world's land and people and dominated all its seas. Though little now remains of the Empire as a political power, its legacy is all around us. It laid the foundation for the global triumph of capitalism. It gave the world its common language, English. It exported both Protestantism and parliaments. And it defeated a succession of rival empires from the Habsburgs' to Hitler's. In the 21st century another English-speaking superpower seems to bestride the globe. But today's American empire was yesterday's British colony. For better and for worse, the world we now know is in large measure the product of Britain's Age of Empire. How did a rainy island in the North Atlantic manage to achieve all this? What were the special factors that enabled Britain to make the modern world - and made the modern world so British? These are the crucial questions addressed by Niall Ferguson in "Empire". This was the first age of globalization. But it was, says Ferguson, globalization with gunboats. This text shows how the British wrested power from their rivals by a combination of imitation and intimidation. It shows how mass migration from Britain turned the American and Australian continents white - and how the missionary movement sought to enlighten the "dark" continents of Africa and Asia. Above all, "Empire" explains how the British Empire rose - and why it finally fell. Ferguson's answers are controversial but compelling.
Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red and Britannia ruled not just the waves, but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brilliantly unfolds the imperial story in all its splendours and its miseries, showing how a gang of buccaneers and gold-diggers planted the seed of the biggest empire in all history - and set the world on the road to modernity.
'The most brilliant British historian of his generation ... Ferguson examines the roles of "pirates, planters, missionaries, mandarins, bankers and bankrupts" in the creation of history's largest empire ... he writes with splendid panache ... and a seemingly effortless, debonair wit' Andrew Roberts
'Dazzling ... wonderfully readable' New York Review of Books
'A remarkably readable précis of the whole British imperial story - triumphs, deceits, decencies, kindnesses, cruelties and all' Jan Morris
'Empire is a pleasure to read and brims with insights and intelligence' Sunday Times
"A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more" (Frank Bruni, New York Times), Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity.
For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.
In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide.
With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.
In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.
The diversity of our cultures and personal identities masks the fact that we are one. In this brilliant, beautiful, and sweeping book, Christakis shows how eight universal human tendencies have bound us together, and given us dominion over our planet, our lives, and our common fate. A masterful achievement that is surely the best and most original science book of the year. -Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
Nicholas Christakis is a pioneer in bridging the conceptual chasm between the choices of individual people and the shaping of an entire society. In this timely and fascinating book, he shows how the better angels of our nature, rooted in our evolutionary past, can bring forth an enlightened and compassionate civilization. -Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now
In a book of great wisdom and unusual breadth, Christakis pulls together philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, genetics, and evolutionary biology to make an extraordinarily optimistic argument: evolution has pre-wired us for goodness. At a moment when the dark history of the early twentieth century suddenly seems relevant again, it's a relief to be reminded of why so many efforts to re-engineer human society have failed -- and of why the better side of human nature often triumphs in the end. -Anne Applebaum, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning Gulag: A History
In this wisely optimistic book, Christakis explores the evolutionary imperative of forming bonds that are both cultural and genetic. His writing is colorful, personal, and often exuberant. -Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
Christakis brings to general readers his most famous theory: the genetic profile of both humans and animals dictates the types of societies that they create. Using a plethora of accessible examples that range from the social behavior of dolphins and chimpanzees to the tenets that link human behavior in a myriad of settings, from reality shows to arranged marriages, along with a generous look into the author's own past, Christakis reminds us that leadership, friendship, and group tendencies are all rooted in the most fundamental mechanism of our biological sorting: natural selection. A must-read for anyone interested in how we find ourselves wholly divided into political, religious, and workplace silos, and where these separations may lead us. -Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl
A remarkable achievement! Christakis explains, in the most lucid and accessible way imaginable, how our genetic and cultural heritages are deeply intertwined. The story of human nature is no fairy tale, but it nevertheless reveals our potential, and our proclivity, for good. -Angela Duckworth, author of Grit
In this brilliant and humane book, Christakis defends an optimistic view of humanity. Human nature is not solitary and brutish -- we are social beings, capable of intimate ties and great kindness, blessed with extraordinary potential. Blueprint is clear, persuasive, and vitally important. -Paul Bloom, author of Against Empathy
Christakis has found that all human cultures converge on a consistent style of social network, and in Blueprint he explores the reasons why. The answer, he boldly argues, lies in our genes. Digging widely, Christakis shows that a gene-based account does not have to challenge the impact of culture, nor does it commit the analysis to reductionism or determinism. Blueprint stakes a powerful claim for a richer incorporation of biology into the social sciences. -Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire
With Blueprint, a thoughtful discourse on our genetic disposition toward community, Nicholas Christakis offers a compelling argument, replete with engaging stories, against the reductive notions of so many late-stage capitalists and libertarians. We are wired for a society, for cooperation, for engagement, for collective action. Darwin still applies: the survival of the fittest may mean the survival of those among us who can see beyond themselves and work with others doing the same. And therein lies some real cause for optimism. -David Simon, writer and producer of The Wire and The Deuce
In Blueprint, Christakis shows that goodness has a biological purpose. More than an ideal pushed upon us by moral and religious leaders, goodness is a survival tactic demanded by our very genes. Christakis's argument about our common humanity, made in such a powerful and vivid fashion, is an important one for these unstable times. He shows that kindness and love are not merely things we can do -- but things we must do. -Brandon Stanton, founder of Humans of New York
Tribalism is all around us, but it does not have to be. After all, we are all human. In lively and engaging prose, Christakis shows what is possible, and what we must do. -Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Google
Mixing brilliant insights with vivid and memorable storytelling, Blueprint is both deeply scholarly and, at the same time, a genuine pleasure read. -Greg Lukianoff, author of The Coddling of the American Mind
Come for the gripping stories about shipwrecks, communes, and Antarctic outposts. Stay for the sociology of networks. As social connectivity and the pace of change both increase in the 21st century, Christakis is the essential guide, and this is the essential book. A joy to read, and a warning about the challenges of creating new societies and institutions within which real human beings can flourish. -Jonathan Haidt, coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind
A magnificent achievement. If you think you understand human nature, think again; Christakis will open your eyes and make you gasp. A special bonus: His book is inspiring and deeply optimistic. The perfect book for our time. -Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge
As an historian, I probably tend to overemphasize the darker side of human nature -- our remarkable capacity as a species for generating war and revolution, manias, and panics. As a physician and a social scientist, Christakis is here to tell me to lighten up. 'There is more that unites us than divides us,' he argues in this deeply erudite and engaging book, 'and society is basically good.' If, like me, you respond to that claim with skepticism, you have a treat in store. Christakis will change your view of the naked ape. -Niall Ferguson, author of The Square and the Tower
We live in a time rife with 'us' versus 'them' divisions based on class, religion, ethnicity, and politics. But in this majestic, important, and enjoyable book, Christakis rightfully reminds us that we also evolved to live together, cooperate, and thrive in complex, diverse social groups. Now more than ever we need to understand and tap into these deep and fundamental adaptations that help us live and work side by side, value each other, and pursue common cause. -Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body
In the media and online, we live with a daily barrage of the things that divide us -- the differences among individuals, groups, and whole societies seem to define the ways we interact with one another. With a broad sweep of history and a deep knowledge of genetics and social science, Christakis takes us along a different path, one that is as important as it is timely. Whether in hunter-gatherer societies, small bands of people brought together by chance, or Silicon Valley corporations, our societies are linked by the common bonds of humanity. In Blueprint, Christakis shows how we are much more than divisiveness and division; we are programmed to build and thrive in societies based on cooperation, learning, and love. -Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
Christakis takes us on a spellbinding tour of how evolution brings people together, setting the stage for our modern world where online networks connect people in new and unprecedented ways. Our genes don't work in isolation; rather they equip our species with the capacity to join together and make great things. This powerful and fascinating book shows the fundamental good that lies within us, that connects us, and that helps us cooperate beyond the survival of the fittest. -Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz
In this provocative book, Christakis makes a thorough and compelling case that we are hardwired to value goodness in our societies -- and thus innately compelled to participate in building, strengthening, and enhancing the common good. In an era marked by polarization and rising inequality, Christakis marshals science and history into a message of hope. -Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab
Blueprint is a brilliant and provocative tour de force that could not be more timely. I don't think I've learned this much from a book in a long time. Christakis is the rare author who can combine rigor and erudition with page-turning readability. Filled with fascinating studies, including experiments from his own lab, Blueprint ultimately offers reason for hope grounded in science for our difficult times. -Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
In an era when borders close and the perceived differences among us drive the public narrative, Christakis travels across societies and continents to remind us that we share much more than what keeps us apart. Blueprint unveils the communities and the social networks that define our successes and failures, and it celebrates the universality of human experience. A powerful and gripping book. -Albert-László Barabási, author of The Formula
At a time when it seems that nothing can unite us, Christakis cuts through our divisions to reveal a rich and poignant look at our shared human nature. Christakis's trademark passion and broad scholarship are full-throttle as he lays out the ancient recipe for our shared humanity. Compelling, absorbing, and chock-full of delightful examples of what humans can do when they band together, Blueprint is a must-read. -Coren Apicella, University of Pennsylvania
A blueprint for constructing a good society arrives when we most need it. Christakis has outrageous optimism, rooted firmly in biological and social science, that we will prevail. With a voice that is joyous and uplifting, he teaches us about the core of our nature -- this obligatory patterning of ourselves into units called society, with the building blocks being love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. What an enlightened house this blueprint will build if we, the occupants, heed his message about the possibilities that lie within us. -Mahzarin R. Banaji, author of Blindspot
One of the world's leading social scientists is on the hunt for the biological bounds of human culture, for what we are capable of as a species, and for society's generic tendencies. In this eloquent, wide-ranging book Christakis finds what turns out to be the good news about what it means to be human. -Gary King, Harvard University
Blueprint is a timely, powerful, and riveting demonstration of the inherent suite of sensibilities that drive our social life and cultural evolution. An authoritative integration of the social and evolutionary sciences, this engrossing work's great achievement is to definitively shift the focus of social inquiry from what differentiates us to our common humanity, and to show that, while we may be primed for conflict, we are also hard wired for love, friendship, and cooperation, inviting us, should we choose, toward a humane society. -Orlando Patterson, author of The Cultural Matrix
Blueprint is highly original and engrossing. Christakis is a fluent and lucid writer with an arresting personal voice. At the heart of the book is what he describes as 'the social suite' -- a set of cultural universals that constitute the core and the blueprint of all societies. Integral to the universality of the social suite is his contention that these key features of all human societies are shaped by natural selection and encoded in our genes. Christakis calls into question a false dichotomy between cultural and genetic evolution. Rather, he regards the two as co-existing in ways that recurrently intersect and influence one another. He shows that the similarities that exist between the social attributes of human and animal societies bind humans together in a way that heightens our common humanity. Blueprint is a richly interdisciplinary, deeply documented, brilliant opus on how our long evolutionary history bends toward a good society. -Renée C. Fox, University of Pennsylvania
Blueprint is an exciting volume that constitutes a major scientific contribution of broad interest. It is a fascinating account of how genes and culture interact and how this knowledge provides the foundations for establishing a Good Society. -Ernst Fehr, University of Zurich
Blueprint is an extraordinarily readable and entertaining book that is also one of the most profound among recently published books on evolution. It brings to bear a long history of research to show that cooperation and pro-social traits of humans are genetically based and are the result of evolution by natural selection. By doing this, Christakis corrects one the most frequent misperceptions about biological evolution, namely that inter-individual competition is a law of nature. I only wish this book would have been published decades earlier. -Gunter Wagner, Yale University
Nicholas Christakis zooms out, Yuval Noah Harari style, to look at how evolution shapes civilizations. Remarkably broad, deep, and provocative. -Adam Grant, author of Originals
As he explores human nature and its possibilities, the author touches on all sorts of fascinating anthropological matters, such as the evolution of monogamy and the relative friendliness of affluent vs. working-class people. A refreshingly optimistic view of our kind. -Kirkus Reviews
Now a #1 New York Times Bestseller.
Human beings have never had it better than we have it now in the West. So why are we on the verge of throwing it all away?
In 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of California–Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required to protect his speech. What was so frightening about Shapiro? He came to argue that Western civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas; that we have let grievances replace our sense of community and political expediency limit our individual rights; that we are teaching our kids that their emotions matter more than rational debate; and that the only meaning in life is arbitrary and subjective.
As a society, we are forgetting that almost everything great that has ever happened in history happened because of people who believed in both Judeo-Christian values and in the Greek-born power of reason. In The Right Side of History, Shapiro sprints through more than 3,500 years, dozens of philosophers, and the thicket of modern politics to show how our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason capable of exploring God’s world.
We can thank these values for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty, and gave billions more spiritual purpose. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty, and gave billions more spiritual purpose.
Yet we are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, scientific materialism, progressive politics, authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity.
The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains how we have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives each of us to be better, the sacred duty to work together for the greater good,.
“As an ideological refresher on what the West got right, Shapiro’s book gets the job done.” (The Washington Post)
Shapiro cavorts through 3,000 years of intellectual history in the span of about 250 pages, offering a perspicuous, “user-friendly” dive into some of our civilization’s biggest ideas. (The Washington Examiner)
“Ben Shapiro knows the power of his voice. He stands up and fights for what he believes with time-tested ideas. The Right Side of History is thoughtful and well-reasoned - exactly what Shapiro’s critics don’t want you to hear.” (Nikki Haley, former premanent representative of the U.S. Mission of the United Nations)
From the Back Cover
Human beings have never had it better than we have it now in the West. So why are we on the verge of throwing it all away?
In 2016, the New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro spoke at the University of California–Berkeley. Hundreds of police officers were required to protect his speech. What was so frightening about Shapiro? He came to argue that Western civilization is in the midst of a crisis of purpose and ideas; that we have let grievances replace our sense of community, and political expediency limit our individual rights; that we are teaching our kids that their emotions matter more than rational debate; and that the only meaning in life is arbitrary and subjective.
As a society, we are forgetting that almost everything great that has ever happened in history happened because of people who believed in both Judeo-Christian values and in the Greek-born power of reason. In The Right Side of History, Shapiro sprints through more than 3,500 years, dozens of philosophers, and the thicket of modern politics to show how our freedoms are built upon the twin notions that every human being is made in God’s image and that human beings were created with reason that is capable of exploring God’s world.
We have these values to thank for the birth of science, the dream of progress, human rights, prosperity, peace, and artistic beauty. Jerusalem and Athens built America, ended slavery, defeated the Nazis and the Communists, lifted billions from poverty, and gave billions more spiritual purpose.
Yet we are in the process of abandoning Judeo-Christian values and Greek natural law, watching our civilization collapse into age-old tribalism, individualistic hedonism, and moral subjectivism. We believe we can satisfy ourselves with intersectionality, scientific materialism, progressive politics, authoritarian governance, or nationalistic solidarity.
The West is special, and in The Right Side of History, Ben Shapiro bravely explains how we have lost sight of the moral purpose that drives each of us to be better and the sacred duty to work together for the greater good.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times
In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
With a new Afterword by the author
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”—Financial Times
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”—The New York Times Book Review
Q&A with Charles Duhigg
Q. What sparked your interest in habits?
A. I first became interested in the science of habits eight years ago, as a newspaper reporter in Baghdad, when I heard about an army major conducting an experiment in a small town named Kufa. The major had analyzed videotapes of riots and had found that violence was often preceded by a crowd of Iraqis gathering in a plaza and, over the course of hours, growing in size. Food vendors would show up, as well as spectators. Then, someone would throw a rock or a bottle.
When the major met with Kufa’s mayor, he made an odd request: Could they keep food vendors out of the plazas? Sure, the mayor said. A few weeks later, a small crowd gathered near the Great Mosque of Kufa. It grew in size. Some people started chanting angry slogans. At dusk, the crowd started getting restless and hungry. People looked for the kebab sellers normally filling the plaza, but there were none to be found. The spectators left. The chanters became dispirited. By 8 p.m., everyone was gone.
I asked the major how he had figured out that removing food vendors would change peoples' behavior.
The U.S. military, he told me, is one of the biggest habit-formation experiments in history. “Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army,” he said. By the time I got back to the U.S., I was hooked on the topic.
Q. How have your own habits changed as a result of writing this book?
A. Since starting work on this book, I've lost about 30 pounds, I run every other morning (I'm training for the NY Marathon later this year), and I'm much more productive. And the reason why is because I've learned to diagnose my habits, and how to change them.
Take, for instance, a bad habit I had of eating a cookie every afternoon. By learning how to analyze my habit, I figured out that the reason I walked to the cafeteria each day wasn't because I was craving a chocolate chip cookie. It was because I was craving socialization, the company of talking to my colleagues while munching. That was the habit's real reward. And the cue for my behavior - the trigger that caused me to automatically stand up and wander to the cafeteria, was a certain time of day.
So, I reconstructed the habit: now, at about 3:30 each day, I absentmindedly stand up from my desk, look around for someone to talk with, and then gossip for about 10 minutes. I don't even think about it at this point. It's automatic. It's a habit. I haven't had a cookie in six months.
Q. What was the most surprising use of habits that you uncovered?
A. The most surprising thing I've learned is how companies use the science of habit formation to study - and influence - what we buy.
Take, for example, Target, the giant retailer. Target collects all kinds of data on every shopper it can, including whether you’re married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how much money you earn, if you've moved recently, the websites you visit. And with that information, it tries to diagnose each consumer’s unique, individual habits.
Why? Because Target knows that there are these certain moments when our habits become flexible. When we buy a new house, for instance, or get married or have a baby, our shopping habits are in flux. A well-timed coupon or advertisement can convince us to buy in a whole new way. But figuring out when someone is buying a house or getting married or having a baby is tough. And if you send the advertisement after the wedding or the baby arrives, it’s usually too late.
So Target studies our habits to see if they can predict major life events. And the company is very, very successful. Oftentimes, they know what is going on in someone's life better than that person's parents.
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”—Financial Times
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Cue: see cover. Routine: read book. Reward: fully comprehend the art of manipulation.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“A fresh examination of how routine behaviors take hold and whether they are susceptible to change . . . The stories that Duhigg has knitted together are all fascinating in their own right, but take on an added dimension when wedded to his examination of habits.”— Associated Press
“There’s been a lot of research over the past several years about how our habits shape us, and this work is beautifully described in the new book The Power of Habit.”—David Brooks, The New York Times
“A first-rate book—based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits.”—The Economist
“I have been spinning like a top since reading The Power of Habit, New York Times journalist Charles Duhigg’s fascinating best-seller about how people, businesses and organizations develop the positive routines that make them productive—and happy.”—The Washington Post
“An absolutely fascinating . . . book [that explores] a startling and sometimes dismaying collision between the increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of habits—how they’re formed, how they can be disrupted and changed—and, among other things, companies’ efforts to use that knowledge to steer your habits and money their way.”—Wired
“If Duhigg is right about the nature of habits, which I think he is, then trying to get rid of these bad habits won’t work. Instead, what is needed is to teach the managers to identify the cues that lead to these bad habits and rewards, and then learn alternative routines that lead to similar rewards, i.e. business and personal success.”—Forbes
“The Power of Habit is chock-full of fascinating anecdotes . . . how an early twentieth century adman turned Pepsodent into the first bestselling toothpaste by creating the habit of brushing daily, how a team of marketing mavens at Procter & Gamble rescued Febreze from the scrapheap of failed products by recognizing that a fresh smell was a fine reward for a cleaning task, how Michael Phelps’ coach instilled habits that made him an Olympic champion many times over, and how Tony Dungy turned the Indianapolis Colts into a Super Bowl–winning team.”—Los Angeles Times
Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.
We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defense.
Praise for The Laws of Human Nature:
“The writing is engaging and the ideas are fascinating… we could all use the insights Greene provides.... a hopeful book that advocates freedom and creativity.” -- Quartz
"The lessons have profound implications. There's a chapter on reading body language that is absolutely profound; each "law" has stunningly vivid descriptions of an historical figure.” -- Inc.
“The Laws of Human Nature provides some first-rate comprehensive and in-depth information about how to deal with our fellow human beings effectively. Greene’s intense curiosity about the inner workings of humanity is contagious, as he invites us to join him as fellow sleuths on his investigation of why people, including ourselves, do what we do. He rightly (and frequently) reminds us that in order to understand others, we must first and foremost understand what makes ourselves tick.” -- New York Journal of Books
"In this detailed and expansive guide, Greene (Mastery) seeks to … transform the reader into a 'calmer and more strategic observer,' immune to 'emotional drama.' Those are lofty promises, but even skeptics will become believers after diving into Greene’s well-organized text. Overcoming the “law of irrationality,” for instance, leads to the ability to “open your mind to what is really happening, as opposed to what you are feeling.” Greene’s thoughtful examination of self and society will, for the committed reader, deliver a refreshing and revitalizing perspective." -- Publishers Weekly
Praise for Robert Greene:
"Greene's specialty is analyzing the lives and philosophies of historical figures like Sun Tzu and Napoleon, and extracting from them tips on how to manipulate people and situations--a cutthroat worldview that has earned him a devoted following among a like-minded readership of rappers, drug dealers and corporate executives." —The New York Times
Praise for The 48 Laws of Power:
"Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun Tzu had better watch his back. Greene . . . has put together a checklist of ambitious behavior. Just reading the table of contents is enough to stir a little corner-office lust."—New York magazine
"Beguiling . . . literate . . . fascinating. A wry primer for people who desperately want to be on top."—People
"An heir to Machiavelli's Prince . . . gentler souls will find this book frightening, those whose moral compass is oriented solely to power will have a perfect vade mecum." —Publishers Weekly
"Satisfyingly dense and . . . literary, with fantastic examples of genius power-game players. It's The Rules meets In Pursuit of Wow! with a degree in comparative literature."—Allure
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.
An Amazon Best Book of February 2017: Those who read and loved Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens have been eagerly anticipating his new book Homo Deus. While Sapiens looked back at our evolutionary development, this new book examines where we might be headed (Homo Deus is subtitled “A Brief History of Tomorrow”). Predicting the future isn’t as easy as deconstructing the past, and Harari openly admits the challenge—but even if he’s completely wrong in his predictions, and most of us doubt he is, Homo Deus is the kind of provocative, food-for-thought read that drew so many of us to his work in the first place. According to Harari, our future could be very different from our present—dark, technocratic, and automated—but reading about our possible fates, presented in Harari’s clear-eyed and illuminating style, sure is fascinating. --Chris Schluep, The Amazon Book Review
“Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before.” (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, and Slow)
“Thrilling to watch such a talented author trample so freely across so many disciplines... Harari’s skill lies in the way he tilts the prism in all these fields and looks at the world in different ways, providing fresh angles on what we thought we knew... scintillating.” (Financial Times)
“Spellbinding… This is a very intelligent book, full of sharp insights and mordant wit... It is a quirky and cool book, with a sliver of ice at its heart... It is hard to imagine anyone could read this book without getting an occasional, vertiginous thrill.” (Guardian)
“Harari is an intellectual magpie who has plucked theories and data from many disciplines - including philosophy, theology, computer science and biology - to produce a brilliantly original, thought-provoking and important study of where mankind is heading.” (Evening Standard (London))
“I enjoyed reading about these topics not from another futurist but from a historian, contextualizing our current ways of thinking amid humanity’s long march–especially…with Harari’s ability to capsulize big ideas memorably and mingle them with a light, dry humor…Harari offers not just history lessons but a meta-history lesson.” (Washington Post)
“What elevates Harari above many chroniclers of our age is his exceptional clarity and focus.” (London Sunday Times)
“A remarkable book, full of insights and thoughtful reinterpretations of what we thought we knew about ourselves and our history.” (The Guardian)
“Provocative...the handiwork of a gifted thinker.” (Jennifer Senior, New York Times)
“[A] great book…not only alters the way you see the world after you’ve read it, it also casts the past in a different light. In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari shows us where mankind is headed in an absolutely clear-sighted & accessible manner.” (Mail on Sunday)
“Like all great epics, Sapiens demanded a sequel. Homo Deus, in which that likely apocalyptic future is imagined in spooling detail, is that book. It is a highly seductive scenario planner for the numerous ways in which we might overreach ourselves.” (The Observer (London))