Newspaper headlines are an endless stream of violence, destruction, and looming threats. But Harvard professor and leading cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker says that we’re actually living longer, healthier, and happier lives than ever before. In his much-anticipated book Enlightenment Now (already named one of The Guardian’s best of 2018 and declared by Bill Gates to be his new favorite), he explains how now, more than ever, we must commit to Enlightenment values—reason, science, and humanism.
Enlightenment Now (out today!) is the natural follow-up to Pinker’s New York Times bestseller The Better Angels of Our Nature, a fascinating analysis of why violence is declining that Bill Gates called “the most inspiring book I’ve ever read.” Picking up where the previous book left off, Enlightenment Now urges us to step back from the gory headlines, which play into our psychological biases, and instead, look at the data. Health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human progress.
Pinker’s bold new keynote, based on the book, develops these ideas further, offering insights into why our headlines would present a reality so different from what the data shows. He proves to audiences that the most valuable tenets of the Enlightenment are what will shake complacency, repair our democracy, and restore hope in 2018, all with his trademark wit, optimism and clarity.