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Paperback The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse Book

ISBN: 0812973038

ISBN13: 9780812973037

The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse

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Book Overview

In The Progress Paradox , Gregg Easterbrook draws upon three decades of wide-ranging research and thinking to make the persuasive assertion that almost all aspects of Western life have vastly improved in the past century-and yet today, most men and women feel less happy than in previous generations. Detailing the emerging science of "positive psychology," which seeks to understand what causes a person's sense of well-being, Easterbrook offers an alternative...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Depends on which half of the book

Some revealing points documented with statistics. I find it interesting how seldom the proven points Easterbrook makes have been reported in our principle news sources. From ABC, CBS or NBC news and talk programs, we take away the distinct impression everything is "going to the dogs". Easterbrook offers solid arguments against this mindset. Newscasters can easily report from a biased view by omitting facts like Gregg reveals in the Progress Paradox. So, their stories often degenerate into propaganda. Such conduct was forbidden to news writers in previous years. That's no longer the case. One must now be on guard & question virtually every story lest we be misled. Having been a professional newscaster, I am struck and aghast at the mode of news delivery in 2006 versus our accepted code up through the 1970's. At that time, we reported all the pertinent facts and let listeners make up their own minds. I highly recommend the first half of Progress Paradox. However, the cures Easterbrook proposes in the last half sound a bit unrealistic. A big 5 stars for the first half - interesting reading. Maybe 2 for the last half.

Makes you feel better w/out letting you off the hook

A good book, especially for the many folks who are feel like things are going down the toilet and yearn for some idealized notion of "the good old days." Easterbrook correctly points out that the majority of Americans, Western Europeans (and a lot of others on the globe) are living better than 99% of all the people who ever lived. And he has the facts to back this up. But our culture, politicians, special interests, and (often) our own psyches constantly try and convince us otherwise. This is not to say Easterbrook does not feel humanity could -- and should -- do a better job looking after ourselves and the planet. But he puts things in proper perspective and makes you realize how often we are manipulated to feel things are worse than they are. My only complaint is the last bit trying to put September 11 and fundamentalism in perspective feels a bit last minute (although undoubtedly someone else would have been critical if he had not addressed these points).

inspiring and upbeat!

I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it highly. It is very well-written and presents a wide range of complex material in a very understandable format. Almost all the major indicators of social and economic life in the West are improving, yet depression is up and many feel a loss of meaning in life. The book has a spirituality dimension, but it also a policy book. Great reading!

A book every American should own...

Gregg Easterbrook sets a record within the first 40 or 50 pages by smashing virtually every urban legend of the "everything is getting worse" crowd that saturates our culture. His unbridaled sense of optimism is contagious, and the sheer magnitiude of our current health, peace and prosperity that he chronicles is stunning. His work is a lifeboat for anyone drowning in the sea of doom-and-gloom ink that radiates from every so called expert in our society. Just the first 50 pages alone are worth four stars! Yet Easterbrook goes farther to examine why after all our successes, we still cling to fears of any and everything. He offers a handful of theories that probably combine in one way or another to explain our constant anxiety and inability to see the good in our lives, and how on some level this may be a good thing (what an optimist!)This book doesn't have any political bent to it, but I imagine it really irritates anyone with that typical knee-jerk hatred of the United States, especially to see the incredible successes of this country in the last generation.

Optimism is a justifiable world view

This is the perfect book for that Scrooge or Pollyanna on your holiday present list! Mr. Easterbrook presents a thoughtful, reasoned assessment of the current quality-of-life in the United States and Europe and sets it in a global context. He details improved purchasing power, declining crime rates, increasing longevity and cleaning of the environment. Poverty, murder, pollution all seemingly unsolvable have begun to yield to pragmatic approaches. The message I found most useful and hopeful was that our current set of seemingly intractable problems, i.e. the greenhouse effect, terrorism, should not defeat us but rational efforts with honest reassessments may bring results. We can rejoice that our glass is half-full!!
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