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

Extended Audio Sample The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse Audiobook, by Gregg Easterbrook Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (383 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gregg Easterbrook Narrator: Jonathan Marosz Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2003 ISBN: 9781415901335
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In The Progress Paradox, Gregg Easterbrook draws upon three decades of wide-ranging research to make the persuasive assertion that almost all aspects of Western life have vastly improved in the past century, and yet, most men and women today feel less happy than in previous generations.

Between contemporary emphasis on grievances and the fears engendered by 9/11, today it is common to hear it said that life has started downhill, or that our parents had it better. But objectively, almost everyone in today’s United States or European Union lives better than his or her parents did.

Still, studies show the percentage of the population that is happy has not increased in fifty years, while depression and stress have become ever more prevalent. The Progress Paradox explores why ever-higher living standards don’t seem to make us any happier. Detailing the emerging science of “positive psychology,” which seeks to understand what causes a person’s sense of well-being, Easterbrook offers an alternative to our culture of crisis and complaint. He makes a compelling case that optimism, gratitude, and acts of forgiveness not only make modern life more fulfilling but are actually in our self-interest.

Seemingly insoluble problems of the past, such as crime in New York City and smog in Los Angeles, have proved more tractable than they were thought to be. Likewise, today’s “impossible” problems, such as global warming and Islamic terrorism, can be tackled, too.

Like The Tipping Point, this book offers an affirming and constructive way of seeing the world anew. The Progress Paradox will change the way you think about your place in the world and about our collective ability to make it better.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don Shuler | 2/8/2014

    " This book takes a serious look at questions of what we mean by progress and how we might measure progress if and when we saw it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chad | 2/4/2014

    " Easterbrook writes well, but I loved this book because it lays out in astonishing detail how much better life is now than it was 100 years ago. I'm still going to bitch about my life though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christian | 2/3/2014

    " I like his Tuesday Morning Quartback column, but he is an economist, so I should have figured this was going to be an entire book of statistics. Oh well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gloriavirtutisumbra | 2/2/2014

    " Has a really good message, lots of fantastic points and facts. Really great way of putting perspective on many things in our culture and what they really mean. But by the end of the book its very apparent the author as some real issues about/against SUVs, which i found distracting from book as a whole. And parts of the later half of the book are not as unbiased as the beginning, which was a little disappointing. I would have been much happier with the book if he had continued skewering both ends of the spectrum as he does in the beginning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 2/2/2014

    " Very interesting read like all Easterbrook books. The Progress Paradox explores the belief that as our lives get better we actually think they get worse. I recomend this book to anyone that doesn't mind thinking. For you Harry Potter fans - this is not for you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taylor Moore | 1/25/2014

    " I learned a lot from this book. I read it in my college English class and it was paired with the book Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic. While the Affluenza booked detailed how consuming rates were going up, The Progress Paradox tells how everything's getting better, yet people feel worse. This book was definitely a good read, even for non-fiction, and makes you think about your own consumer habits, such as: Do you really want it? or are you just trying to fill a void like other people? I definitely recommend this book, especially to people who live (or thrive) in capitalistic economies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Taylor | 1/23/2014

    " Made a bunch of great points and does help you to look at the world around you in a more positive light, but in the end tries to make a purely secular argument for the meaning of life that fell a little flat. Interesting, but not essential. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KristenR | 1/19/2014

    " A bit heavy on the statitstics and I remember the last chapter being a little on the sanctimonious side, but a very interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kupie | 1/15/2014

    " Everyone should read this book. The first few chapters annoyed me to the extent that I had to keep putting the book down. But the author is not advocating that things are good enough. They are better than ever, but not good enough to stop progressing. It's optimistic and refreshing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Blewitzky | 12/29/2013

    " Detailed analysis showing how so much has improved, particulalry in the west, over the last 100 years or so: poverty, racism. healthcare, environment, etc. Asks why, by many measures, we are no happier. Indictment of a materialistic culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Musing | 12/26/2013

    " This book makes you re-think everything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara Cerrone | 12/18/2013

    " Some very heavy statistics regarding global warming, traffic, population, waste, and many other global issues. Interesting to see this author is definitely opinionated and think we are ok, so I am going with that. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johnsergeant | 12/6/2013

    " This was published in 2003. While the major themes are still relevant and timeless, a bit of the commentary felt very out of date. It would be good to have an update reflecting on the 2008 financial crisis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 11/27/2013

    " Very insightful and detailed. Gets a little tedious, but worth it to have the facts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jared | 11/21/2013

    " It is human nature to believe that people from past generations had it easier. Whether that is true is up for interpretation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin Beck | 8/16/2013

    " Crime is down - incomes are up - so why is everybody on anti-depressants? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 5/2/2013

    " I love this book. Much of my worldview right here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 2/21/2013

    " Factoid filled. In general I agreed with his assertions. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan | 3/7/2012

    " "The percentage of the population that is happy has not increased in fifty years, while depression and stress have become ever more prevalent. The Progress Paradox explores why ever-higher living standards don't seem to make us any happier." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ivan Raszl | 4/12/2010

    " Great book but a little tiring to read at certain times. Too much data. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Breezy | 12/3/2009

    " Haven't read a book this baseless in ages. Abandoned after 30 pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 10/2/2009

    " A rare bit of pop sociology that is as interesting in proscriptive conclusions as it is in its presentation of novel findings. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 7/7/2009

    " Very insightful and detailed. Gets a little tedious, but worth it to have the facts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/14/2009

    " A little healthy perspective was never bad for you. This book definitely provides it for you. In some ways, no matter how bad things get for us in our day and age, we never really "suffer." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 10/19/2008

    " This book takes a serious look at questions of what we mean by progress and how we might measure progress if and when we saw it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Musing | 10/17/2008

    " This book makes you re-think everything. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Blewitzky | 9/25/2008

    " Detailed analysis showing how so much has improved, particulalry in the west, over the last 100 years or so: poverty, racism. healthcare, environment, etc. Asks why, by many measures, we are no happier. Indictment of a materialistic culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 7/29/2008

    " A rare bit of pop sociology that is as interesting in proscriptive conclusions as it is in its presentation of novel findings. "

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About the Author

Gregg Easterbrook is a senior editor of The New Republic, a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly, a visiting fellow in economics at the Brookings Institution, and a columnist for ESPN.com. He is the author of six books, including A Moment on the Earth, a New York Times and American Library Association Notable Book. He has also been a contributing editor at Newsweek and an editor of The Washington Monthly. He lives in Maryland.

About the Narrator

Jonathan Marosz has narrated dozens of audiobooks throughout his career, including numerous titles by bestselling authors David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, and Tony Hillerman.