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. Why this is so and
what we should do about it is the subject of this book.
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
Still, studies show that 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. Download and start listening now!