Reader’s Guide: Annotated Suggestions for Further Learning

Basics: Betterment Over Time

Norberg, Johan. 2016. Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future. London: Oneworld Publications.

  • Readers seeking a quick, informative read on the issues in my book should start with Norberg’s cheerful take on the state of the world and its future prospects. Norberg, a think-tank scholar and free-market advocate, features chapters on “food, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the environment, literacy, freedom, equality, [and] the conditions of childhood” (as reported by Kirkus Reviews). His outline inspired mine, although it’s hard to see how any book on this topic could be organized very differently, and Steven Pinker’s outline (see below) is similar.

Ridley, Matt. 2010. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. New York: HarperCollins.

  • The book that started me on this journey (Wattenberg’s earlier work on population aside). Drawing on economics, history, political philosophy, and many branches of science, the polymathic science writer and member of the House of Lords presents a powerful case that the future will be better than the present, just as the present time is dramatically wealthier, healthier, safer, more fun, and more peaceful than at any time in history. He credits freedom, and in particular capitalism, for this Great Enrichment.

Rosling, Hans, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling. 2018. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and ...

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