The cover of Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

by Steven Pinker

I picked this up because of Bill Gates’ glowing review.

The first quarter of the book builds up a very thorough arsenal of data to demonstrate that despite common attitudes, the world has been getting better and better since the enlightenment. I have some major problems with the “today is the best day that has ever passed” arguments, but it’s nice to know that there are some good trends going on.

I found everything after page 100 a total bore. Pinker spends the last half of the book on humanism and other philosophical realms, making an impassioned — but pretty basic — case for optimism. I can only take so much glad-handing before I need a reality check from continental existentialist.