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New and great book by Steven Pinker reminds us that Technology is not destroying our Minds (but there’s always more Enlightened ways to harness it)

5 signs the world’s improv­ing, accord­ing to Bill Gates’s new favorite book ever (Mar­ket Watch):

Bill Gates has long been a huge fan of Har­vard psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker and his book, “The Bet­ter Angels of Our Nature: Why Vio­lence Has Declined.” In fact, last year the Microsoft founder hailed it as the most inspir­ing book he has ever read, and he urged col­lege grads to read it.

Well, Pinker appar­ent­ly has man­aged to top him­self with his new book, “Enlight­en­ment Now,” which is “like ‘Bet­ter Angels’ on steroids,” accord­ing to Gates … As a taster of what to expect, here are five facts that Gates list­ed as his favorite from the book

4. The glob­al aver­age IQ score is ris­ing by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are devel­op­ing more ful­ly thanks to improved nutri­tion and a clean­er envi­ron­ment. Pinker also cred­its more ana­lyt­i­cal think­ing in and out of the class­room. Think about how many sym­bols you inter­pret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a sub­way map. Our world today encour­ages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s mak­ing us smarter.”

The Book

Enlight­en­ment Now: The Case for Rea­son, Sci­ence, Human­ism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker

  • Descrip­tion: Is the world real­ly falling apart? Is the ide­al of progress obso­lete? In this ele­gant assess­ment of the human con­di­tion in the third mil­len­ni­um, cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist and pub­lic intel­lec­tu­al Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory head­lines and prophe­cies of doom, which play to our psy­cho­log­i­cal bias­es. Instead, fol­low the data: In sev­en­ty-five jaw-drop­ping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, pros­per­i­ty, safe­ty, peace, knowl­edge, and hap­pi­ness are on the rise, not just in the West, but world­wide. This progress is not the result of some cos­mic force. It is a gift of the Enlight­en­ment: the con­vic­tion that rea­son and sci­ence can enhance human flour­ish­ing.

The Book in Context

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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