Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review: The Better Angels of our Nature

Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has declined is a really good example of why I try to read non-fiction on a regular basis. The thesis of the book is simply that as a species, humans are less violent now than we were in the past, regardless of what the news, politicians, or anyone else says.

The book, although a little dry and hovering at just over 700 pages, works to prove that historically, we had a much higher tolerance for violence than we do now, and that if you take into account the percentage of an effected population rather than the simple number of people killed, people are killing each other a lot less now than they did in the past.

This doesn't mean that no one is killing anyone else, or that all violence is going to disappear sometime soon, it simply means that on a societal level, we aren't being as violent as we used to be.

The book is definitely one that opens up conversation, and the reviews all seem to either love it or hate it, but for me it was an interesting look at our history of violence towards each other, with an optimistic look to the future (Pinker does not suggest a perfect future, but a much more tolerant one).

A Fascinating Read.

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