If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking intochaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, morepeaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress.
The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. Butthe way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved otherproblems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitablycome with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.