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Life at № 42

Enlightenment Now by Pinker via Bill Gates

Five interesting facts Gates liked from the book: 

  • You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  • Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014. This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  • You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  • 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.
  • War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Source: My new favorite book of all time | Bill Gates

Can’t wait to get my hands on this book! We have indeed made much progress – but there’s still a very long way to go.

 

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12 comments on “Enlightenment Now by Pinker via Bill Gates

  1. coteetcampagne
    February 5, 2018

    Too right P ( I feel brief and colloquial today)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Ruis
    February 5, 2018

    Like Pinker, a lot, both as a thinker and as a writer. Gates, not so much. Pinker’s books (I have read all of them) are always worth the read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 5, 2018

      Agreed! Gates is part of the problem pretending he’s part of the solution. Makes one think of Plato explaining how aristocracy used charity to create the myth of their virtuosity.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. inspiredbythedivine1
    February 5, 2018

    I like Pinker. mainly because of his awesome, kick-ass hair, but also because of what he has to say.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Henry
    February 5, 2018

    Love this! Better Angels is one of the books that has shaped how I look at the world, and it ultimately does that by paring everything back to a graph of Homicides vs Time. But now Pinker’s branching out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. foolsmusings
    February 5, 2018

    It definitely looks worth a read.

    Like

  6. Kris Jennings
    February 6, 2018

    Enlightenment = boys who do their own laundry (0 hours a week). I should write a book.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dr Martina Feyzrakhmanova
    February 6, 2018

    Hmm, war is illegal, but then it always has been. The concept of countries and borders really doesn’t gel with much of this modern ideology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 6, 2018

      True. I think he means more that there were no systems in place to dissuade people from war or war crimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2018 by in activism and tagged , , .
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