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What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's…
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What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are… (udgave 2007)

af John Brockman (Redaktør)

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241483,935 (3.77)8
Spanning a wide range of topics--from string theory to education, from population growth to medicine, and even from global warming to the end of world--What Are You Optimistic About? is an impressive array of what world-class minds (including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestselling authors, and Harvard professors, among others) have weighed in to offer carefully considered optimistic visions of tomorrow. Their provocative ideas may rouse skepticism, but they might possibly change our perceptions of humanity's future.… (mere)
Medlem:SaudOmar
Titel:What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better
Forfattere:John Brockman
Info:Harper Perennial (2007), Paperback, 374 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better af John Brockman (Editor)

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3 1/2 Stars: Good

From the back cover: In an age of doom and gloom, learn what brings hope to the world's most brilliant minds.

The nightly news and conventional wisdom tell us that things are bad and getting worse. Yet despite dire predictions, scientists see many good things on the horizon. John Brockman, published of the Edge, the influential online salon, recently asked more than 150 high powered scientific thinkers to answer a vital question for our frequently pessimistic times: What Are You Optimistic About?

Spanning a wide range of topics, from string theory to education, from population growth to medicine, and even from global warming to the end of the world, this book is an impressive array of what world class minds have weighed in to answer carefully considered optimistic visions of tomorrow. Their provacative and controversial ideas may rouse your skepticism but they might possibly change our perceptions of humanities future.

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I have enjoyed many in this series, and picked this one up at a time that I felt I needed a pick me up. Unfortunately, I didn't necessarily agree with many of the essays, perhaps because it's old enough that we found some of the social items did not come to pass. (Even more true, as I sit here writing this during COVID 19 epidemic). Many of the articles state that we will stop being religious (or be more spiritual, less religious). And other than that overall impression, I find the book to be forgettable, many months later when I complete this review.

Still, I did find a few sections I wanted to remember:

(Marcel Gleiser) "Although I am an atheist, I do not forget what is behind the power of religious thought: quite simply, hope. Life is tough, people suffer, and rightly or wrongly, religion offers something for people to hold on to.... Scientists ought not forget that most people need some sort of spiritual guidance, a kind of guidance that science (at least as it is taught today) cannot offer. Science has shown, and keeps showing, that we live in a cold, hard universe, completely indifferent to us and life. ... Either science will teach us humility and respect for life or we will exterminate this most precious cosmic jewel. I am optimistic that scientists will teach people these lessons, instead of simply trying to rob them of their faith and offering nothing in return. " ( )
  PokPok | May 2, 2020 |
"The explosive growth of power enjoyed by our human species means that many things are possible now that were never before possible, for good and for ill. Is there any reason to suppose that we will use this power mainly for good? In fact, there is."

For several years now, John Brockman of the Edge Foundation has been posing an annual open question to a selection of the brightest and most productive people on the planet. This volume is the third such book-format selection of the essays he received in answer.

The quality of the list of contributors is the first striking thing. There are over 150, and they're leading figures in physics, software, sociology, biology, digital culture, mathematics, education, engineering, linguistics, philosophy, medicine, journalism, and more. Women are conspicuously under-represented, but the names that are here are impressive.

More importantly, they have a lot to say. Some of these little essays are remarkably thought-provoking for their size. They don't all agree with each other, by any means -- and some of them have already been shown to be over-optimistic, a few years after they were written -- but there are multitudes of reasons for hopefulness and excitement to be found in these pages.

Many of the essays tackle head-on the question of the validity of optimism itself. Of these, I was particulary impressed by TED founder Chris Anderson's dissection of the way bad news is continually fed to us. He picks apart a few popular misconceptions, shows why we hold them the way we do, and concludes: "Think about that. The entire news agenda for a decade, received as endless tales of wars, massacres, and bombings, actually missed the key point. Things are getting better." He backs this up with some figures. And then he's done -- in just over two pages.

As an antidote to that popular anxiety, as a window onto what's exciting scientists and engineers these days, as a collection of glimpses into possible beneficent futures, this is a wonderful book. Dip in and out of it, or plough straight through it as I did, but read it -- you'll be glad you did. ( )
  RoboSchro | Jan 30, 2011 |
Jam packed with opinions and views of generally the near term. A well represented cast of opinions from a wide number of disciplines. This book deserves a re-read as there is just so much to ponder. Not a book that should be skimmed or speed read -- rather one that should be enjoyed and contemplated over. ( )
  skraft001 | Jul 30, 2008 |
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Spanning a wide range of topics--from string theory to education, from population growth to medicine, and even from global warming to the end of world--What Are You Optimistic About? is an impressive array of what world-class minds (including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestselling authors, and Harvard professors, among others) have weighed in to offer carefully considered optimistic visions of tomorrow. Their provocative ideas may rouse skepticism, but they might possibly change our perceptions of humanity's future.

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