Bill Gates told new grads to read this book. Now it’s surging on Amazon.
On Monday, Bill Gates delivered what seemed like an entire graduation speech in the span of 14 tweets.
1/ New college grads often ask me for career advice. At the risk of sounding like this guy…https://t.co/C68mjJ5g44Odey Special Situations Fund took on several new positions in March
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 15, 2017
Like the best commencement speeches, Gates’s tweetstorm is a personal reflection on the ways he’s grown since he was a young adult. He admits that it took him “decades” to learn about inequality, and he says he no longer believes there is only one way to measure intelligence. He also articulates a philosophy that drives what he does: the notion that the world is steadily getting better, not worse.
The argument for that, Gates said, is laid out in a 2011 book called “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” Written by Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker, the book attempts to explain why, as the New York Times put it, “our era is less violent, less cruel and more peaceful than any previous period of human existence,” despite headlines that may scream to the contrary.
So it’s probably no surprise that, in light of Gates’s recommendation, “Better Angels” is surging on Amazon. As of Monday afternoon, it had risen in Amazon’s sales rankings by more than 6,000 percent in the previous 24 hours. (Update: As of Tuesday morning, the book had risen 605,000 percent to claim the number-two spot on Amazon’s movers-and-shakers list.)
Read the full article here by Brian Fung, The Washington Post
Better Angels of Our Nature – Book Review
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
A provocative history of violence—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Stuff of Thought and The Blank Slate
Believe it or not, today we may be living in the most peaceful moment in our species’ existence. In his gripping and controversial new work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows that despite the ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been in decline over long stretches of history. Exploding myths about humankind’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly enlightened world.
A Mark Zuckerberg “Year of Books” Pick
“My favorite book of the last decade is [Steven] Pinker’s Better Angels of Our Nature. It is a long but profound look at the reduction in violence and discrimination over time.”– Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
“For anyone interested in human nature, the material is engrossing, and when the going gets heavy, Pinker knows how to lighten it with ironic comments and a touch of humor. . . . A supremely important book. To have command of so much research, spread across so many different fields, is a masterly achievement.” – The New York Times Book Review
“An extraordinary range of research . . . a masterly effort.” – The Wall Street Journal
“Better Angels is a monumental achievement. His book should make it much harder for pessimists to cling to their gloomy vision of the future. Whether war is an ancient adaptation or a pernicious cultural infection, we are learning how to overcome it.” – Slate
Praise for THE STUFF OF THOUGHT
“The majesty of Pinker’s theories is only one side of the story. The other side is the modesty of how he built them. It all makes sense, when you look at it the right way.” – The New York Times Book Review
“Packed with information, clear, witty, attractively written …” – The New York Review of Books
“Engaging and witty …Everyone with an interest in language and how it gets to be how it is—that is, everyone interested in how we get to be human and do our human business—should read THE STUFF OF THOUGHT.” – Science
Praise for THE BLANK SLATE
“An extremely good book—clear, well argued, fair, learned, tough, witty, humane, stimulating.” – Colin McGinn, The Washington Post
“Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read…also highly persuasive.” – Time