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The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 25. November 2003

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 400 Seiten
  • Verlag: Random House; Auflage: 1st (25. November 2003)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0679463038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679463030
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,6 x 2,8 x 21,7 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 770.455 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

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Ordinary middle-class Americans have often tried to assuage their jealousy of the rich by repeating the axiom "money can't buy happiness" to themselves. But according to New Republic senior editor Gregg Easterbrook, "the rich" are, in fact, those same ordinary middle-class Americans and no, they're not happy at all. Wages have soared over the past fifty years and regular citizens own large homes, new cars, and luxuries aplenty. Better still, the environment, with a few exceptions, is getting cleaner, crime is on the decline, and diseases are being wiped out as life span increases. So why do people report a sense that things are getting steadily worse and that catastrophe is imminent? Easterbrook presents a few psychological rationales, including "choice anxiety," where the vastness of society's options is a burden, and "abundance denial," where people somehow manage to convince themselves that they are deprived of material comforts. The sooner we accept how good we have it, the better off the whole world will be, he says, because if we would just realize that we have this wealth, we could be using it to alleviate hunger, provide health care for the millions who lack it, and otherwise address the ills that actually do exist. While at times the book's attempts to make the world a better place seem a bit of a stretch, it's admirable that Easterbrook is willing to make that stretch and not suggest people simply light up cigars and bask in their newly discovered joys. One might look a bit askance at some of Easterbrook's sunny perspectives on our societal fortunes--he celebrates rampant consumerism while skating past the rampant consumer debt that lies beneath it, for instance--but it's hard to deny that the pessimistic viewpoint is much more widely stated than that of optimists. Is the glass really half empty or should we, as Easterbrook indicates, enjoy the wonderful world in which we secretly live? --John Moe

Pressestimmen

Praise for Gregg Easterbrook

“Easterbrook . . . is a serious author with serious points to make.”
--The New York Times


“Easterbrook . . . writes nothing that is not brilliant.”
--Chicago Tribune


“Easterbrook is perhaps the finest general science writer in the country.”
--Forbes


“Easterbrook invests the timeless questions of life’s meaning with distinctly contemporary pertinence.”
--GEORGE WILL

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28 von 38 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 9. April 2004
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Das Thema des Buches klingt auf den ersten Blick recht interessant: warum sind die Menschen in den reichen Ländern der westlichen Welt trotz ihres hohen Lebensstandards immer noch unglücklich und unzufrieden? Eigentlich sollte man doch erwarten, dass Amerikaner und Westeuropäer froh und glücklich sind. Sind sie aber nicht, wie wir täglich beobachten können. Und so macht sich der Autor auf, die Gründe für diesen Widerspruch zu ergründen ... jedenfalls hatte ich gehofft, dass er das tun würde. Aber leider ist das Buch äußerst enttäuschend.
Zunächst einmal ist der Schreibstil des Autors nervtötend. Praktisch jeder neue Abschnitt beginnt mit der Rezitation der schon bekannten These "Die Menschen sind unglücklich, obwohl es ihnen so gut geht wie noch nie." Das wird x-mal wiederholt, so als erwarte der Autor, dass man sein Buch häppchenweise liest, so wie manche Leute durchs Fernsehprogramm zappen. Für Leser, die immer mal wieder 1-2 Seiten lesen und bis zum nächsten Mal vergessen haben, wie eigentlich gerade der Kontext des Gelesen war, ist das prima. Für einen Leser, der tatsächlich lesen will, ist es grauenvoll redundant und langweilig.
Inhaltlich bringt es erstaunlich wenig Neues, eigentlich ist alles aufgewärmt. Der Autor beginnt mit einer ausführlichen und detaillierten Schilderung der paradiesischen Lebensverhältnisse in den USA. Nur ein Beispiel, zur Illustration: Da werden Fly-In Restaurants beschrieben, die sich zunehmender Beliebtheit in den USA erfreuen, oder jene Suburb-Siedlungen, in denen jedes Haus einen kleinen Hangar neben der Garage hat.
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Amazon.com: 97 Rezensionen
300 von 329 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Well intentioned, but defeats its own purpose 6. April 2004
Von Chris Rachael Oseland - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Two chapters into this book, I thought, "wow, everyone should read this!" Two chapters further, I wondered if the publisher had accidentally mixed pages from another book into my copy.
The premise of "The Progress Paradox" is that all the gloom and doom forecasters are not only currently wrong, but have been wrong for generations. By every measurable standard, things are getting better, not just for Americans in general, but for the world at large. There is more prosperity, less hunger, a better environment, etc.
The introduction, chapter one, and chapter two are true to this theme. They outline in remarkable detail exactly how our lives are better than those of our forebearers and what kind of work our ancestors had to do to make oure lives better. In chapter 3, Easterbrook outlines reasons why Americans fail to believe the proof before their eyes.
But in chapter 4, he starts a high handed moral lecture. After telling the reader things are better, we should be more grateful for what we have, and we should learn to appriciate life, more, he then attacks the reader for not doing anything about poverty in America, for not insuring all American citizens, and for allowing hunger to exist in the world. Now, if Easterbrook had any suggestions, even ridiculous ones, this would not be so bad, but he goes from telling the reader "everything is better than you think it is" to telling the reader, "no! I lied! Everything IS going to hell in a handbasket and it's ALL YOUR FAULT!"
This does not sell his initial message.
He continues to lecture his middle class American readers (who can afford to spend $25 on a hardback book) about buying SUVs, talking on cell phones, and other technological advances he sees as nothing more than displays of immorality. After telling us that not only our lives are better, but the lives of the poor worldwide are better, he lecures us for not making massive governmental and sociatal sweeping changes - but never once suggests HOW we are supposed to do so.
Somewhere towards the middle of the book, he starts referncing his belief in Christianity, then instructing "good Christians" on their moral duties. Towards the end of the book, he says people will be unhappy until "the Lord returns to Earth." A book which started as a scientific analysis of progress and perception ends as a very unscientific sermon.
Easterbrook insists the reader should personally cure AIDS in Africa, insure the American poor, eliminate world hunger, and all while working with international agencies. Other than sending a check to the charity of your choice, he never suggests HOW to enact these sweeping changes. Easterbrook insists to not do so is immoral, but average Americans who can not get more than a form letter in response from their senators are left with no suggestions as to how they can enact these changes.
The end result is, instead of empowering the reader to feel good about our place in world history and offering reasonable suggestions for how we can help elliviate the suffering of others, this book turns into a moralistic lecture on hedonism. In the last chapter, he tries to sweep all the lecturing under the rug with a short happy ending. This defeats the book's alleged purpose.
I would highly recommend the introduction and first two chapters, and would guardedly recommend chapters 11 and 12, but can not in good concience recommend this book as a whole.
51 von 58 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Living with Pandora's Box of progress 29. Dezember 2003
Von Wayne Klein - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Progress has become the Pandora's Box of today; we live longer, eat better, have more things but are essentially unhappy. Our perception is that just as these great advances creep out of the box, so do their equally nasty counterparts. Easterbrook's new book confronts the disconnect between prosperity and happiness with many statistics, observations and conclusions. The major flaw in Easterbrook's book is the reach for the easy answer or starry eyed optimism about our ability to completely solve problems. Pessimism exists for a reason just as optimism does; they balance each other out like some bizarre ying and yang helping to provide meaning in our brief lives.
On the whole, though Easterbrook's observations and comments are powerful and on the mark; we live in an age of enlightenment only to deny our ability to enjoy the outcome of progress. Easterbrook is most successful when taking a deep look at our inability to enjoy what we've worked so hard for but also his arguments for examining the pessisism and darkness that we've allowed to cloud our lives. While we live in a cynical world dotted with irony and sarcasm, we've allowed these very qualities which are useful in measured degrees to infect every aspect of our lives. While it may be fashionable to be all of these things to a large degree, it's also eroded our perception on the quality of our life. We no longer believe that good things happen to us without a price. We no longer believe that there's actually goodness in the world that can keep our darker nature at bay. These beliefs are essential for providing some sense of balance. If we believe the sky is always falling, then the vitality of our everyday lives is stolen from us.
In effect, we've allowed the darkness to suck all the fun out of our lives. While some of us feel worse about the quality of life for many valid reasons (for example, mutlitasking hasn't improved the quality of work just the load that we can do), we've also dismissed the improvements we have compared to our ancestors. To give Easterbrook credit he doesn't shy away from the fact that we've yet to solve poverty, malnutrition or unemployement. He also acknowledges that disease continues to slip through our fingers just as we think we've got a solid grip on it.
Easterbrook's book isn't always convincing--he sometimes goes for the easy answer when there may be no answer at all--but it does make compelling and thought provoking reading. Perhaps next time he can examine the state of humanity without getting lost in the statistics that rule and help undermine our sense of the quality of life. It would also be useful if he looked at what's causing the nihilistic hypochondria that's sweeping this nation. In many ways, we face challenges that are equally as daunting as those our great-grandparent's faced. While we may have antibiotics, science and nutrition on our side, we also have media that allows instant communication (like this forum)that can decimenate as readily as any virus or bacteria that killed our ancestors. We're overwhelmed with information which can be just as emotionally daunting as some of the issues that faced those before us. If Easterbrook wants to come to the table with solutions or suggestions to make us feel better, he needs to think them out a bit more and understand the consequences of the oversatured world we live in today.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Everyone should read this book 7. Januar 2007
Von S. Yonts - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The Progress Paradox is not a perfect book. It can be repetitive at times, and Easterbrook can sound a bit preachy when discussing certain topics. Despite these small flaws the book is highly readable, often very enjoyable, and serves an important purpose. Easterbrook is an excellent writer and stays reliably non-partisan despite the politically charged nature of some of the topics he covers, making The Progress Paradox far more credible than the many left- or right-wing tomes currently clogging bookstore shelves.

There are essentially three parts to The Progress Paradox. In the first part Easterbrook makes the case that life is indeed getting better. Through countless examples, some of which are truly stunning, Easterbrook methodically shows that in virtually every measurable way our lives are not just better, but significantly better, than they were a generation or two ago. This applies not only to personal indicators such as health, wealth, and leisure time, but also to larger geopolitical trends such as the spread of democracy.

In the book's second act Easterbrook explains why, despite the overwhelming number of positive indicators, people tend to feel like things are getting worse. Easterbrook examines a multitude of causes ranging from simple biology to the media's obsession with bad news. Politicians, in particular, are demonstrated to have a vested interest in making sure that Americans think things are not going well.

In the final portion of the book Easterbrook attempts to strike an upbeat note, giving the reader a host of reasons to believe the future is going to be even better than the present. While this is where Easterbrook most tends towards preachy, it is undeniably refreshing to read something positive about the direction in which we are all headed.

Overall I found The Progress Paradox highly illuminating. In addition to being extremely educational, I think any reader will come away feeling better about their life and about the world in general. I can honestly say that I think the world would be a better place if everyone read this book.
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Like facts? Look elsewhere. 20. Oktober 2004
Von A. Thayer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I began this book with high hopes, having enjoyed similar books (such as Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point") tremendously. But after the first two chapters, it became increasingly apparent that what I'd thought would be an objective consideration of middle-class discontent was simply an opportunity for Easterbrook to scold readers (and society at large) for their collective ability to stay on the sunny side.

For an example of the logic you'll encounter in the book, consider this gem: at one point, Easterbrook argues that elderly Americans have no right to complain about the high cost of prescription drugs; after all, if those drugs didn't exist, seniors wouldn't be alive to complain.

If you find this a compelling argument, you'll probably enjoy the book. If not, save your time for a more worthwhile read.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Depends on which half of the book 21. Juni 2006
Von G. Rademacher - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Some revealing points documented with statistics. I find it interesting how seldom the proven points Easterbrook makes have been reported in our principle news sources. From ABC, CBS or NBC news and talk programs, we take away the distinct impression everything is "going to the dogs". Easterbrook offers solid arguments against this mindset.

Newscasters can easily report from a biased view by omitting facts like Gregg reveals in the Progress Paradox. So, their stories often degenerate into propaganda. Such conduct was forbidden to news writers in previous years. That's no longer the case. One must now be on guard & question virtually every story lest we be misled.

Having been a professional newscaster, I am struck and aghast at the mode of news delivery in 2006 versus our accepted code up through the 1970's. At that time, we reported all the pertinent facts and let listeners make up their own minds.

I highly recommend the first half of Progress Paradox. However, the cures Easterbrook proposes in the last half sound a bit unrealistic. A big 5 stars for the first half - interesting reading. Maybe 2 for the last half.
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