The Progress Paradox

How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
In The Progress Paradox, Gregg Easterbrook draws upon three decades of wide-ranging research and thinking to make the persuasive assertion that almost all aspects of Western life have vastly improved in the past century–and yet today, most men and women feel less happy than in previous generations.

Detailing the emerging science of “positive psychology,” which seeks to understand what causes a person’s sense of well-being, Easterbrook offers an alternative to our culture of crisis and complaint. He makes a compelling case that optimism, gratitude, and acts of forgiveness not only make modern life more fulfilling but are actually in our self-interest. An affirming and constructive way of seeing life anew, The Progress Paradox will change the way you think about your place in the world–and about our collective ability to make it better.

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Chapter 1

The Great Story of Our Era: Average People Better Off


Though the airfield does not appear on many charts, its existence is whispered of among pilots. The approach requires skill and timing, and there have been accidents; but when the mission is important, some risks must be accepted. Fliers...
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PRAISE FOR

The Progress Paradox raises some provocative questions. . . . This is a book meant to challenge left and right–keep both sides off balance. . . . A welcome antidote to the demagoguery prevalent in political discussion today.”
–Los Angeles Times

“Well-constructed, civic-minded . . . full of compelling statistics and anecdotes . . . a convincing case for good cheer.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Lively . . . combines a vast amount of scholarly research and reporting to generate a thoughtful, sustained argument.”
–BusinessWeek

“Utterly engaging . . . There are surprises all through it, and some startling refutations of conventional wisdoms.”
–Baltimore Sun

“With the lively wit and contrarian insight that is a regular feature of his articles in The New Republic . . . Mr. Easterbrook offers a bracing reminder of what is too often forgotten but difficult to deny: In the West in the past fifty years, life has gotten steadily better.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“Excellent.”
–The Economist


Fascinating. . . may well be this fall’s version of The Tipping Point.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer