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I am a long-time Karl Popper fan. I've read all but, I believe, 4 books of his. To my knowledge, this is his shortest at 161 pages - all consisting of essays. This is also the book of his that is the least original. If you're a long-time fan, you've read these ideas before. If you are a newcomer, there are better books to start with.
For all that, the first essay, "The Logic and Evolution of Scientific Theory" is the best short summary of Popper's views on science that I've read. The second essay is also a good summary of Popper's theories of body/mind interactionism, an odd position for a modern theoriest to hold.
The second half, although quite unoriginal (I've started to realize that Popper's views on freedom, democracy, open society, etc. were better expressed by James Madison)is still quite interesting. Also, this book, I'm quite sure for the first time, gives us Popper's views towards international policy. 'Waging Wars for Peace', an excerpt from a radio interview, is pretty timely in 2003 and reminds us that there can be no thing as an absolute pacifist. Not destroying someone certain to kill only postpones. The title essay, at 6 pages, is another timely celebration of technology; timely because many on the right and left (for different reasons about different techonologies) are preaching against technologies while failing to see the many good sides.
All in all, a quick and fairly worthwhile read. The experienced reader of Popper, again, will find nothing new here. [...]
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on December 22, 2013
Bought this as a gift- he seems to enjoy it but felt like there were other books that needed to be read before or as companions.
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on January 30, 2015
Interesting read.
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on March 13, 2011
I bought this a long time ago and it has languished on the to-read list. It is probably not the best introduction to Popper, but it's not bad.

The first section is a collection of speeches that have a lot of duplication between them. The good side of that is that I have a pretty good grasp of what he meant by a priori knowledge and his view of the scientific method. By a priori knowledge he means a set of expectations (either in the form of theory and hypothesis or, at a lower level, biological adaptation to the environment) that must be confirmed through interaction with the environment. His repeated comment is that Einstein can actually seek to refute his theories in the interest of advancing knowledge, but an amoeba must fear refutation since it will mean its own death to not be adapted properly.

The section on history and politics can probably be summed up as:
1) History is not a progression that we can really predict. One statement he makes is that history ends right now and the future is not predictable.
2) Be optimistic about the present - life is better now than it ever has been (at least on average).
3) We must constantly work to make the future better.
4) There is no guarantee that freedom will continue in the future as it has in the past. The longer people are free, the more they take it for granted and guard it less.
5) The real cause of a lot of conflicts in the modern world is over-population.

He was also amazingly pro-American for a European intellectual. He did not deny that we have problems but repeatedly stressed that we (the whole world of democracies and the US in particular) are the most successful form of social organization ever tried.

He also contradicts the common belief (originated, I believe with Bertrand Russell) that we are too smart scientifically and not smart enough morally. Instead, he suggests that people are very anxious to do the right thing and behave morally but are not smart enough to be able to judge the true effects likely to result from courses of action suggested by those who claim to be moral guides.

Originally, I wasn't going to recommend this book but I do because it is an easy read and a good introduction to what I understand to be most of Popper's main points.
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