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Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World Paperback – July 1, 2011
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At the suggestion of his editor, Wright wrote a book that answers the question, "Is the world getting better?" As an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, he was more than qualified to examine the data and come to an objective conclusion. (And UPSIDE is not the only book he's written that examines and challenges widespread and commonly held beliefs. Wright also wrote CHRISTIANS ARE HATE-FILLED HYPOCRITES . . . AND OTHER LIES YOU'VE BEEN TOLD.)
To be honest, I chose to review this book because I didn't believe it was possible to write a book that said our world is actually improving rather than getting worse. Not to mention I was sure that even if he could write that book, it wouldn't have an ounce of credibility. Choosing this book was essentially my way of saying to Wright, "Oh yeah? Prove it." Surprisingly, he did.
Wright followed the data--he didn't exaggerate the improvements or tone down the negatives. He briefly traced the reasons people are so pessimistic about the state of our world and showed there has been significant improvement in most of the areas people worry about on a regular basis. He did an excellent job showing that, even though things have gotten worse in certain areas in recent years, it's important to look at change over time. That's what his research focused on--how is today's data different from past data? Have things improved, or gotten worse?Read more ›
Upside looks at a limited number of issues that Wright views as "important to most people" with the goal of providing "accurate perceptions of the world in both the ways that it's getting better and worse" (p.31). Chapter after chapter, the data clearly indicates that things are better than most people assume them to be currently in America and that the trends over the last several decades show we are making progress or improvement in most of the areas considered. This general conclusion is significant since chapters cover topics including finances, intelligence, health, stress, marriage and families, and the environment. While there is good news about each larger category, some subcategories that don't fare as well.
In the concluding chapter, Wright displays these findings in a chart that compares life in the United States today to what it was 30 years ago and 60 years ago for each subcategory using the following choices for each: substantially better, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse, and substantially worse (p. 201-204).Read more ›
I was provided a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review no other compensation was given
On the one hand, Dr. Wright has documented that many things in our world are improving. The following, he argues, are improving: lifespan, health, the environment, violent crime, war deaths, or poverty. He backs up his assertions with well-docmuneted facts figures and statistics. He deals with both the American and world-wide arenas.
On the other hand, Wright argues that a few things are getting worse (particularly in America), including the gap between the wealthy and others, matters of sexual morality and sexual behavior. Some things -- like the abortion rate and the divorce rate -- are improving modestly. Again, let me remind readers that his perspective is from an evangelical viewpoint, one which I share.
This book corrected a number of misconceptions in my mind. With so many voices lamenting that the world's condition and the notion that it is getting worse by the day, I myself had fallen prey to the lop-sided reporting that makes for highly rated news. Thank you, Dr. Wright!
The author is neither Pollyanna nor Eeyore; this is a good, balanced, yet surprising account documenting that most things are, in fact, getting better. A good read for all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stop complaining people! The world is not that bad. Thanks Bradley Wright for the encouraging book and enjoyable read!Published 1 month ago by W V S
I enjoyed the book tremendously. I am so tired of people who only see the bad side of the world situation. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rick Blumenberg
A moderately good summary of many trends and changes in the States and the world - a large number of which are good.Published 18 months ago by Charles Reed
"The world is becoming a more dangerous place." "Poverty is growing in the world." "Education levels are shrinking." "Divorce rates are rising. Read morePublished on July 2, 2012 by B. Giselbach
I was absolutely intrigued by the book description for "Upside" and wanted to know more of what the author had to share. Read morePublished on February 8, 2012 by Momtothreegirls
When asked if the divorce rate, and the crime rate was going up or down, what would your answer be? Yeah me too. Up, right? Not according to Dr. Read morePublished on November 12, 2011 by Amy L. Maris
I'm always interested in hearing good news, but rarely expect positive reporting about the state of the world because I see so much in the television broadcast that discourages me. Read morePublished on November 8, 2011 by R. Heikel
Full disclosure: The author sent me this book, but I would gladly offer a critical review if it was needed! Read morePublished on October 25, 2011 by David George Moore