5 signs the world’s improving, according to Bill Gates’s new favorite book ever (Market Watch):

“Bill Gates has long been a huge fan of Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker and his book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” In fact, last year the Microsoft founder hailed it as the most inspiring book he has ever read, and he urged college grads to read it.

Well, Pinker apparently has managed to top himself with his new book, “Enlightenment Now,” which is “like ‘Better Angels’ on steroids,” according to Gates … As a taster of what to expect, here are five facts that Gates listed as his favorite from the book …

4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.”

The Book

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker

Description: Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

The Book in Context

Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett
Is the Internet Good or Bad for Your Brain?
How learning changes your brain
Neuroimaging study finds extensive brain rewiring–in just six months–among illiterate adults learning to read and write
What are cognitive abilities and how to boost them?
Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright

Read more about this at sharpbrains.com.

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