I'm very excited to see Tim Urban resurface with his new book on what ails us as a society. I haven't even finished the book yet, but I couldn't wait to share it.
If you were a fan of Wait But Why, you likely read the mega-series of posts titled The Story of Us. (since removed). In this series, Urban builds a case describing the current disfunction in our society and its origins. The author has now turned this into a book called What's Our Problem?: A Self-Help Book for Societies that he describes in his meta post about the process of creating it, as a complete look at the issues we now face as a society.
His thesis begins by laying out 3 facts:
Fact 1: Technology is exponential
It’s natural to assume that the world we grew up in is normal. But nothing about our current world is normal. Because technology is exponential. More advanced societies make progress at a faster rate than less advanced societies—because they’re more advanced.
Fact 2: More technology means higher stakes
Technology is a multiplier of both good and bad. More technology means better good times, but it also means badder bad times.
Fact 3: My society is currently acting like a poopy-pantsed four-year-old who dropped its ice cream
Why, in a time so prosperous, with the stakes so high, would we be going backward in wisdom?
The book was more than 6 years in the making. I was surprised to see it come out. So surprised that I had to go see if George RR Martin had finished the next book in the Ice and Fire series. (I can save you some time—he has not)
I'm reading it as fast as I can and I am sure at least a few posts will be forthcoming from me on topics found in the book.
What's Ben's Problem?
On a personal note: about a month ago I ruptured my achilles tendon playing volleyball. I've always had "tight tendons", as many athletes do 😉, and this time my left leg finally gave up the ghost. I met with the surgeon who recommended we let it heal non-surgically. Amazingly, that is a thing and results have similar efficacy to surgery.
Jena has been amazing with helping me out and I've been trying to get around on one of those little knee scooters, but—if you're considering it for yourself—I would not recommend this injury.
I'll be in a cast for at least a few more weeks, then a soft boot for a few more. After that, I'll start physical therapy. It was an ok time for this to happen, I guess. Ski season was winding down and I should be able to incorporate some trails into my rehab, so I won't miss too much of hiking season.