Tune into the news and you’ll hear stories of war, disease, natural disasters, corruption, violence, poverty, crime, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and political dysfunction in Washington. Polls show many believe the American dream is fading, our children face limited opportunities, and the country is decidedly on the wrong track. Yet this dour perspective - one recycled 24/7 by the national media - is a gross distortion of the world we live in today.
As national investment expert and best-selling author Alexander Green reveals in this engrossing and provocative new book, the human race has never had it so good. In the West today, we work shorter hours, have more purchasing power, enjoy goods and services in almost limitless supply, and have more leisure time than ever before. Living standards are the highest they have ever been. The human life span has nearly doubled over the past hundred years. Literacy and education levels - even I.Q.’s - are at all-time highs. Technology and medicine are revolutionizing our lives. All forms of pollution - with the exception of greenhouse gases - are in decline. Access to the arts has never been greater. Crime is in a long-term cycle of decline. And the risk of death by violence has never been smaller for most of humanity.
By almost every measure, our lives today are wealthy beyond measure. We are all heir to an embarrassment of riches. Yet - thanks in large part the drumbeat of negative media coverage - most of us don’t realize it. Green compares the average citizen to “a lottery winner whose ticket is lost in some upstairs drawer.” The consequences of adopting the cynical but popular worldview are many, including needless pessimism, missed investment opportunities, and - surprisingly - even poorer health.
Yet An Embarrassment of Riches provides a powerful antidote. Green begins with a robust survey of the many ways our lives are becoming longer, easier, safer, healthier and more prosperous. He then embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of the ideas and the many men and women - both living and dead - who are still enriching our lives today.
Among the many subjects explored are American exceptionalism, the extraordinary power of economic freedom, the life-saving role of medicine and technology, the life-extending benefits of optimism, the radical theology of Thomas Jefferson, the keys to civility and greatness, the wisdom of Confucius and Aristotle, the ability of beauty to enrich our lives, and even one artist’s thought-provoking take on “how to defeat death.”
In An Embarrassment of Riches, New York Times best-selling author Alexander Green offers a holistic approach to wealth - and offers a welcome perspective that allows us to live fuller, richer lives.
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- S. Y. Chandler
- Ben Kaiser