Humanity's embrace of openness is the key to our success. The freedom to explore and exchange - whether it's goods, ideas or people - has led to stunning achievements in science, technology and culture. As a result, we live at a time of unprecedented wealth and opportunity. So why are we so intent on ruining it?
From Stone Age hunter-gatherers to contemporary Chinese-American relations, Open explores how across time and cultures, we have struggled with a constant tension between our yearning for co-operation and our profound need for belonging. Providing a bold new framework for understanding human history, bestselling author and thinker Johan Norberg examines why we're often uncomfortable with openness - but also why it is essential for progress. Part sweeping history and part polemic, this urgent book makes a compelling case for why an open world with an open economy is worth fighting for more than ever.
Johan Norberg is an author, lecturer and filmmaker. He is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington DC and his books have been translated into twenty-five languages. His book Progress was an international bestseller and an Economist book of the year. Norberg regularly writes for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Reason and HuffPost. He spreads his time between his native Sweden and the US.
0: Traders and tribalists 1: Open exchange 2: Open doors 3: Open minds 4: Open societies 5: Us and them 6: Zero-sum 7: Anticipatory anxiety 8: Fight or flight 9: Open or closed?
A prophet of anti-pessimism. -- Simon Jenkins * Guardian * Norberg has a strong case and he makes it with energy and charm. A pertinent book for grumpy times. * The Times on Progress * Generates powerful good-news vibes. * Esquire on Progress * This book is a blast of good sense. * The Economist on Progress * Johan Norberg reminds us that every great civilization has been destroyed by the end of openness. His essential book, then, is a timely reminder that the fate of our civilization rests on a defense of openness. Strongly recommended. * Andrew Keen, author of The Internet Is Not The Answer * Johan Norberg makes a compelling case that we all thrive -- in every sense -- on 'open'... This is big thinking that deserves everyone's attention. * Michael Blastland, author of The Hidden Half * Norberg's excellent book tells us that openness is more than a defensive reaction to those who want to close borders to migrants, trade and new ideas... [it is] a deeply rooted trait that has played a major role in the success of individuals, nations and humanity itself. * Vince Cable * Johan Norberg has a great story to tell: how, throughout history, open societies have always closed down, but never for good. The tension between closed and open, between trading and tribalism drives both progress and reaction. Why are the virtues and benefits of openness always under threat? We can't live without it, yet too often it seems that we can't live with it either. Norberg has a powerful argument to give us insight and hope that man's curiosity and imagination is unstoppable. * Margaret Heffernan, author of Wilful Blindness * If we are to recover from the pandemic of 2020, the world needs openness more than ever: open minds, open hearts, open communications, open markets. Johan Norberg's superb book demonstrates, with hundreds of examples, how openness has been the key to the success of our species over 10,000 years and is the secret of prosperity and peace today. * Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist * No person or society is smart enough or wise enough or noble enough to solve the wicked problems of life by themselves. With clarity and grace, Johan Norberg reminds us that openness to things and ideas from others is the only route to well-being. * Steven Pinker * Clear, colourful and convincing, marshalling evidence from a range of eras and civilisations. [...] The author is often amusing as well as illuminating. * The Economist *
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