Civilized To Death: The Price of Progress

Written by:
Christopher Ryan
Narrated by:
Christopher Ryan

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
October 2019
9 hours 21 minutes
The New York Times bestselling coauthor of Sex at Dawn explores the ways in which “progress” has perverted the way we live—how we eat, learn, feel, mate, parent, communicate, work, and die—in this “engaging, extensively documented, well-organized, and thought-provoking” (Booklist) book.

Most of us have instinctive evidence the world is ending—balmy December days, face-to-face conversation replaced with heads-to-screens zomboidism, a world at constant war, a political system in disarray. We hear some myths and lies so frequently that they feel like truths: Civilization is humankind’s greatest accomplishment. Progress is undeniable. Count your blessings. You’re lucky to be alive here and now. Well, maybe we are and maybe we aren’t. Civilized to Death counters the idea that progress is inherently good, arguing that the “progress” defining our age is analogous to an advancing disease.

Prehistoric life, of course, was not without serious dangers and disadvantages. Many babies died in infancy. A broken bone, infected wound, snakebite, or difficult pregnancy could be life-threatening. But ultimately, Christopher Ryan questions, were these pre-civilized dangers more murderous than modern scourges, such as car accidents, cancers, cardiovascular disease, and a technologically prolonged dying process? Civilized to Death “will make you see our so-called progress in a whole new light” (Book Riot) and adds to the timely conversation that “the way we have been living is no longer sustainable, at least as long as we want to the earth to outlive us” (Psychology Today). Ryan makes the claim that we should start looking backwards to find our way into a better future.
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Alia B.

This book made me consider a perspective I had never previously thought about. It presents a convincing argument that progress is not the boon we tend to take it as; rather, it is a burden we accept through careful conditioning and ongoing narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed listening.

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I've long felt civilization was overrated. I've long assumed hunter-gatherers had a better life than I do. Here's a fun book that has convinced me I was right! It is a fast-paced and interesting book that questions if the agricultural industrial, and information revolutions have truly benefited our species.

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eye opening

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I hope his insights continue to help people be more conscious. This book is a gift to us all. What he seems to be saying is "HEY YOU ALL, WAKE UP"!

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Chris H.

Interesting take on modern life vs our original roots. Opened my eyes to a different perspective

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Bruce K.

Brilliant retrospection of our humanity

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Samuel S.

This book challenges so many of the beliefs, values, and assumptions of our society. even if you dislike the conclusions of the author, his questions are worth asking.

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