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Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 09:17 AM   #1
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Good book - The Progress Paradox

Subtitled "How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse". Written by George Easterbrook.

I've never seen a book with so many quotable lines. Even the Introduction is good! In the back of the book are 37 pages of notes linked chapter by chapter to the text referencing them. I found the best way to read it is to keep a second bookmark in the Notes section, moving it as I went along.

Here are half of the chapter titles:

1. The great story of our era: Average people better off.

2. Practically everything getting better.

3. Why good news scares people.

4. Portable carpeted dog steps.

5. More of everything except happiness.

6. Stress-It's nature's plan.

Here is a clip:

"Problems are inflated into crises in part because, during a crisis, elites gain stature. World War II was a crisis; the current Middle East situation is a crisis; 99 percent of the issues facing the Western world are not crises. But in contemporary public discourse, everything is a crisis - a notion talk shows and media outlets have an interest in promoting. The other day, I heard a foundation president being interviewed on CNN proclaim a 'serious crisis.' What the 'serious crisis' was doesn't matter here; what mattered is that the word 'crisis' has been so devalued by overuse that now we must speak of the 'serious crisis.'"


So maybe we all have evolved into a bunch of whiners, because we now have the luxury of whining. The big problems that faced our ancestors have been long solved for most people, and now we focus on little stuff.

An interesting book! Puts modern life into perspective.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 09:33 AM   #2
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Right!

Remember the old guy, Tom Jefferson:

"-----life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Nobody says we're supposed to catch it! Whining and bitching along the way is just good, clean fun.

And - heh,heh,heh - If you are happy - don't tell anyone - they ain't interested.

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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 10:00 AM   #3
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Thanks Telly, I may have to see if my library has that. I've noticed everything seems rooted in crises and fear these days when it actually isn't if you think about it. Now debt free, I find myself worrying more and more about future returns and my job prospects yet I'm far better off now financially and career-wise than I ever have been. I'll stop worrying and enjoy myself for a while, then the worry creeps back in.

Unclemick, in my experience if you're happy and let someone else know they'll tell you you're doing it wrong and suggest changes you should make!
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 10:30 AM   #4
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Don't tell anyone, but reading about this book made me chuckle (not a milk through the nose laugh, but a chuckle) and . . . well . . . I feel a little happy.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 10:35 AM   #5
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

I keep reading about all of these happy people with milk coming out of their noses, so in the pursuit of happiness, I tried it. I just got all wet and a little congested. The pursuit continues....
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 10:38 AM   #6
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

But what about the upcoming dryer sheet crisis?
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Quote:
But what about the upcoming dryer sheet crisis?

Oh dear, it will likely blow right by 'serious crisis' and be deemed a 'dire crisis'


Our ability to sensationalize things never ceases to amaze me. * Of course everything is a crisis, we must have something to wring our hand and fret over. *Can you imagine the toll a crisis of lack-of-crises would take??
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 11:27 AM   #8
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Shhhhhh!

Don't tell anyone - but all serious
ER's are bulk pricing dryer sheets for the coming period of high inflation. We don't want to run the price up due to speculation. Small anonymous buys are best. Wrap in plain paper and use public storage under an assumed name. Make sure the place is hurricane and earthquake resistant.

I estimate 6 months to a year before the dryer sheet crisis gets public awareness.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 11:31 AM   #9
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Quote:
I keep reading about all of these happy people with milk coming out of their noses, so in the pursuit of happiness, I tried it. * I just got all wet and a little congested. * The pursuit continues....
wab,

Happiness doesn't necessarily come easy. You may have to work and practice at this for awhile. Keep blowing milk out your nose several times a day for a few weeks and report back to us on your progress to happiness then.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 11:40 AM   #10
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Good advice, SG. I figured maybe I was doing something wrong. You know how sometimes people say "blow" when they mean "suck"? Well, I just tried again, but this time I sucked milk into my nose. I think I'm onto something here -- I'll get back to you.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 12:32 PM   #11
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Its my observation that some people both suck AND blow.

Sometimes at the same time.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 12:59 PM   #12
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Quote:
I estimate 6 months to a year before the dryer sheet crisis gets public awareness.
Doesn't bother me. I've learned that dryer sheets are not actually necessary for happiness. We simply have been conditioned to think that they are by corporate marketers exploiting our insecurities. i.e., The Harsh Fabric Crisis, The Static Cling Crisis, etc.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 01:23 PM   #13
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Quote:
Doesn't bother me. I've learned that dryer sheets are not actually necessary for happiness.
Yeah, we air dry about 80% of the laundry anyways so we have little need for them and if the dryer sheet problem hits crisis proportions then we can get by without them just fine.
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 08-31-2004, 01:56 PM   #14
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

In Canada, as opposed to Jefferson, we are taught in high school history......"Peace, order, and good government". In general, we do have peace and order, but I question the good government. :-/
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 09-01-2004, 12:12 PM   #15
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

BMJ,

"The Progress Paradox" was published in 2003. I read a brief review about it in a newspaper. Sounded interesting and relevent, so I went to the library to check it out. They had it, but there was a waiting list. It was 8-10 months before it came around to me!
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 09-07-2004, 01:05 AM   #16
 
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Zipper,

That is fascinating what they teach you - when contrasted with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; peace, order and good government is almost the opposite ( to me) in a political philosophical sense. It's almost German-like (I'm just now leaving Germany - Ordnung muss sein -order must be)--after WWII, the Germans have pretty much decided that they will influence through integration (with the EU, UN, etc)--if you look at the American philosophy, in general, we foster individuality almost to the expense of a larger society or governance.

In any case, I found that very interesting and perhaps a small key to why our countries can seem so different even though we are both Americans....:-)

Thanks--Deserat
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 09-07-2004, 05:31 AM   #17
 
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Personally I prefer a little disorder, and also believe
freedom, progress, and overal happiness have the
best chance with an every-man (woman) for themselves
approach. So I support a concept of societal "disorderly conduct" in terms of producing the best
results for the most. In fact, I think that's what built
this country, i.e. rugged individualism. Of course
that is mostly gone now although it appears to me the
USA is still ahead of other countries, at least the major
developed ones. We (the USA) are on a long slide down that slippery slope to government mandated "order'.
It will serve us to no good end.

John Galt
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 09-07-2004, 03:45 PM   #18
 
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Quote:
Personally I prefer a little disorder, and also believe
freedom, progress, and overal happiness have the
best chance with an every-man (woman) for themselves
approach. *So I support a concept of societal "disorderly conduct" in terms of producing the best
results for the most. *In fact, I think that's what built
this country, i.e. rugged individualism. *Of course
that is mostly gone now although it appears to me the
USA is still ahead of other countries, at least the major
developed ones. *We (the USA) are on a long slide down that *slippery slope to government mandated "order'.
It will serve us to no good end.

John Galt
As I have said before this is not hard to do, you just need to move where there are few people. Because People cause Laws.


This is fairly easy to achieve, I have been in many such places in the last few years. And as you said "In fact, I think that's what built this country, i.e. rugged individualism. "

Of course remember that this lifestyle probably would not have you celebrating your 60th birthday this week! - You probably would have died about 15 years ago.

But you can still get this lifestyle if you are rugged like they were 100 years ago. Of course you would have to give up your creature comforts.

But, you have to admit this is your choice. So either accept the comforts or buck up and go to the wilderness! No sense continually complaining about this when you have a choice.

God knows any 'rugged Individualist' that you would admire would have taken off to the wilderness long ago and would be living happily ever after. No Taxes - No services - No Laws - Whatever you want you can have it. You just cannot have services and comforts and no Taxes and Laws - It's always been like that. And today is no different!

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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox
Old 09-07-2004, 05:03 PM   #19
 
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Re: Good book - The Progress Paradox

Hi Cut-throat. Your point is well taken.
Unfortunately, it isn't that simple in real life.
Anyway, you are probably right about not being around to celebrate my 60th birthday. With my personality
someone would have killed me by now, or I'd have
killed them I'm stuck in the wrong century and
will just have to make the best of it.

John Galt
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