Humanity on a Tightrope: Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and Big Changes for a Viable Future

Paul R. Ehrlich and Robert E. Ornstein, Rowman & Littlefield, $22.95 (210p) ISBN 978-1-4422-0648-9
The authors' hearts are in the right place with this earnest plea to all mankind to develop empathy and embrace the interdependency that connects us all. Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) and Ornstein (The Healing Brain) argue that human behavior is the biggest threat to our collective future and strongly suggest we create less "us" vs. "them" binaries. From environmental conservation to ending consumerism to the pervasive ignorance that feeds xenophobia, they approach their focus through the lenses of anthropology, neuropsychology, and history. The message is repetitive and, while the book promises to offer practical ideas, it often instead provides obvious claims: "There are a lot of big changes needed…" As with all ideas for peace and justice that rightfully stem from understanding that human beings want to be happy, the real challenges come after the preaching to the choir is done. Most readers will already agree with the authors' thesis, and it's hard to imagine that those who might benefit most from what the authors have to say—corporate America, NeoCons, the Taliban, for starters—will listen. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Open Ebook - 210 pages - 978-1-4422-0650-2
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-4422-0649-6
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