Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My new book, Upside, is now available

My second book has been released. It’s entitled Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World, and it’s available on Amazon, Christian bookstores, and various other places… if there are any left ;-)

The guiding question for this book is whether the world is getting better or worse. Now, I realize that you’re probably thinking right now that that’s too narrow of a topic, but bear with me, it’s a question worth asking.

People with naturally disagree as to whether things are “good” or “bad”, since that involves a value judgment. However, we should all be able to agree as to whether things are getting better or worse; i.e., which direction trends are going.

My book develops two paradoxes. One, many, many things in the world are getting better, but most people are convinced that things are getting worse. Two, most people think that their lives are getting better, but their community and nation is getting worse. In my book I explore the reasons for these paradoxes.

After that—since I’m a data-driven guy—I present information about what’s happening in the world. I cover areas that most people take as important, such as income and poverty, health, education, happiness, crime, freedom, faith, marriage, families, and the environment.

In each of these areas, I present the best available data about how things are changing. The data come from sources such as the US Census Bureau, the World Bank, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, and various sociological surveys.

I finish with examining various explanations for why so many things are getting better, and what we should do in response.

Interwoven throughout the book are stories of Christians making a positive difference in the world. These stories range from the actions of individual Christians to Christian organizations, from people feeding the sick to saving the environment.  As a quantitative sociologist, I am slowly realizing that sometimes just facts and figures aren't enough to make a case, that sometimes we need specific stories about how things are working to understand the larger picture.  These stories highlight all the good things that people are doing in the world, and it has an effect—many things are getting better. 

We should be encouraged.  It seems that our actions to make life better are working, so let’s keep up the good work and do even better!


Jennifer said...

Do you find that some things are in fact getting worse or are not improving. For example, median household income in the US or the purchasing power of households of lower income levels.

Brad Wright said...

Hello Jennifer,

I try to cover a wide range of things, including household income, some of which get worse. As I read the data, hh income rose spectacularly from the 1940s to about the end of the century, and it's been rather flat the last decade.

My goal is to go wherever the data lead, rather than to write a "feel-good" book. It's just that many things have gotten better.

Unknown said...

I finished the book last week and am telling everyone I know about it. I ordered 3 copies and gave 2 away. Keep up the great work.
Tom 2 tall Cunningham