Book Summary: Getting Better by Charles Kenny

Getting Better by Charles Kenny Book Cover

Getting Better: Why Global Prosperity is Better Than You Think is a book written by Charles Kenny, an economist and writer who specializes in global issues and development. The book explores the idea that despite the many problems and challenges facing the world today, humanity is actually making progress towards a better future. The author argues that this progress is often overlooked due to our focus on negative news and events, and that by examining the data, we can see that the world is actually getting better in many ways.

Chapter 1: The World is Getting Better

The first chapter of the book introduces the idea that the world is actually getting better. The author cites data showing that poverty rates are falling, literacy rates are increasing, and life expectancy is rising. He also points out that there has been a significant decrease in violence and war over the past few decades. Despite these positive trends, many people are unaware of them because news outlets tend to focus on negative stories.

Chapter 2: The Importance of Data

In the second chapter, the author emphasizes the importance of data in understanding global progress. He argues that while anecdotal evidence and personal experiences can be valuable, they are often not enough to accurately assess the state of the world. By examining hard data, we can see trends and patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed. The author also cautions against using data selectively to support a particular viewpoint, and encourages readers to look at the full picture.

Chapter 3: Poverty

The third chapter focuses on poverty, which the author argues is decreasing globally. He cites data showing that the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen dramatically over the past few decades, and that this trend is expected to continue. The author also discusses the role of economic growth in reducing poverty, and argues that while it is not the only factor, it is an important one. He also highlights the importance of targeted interventions, such as social safety nets and educational programs, in reducing poverty.

Chapter 4: Education

The fourth chapter explores the topic of education, which the author argues is improving globally. He cites data showing that literacy rates are increasing, and that more people than ever before are receiving formal education. The author also discusses the role of technology in improving access to education, and argues that while there are still challenges to overcome, progress is being made. He also highlights the importance of education in achieving other development goals, such as reducing poverty and promoting gender equality.

Chapter 5: Health

The fifth chapter focuses on health, which the author argues is improving globally. He cites data showing that life expectancy is rising, and that many diseases that were once deadly are now treatable. The author also discusses the role of public health interventions, such as vaccination programs and access to clean water, in improving health outcomes. He argues that while there is still work to be done, progress is being made and we should be optimistic about the future.

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Chapter 6: Violence

The sixth chapter explores the topic of violence, which the author argues is decreasing globally. He cites data showing that wars and conflicts are less common than they used to be, and that rates of homicide and other forms of violence are falling. The author also discusses the role of economic development and democracy in reducing violence, and argues that while there is still work to be done, progress is being made.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Getting Better: Why Global Prosperity is Better Than You Think makes a compelling argument that despite the many challenges facing the world today, humanity is actually making progress towards a better future. By examining the data, we can see that the world is actually getting better in many ways, including poverty rates, literacy rates, life expectancy, and violence. The book also emphasizes the importance of data in understanding global progress, and encourages readers to look at the full picture rather than relying on anecdotal evidence or selective data. Overall, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the state of the world and how it is changing over time.

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