Monday, August 1, 2011

Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World by Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD

Review: Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of Our World.
Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD
Bethany House Publishers
2011

What a nice change of pace! Looking at the upside of major trends like finances, education, crime, marriage, environment and other big topics that are in constant conversation lately it seems. His approach to the material could not have been handled any better from a layman’s point of view. Wright’s area of expertise is sociology and he teaches at the university level. A textbook this is not. And I for one am very glad. So, when you flip through the book, don’t let the graphs scare you. His explanations are user friendly. The graphs are self explanatory and make nice summations of the discussion.

I was surprised by some of the results of his work, in that they did show positive trends. I was just sure what I had seen and heard elsewhere was more the case. Worldwide educational levels were one such area. The trend is upward. And that is the key to this author’s interpretation. Trends.

He looks at a bigger picture than most of us are generally exposed to in the material we use to form our opinions. From that perspective things do look different. Given the nature of our society the long haul gets little attention. We want fixes yesterday or sooner. Some of his data shows how that mindset can even make a problem worse. In some of the other conclusions he makes Wright shows what might be seen as problem today is not seen that way over a longer period of time and some of that is not necessarily good news.

There wasn’t much not to like here. The ending of the book was possibly its weakest point, but trying to tie all the threads of a work like this together does get messy. His final paragraph will make you crazy unless you have really given his work in the book some real thought.

Upside is definitely worth the read. There’s a list of references for those that like to fact check and for those that would like to read further.
This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in return for my review.

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