Business Book Club

The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age


Bina Venkataraman

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: Instant gratification is the norm today—in our lives, our culture, our economy, and our politics. Many of us have forgotten (if we ever learned) how to make smart decisions for the long run. Whether it comes to our finances, our health, our communities, or our planet, its easy to avoid thinking ahead.

The consequences of this immediacy are stark: Superbugs spawned by the overuse of antibiotics endanger our health.Companies that fail to invest stagnate and fall behind.Hurricanes and wildfires turn deadly for communities that could have taken more precaution. Today more than ever, all of us need to know how we can make better long-term decisions in our lives, businesses, and society.

Bina Venkataraman sees the way forward. A former journalist and adviser in the Obama administration, she helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change, and she learned firsthand why people dont think aheadand what can be done to change that. In The Optimists Telescope, she draws from stories she has reported around the world and new research in biology, psychology, and economics to explain how we can make decisions that benefit us over time.With examples from ancient Pompeii to modern-day Fukushima, she dispels the myth that human nature is impossibly reckless and highlights the surprising practices each of us can adopt in our own livesand the ones we must fight for as a society. The result is a book brimming with the ideas and insights all of us need in order to forge a better future.

Image result for Bina Venkataraman'AUTHOR INFO: Bina Venkataraman teaches in the program on Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and is a fellow at New America. A former journalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe who also served as senior adviser for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, she is now director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.Venkataraman is an alumna of Brown University and the Harvard Kennedy School. She grew up in Ohio and now lives in Boston.


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