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Civilized to Death

The Price of Progress
Narrated by: Christopher Ryan
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling coauthor of Sex at Dawn explores the ways in which "progress" has perverted the way we live: how we eat, learn, feel, mate, parent, communicate, work, and die.

Most of us have instinctive evidence the world is ending - balmy December days, face-to-face conversation replaced with heads-to-screens zomboidism, a world at constant war, a political system in disarray. We hear some myths and lies so frequently that they feel like truths: Civilization is humankind’s greatest accomplishment. Progress is undeniable. Count your blessings. You’re lucky to be alive here and now. Well, maybe we are, and maybe we aren’t. Civilized to Death counters the idea that progress is inherently good, arguing that the "progress" defining our age is analogous to an advancing disease.

Prehistoric life, of course, was not without serious dangers and disadvantages. Many babies died in infancy. A broken bone, infected wound, snakebite, or difficult pregnancy could be life-threatening. But ultimately, Ryan argues, were these pre-civilized dangers more murderous than modern scourges such as car accidents, cancers, cardiovascular disease, and a technologically prolonged dying process? At a time when our ecology, our society, and our own sense of selves feels increasingly imperiled, an accurate understanding of our species’ long prelude to civilization is vital to a clear sense of the ultimate value of civilization - and its costs. In Civilized to Death, Ryan makes the claim that we should start looking backward to find our way into a better future.

©2019 Christopher Ryan (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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Savage book that no one till now has had balls to say out!

Obviously Chris hasn’t written that book to make profit nor fame. His book addresses and names things as they are, without BS. I wish everyone would read it, and i mean READ it not pedal through it just to get a checkmark down, like nowadays most people consume information, i feel.

But i have a feeling that most people are not ready for it, cuz it’s wayyyyyy too honest.

Thank you Chris! Thank you.

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Profoundly subversive and true

I've always felt that our way if life doesn't feel natural and that is simply because it isn't, but it has always been hard to put my finger on exactly what was at fault. This scathing critique of everything we hold important yet we know are absent of what is necessary is fascinating and entertaining. Cris takes us on a journey through how we got to this point of mutually assured destruction we call development, prosperity and progress. Highly recommended if not mandatory reading for all seekers.

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  • Andrew in Ohio
  • 08-10-2019

I couldn't stop listening.

Thanks to Chris Ryan for writing this.

You confirmed deep suspicions in my psyche that something was off about how I was raised, how life is planned, and how I relate to others. I don't need drugs or therapy to numb me out. I need the kind of therapy, relationships, and lifestyle that brings me closer to my natural state. As I've been doing this over the past couple years, my depression has waned, my anxiety has lessened, my discontent has subsided more and more. I am much happier eating an avocado than crembule. Happier with a beach bonfire than a loud club. More at peace with a hike than with the treadmill. We need the message in this book of simplicity, of acceptance of our nature, and the acknowledgement of our animal nature. These don't need to be damned, but understood and celebrated. Hopefully we all take the wisdom of taking a step back from all this "progress" to see what we have lost in the process.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick Easterday
  • 13-10-2019

A reminder of what is wrong with the modem world

I often wonder if life would have been easier as a hunter gatherer. this book really makes me think in many ways it would be.

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  • Clay Island
  • 11-10-2019

Excellent! Learned a lot.

I listen to the author's podcast and thought I might be hearing stuff I already know. Pleased to report I learned a lot of knew information and have more insight into how we got to modernity. Makes sense that none of us chose civilization, blew my mind to learn how we stumbled into it.

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  • Jeff Brown
  • 09-10-2019

Loved it!

Big fan of Tangentially Speaking Podcast so its been amazing to see Chris Ryan's ideas materialize and follow the progress of this book. His take on modernity is accurate in my opinion and the case presented is sound. It flows well and is entertaining as it is educational.

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  • Jeremiah
  • 09-10-2019

powerful

honestly, this could be the most important book since An Origin Of Species. Dr. Christopher Ryan challenges everything we assume to be true about the arch of human progress since the advent of agriculture. The profundity of his arguments and the prognosis he makes of our present state will fundamentally change your outlook on human society. Many have tried to diagnose the ills of modern culture and our economic systems, but Dr. Ryan lays out a path to true redemption.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-10-2019

Awesome and very well read

This books sums up so many of the things I think about every day. I wish everyone would read it so we could work towards a better world together.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • G. mcclure
  • 12-10-2019

A sobering compilation of reality

While today we have many wonderful capabilities & potential, so much of our past is forgotten or romanticized and filtered through prejudice eyes of our modern life. An excellent read and reminder of where we came from , what we left behind and maybe we can’t and shouldn’t go back but we could incorporate the best of the past and integrate it with our modern capabilities and perhaps start treating this planet and each other with more understanding and compassion rather than scrambling for our own selfish niche of this technological pie.

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  • kevin
  • 08-10-2019

Thorough and thought provoking.

I really enjoy the layout of this book. I really appreciate Dr. Ryan’s research. I know i will be listening again.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucas
  • 05-10-2019

The most amazing and important book I've ever read

Christopher Ryan thoroughly and in my opinion successfully explores and defeats the narrative of perpetual progress as well as the Neo-Hobbsian idea that humans are naturally horrible brutal creatures. This book really explores and criticizes civilization for all its benefits and flaws, and in my opinion successfully makes the case that humans were better off as hunter-gatherers. I really challenge you to go into the book with an open mind and explore the details that Chris presents to make his case.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason Mitchell
  • 05-10-2019

Great book!

A broader, society wide companion piece to Sex at Dawn. Well written and insightful. Definitely worth checking out.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Roberto Miguel
  • 01-10-2019

Absolutely outstanding.

Simple and clear. Outstanding work Doc. I have followed Dr Chris Ryan for while now and his take on life has changed my outlook in so many ways. Thank you for that.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-10-2019

A Great, Thought Provoking & Insightful Book

A great, thought provoking & Insightful book read by one of the best podcast hosts in the world.

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  • jason fallon
  • 09-10-2019

Brilliant book full of hard truths

Hopefully this book will help people make sense of the world we live on

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  • Adam Collis
  • 07-10-2019

paleo modern classic

many resonating, pertinent ideas in this timely book calling for an ancestral revolution - looking back to move forward.