Return to media reviews

Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress

For someone who believes in the transformative power of growth, technology, and culture, this book initially felt like a curmudgeon's diss of civilization. With a bit more suspension of biases, I found myself thinking deeply about the premise.

Are we significantly better off due to technology? Christopher Ryan addresses this though historical and sociological evidence, and makes a strong case that we're massively capable of deluding ourselves about how great things are now and how bad they were before technology.

This book left me feeling a bit powerless, as we can't "go back", but has affected my views of consumption, fragility, and growth.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

Stay connected

I send out occasional updates on posts, interesting finds, and projects I'm working on. I'd love to include you. No tracking, one-click unsubscribe.