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.