Book jacket cover of How Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and ProgressI heard Steven Pinker being interviewed and I was struck by his optimism regarding the state of humanity, given the tenor of the times we live in. Since my last nonfiction recommendation was the rather dark How Democracies Die,  I thought I should try to balance that with a more uplifting work – hence Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress: “The follow-up to Pinker’s groundbreaking ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature‘ presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit.”